It’s no secret that there has been a radical shift away from church over the last few decades. I suppose there are plenty of reasons, but, frankly, going to church won’t get you to heaven. What IS important is whether or not you are born again. Jesus was clear on this. “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.'” (John 3:7) Frankly, most who go regularly do it for all the wrong reasons.
This begs the question. How does one become born again? You may not like the answer that Jesus gave on that. “”The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (v. 8)
It’s clear to that you can’t make yourself born-again. Doing good deeds or rituals won’t get you there. Neither will saying a prayer or getting baptized. Church won’t get you to heaven. There is one qualification necessary: you must be born again.
Don’t get me wrong. Born-again people say a prayer and get baptized. They go to church and do all sorts of things. However, so do those who AREN’T born again. Doing these things does NOT get you into heaven.
There is, however, telltale evidence that someone is born again, primarily the repentance of sin. Something has clearly changed in a person that they now look at sin from a totally new perspective. They recognize the sin in their life. Not just one sin but all of it. They will have had great sorrow over their behavior. Strangely enough, their sin may not be that bad when compared to society at large. However, when they compare themselves to the one, true and living God, they clearly see their shame.
There is other telltale evidence of the born-again, such as peace and a love of the bible, but repentance is the big one. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
Fire and Brimstone Preachers
Look, if any of this is making sense, examine yourself. Look at your life compared to the Ten Commandments. Have you told a lie or stolen anything? Or murdered anyone or committed adultery? Look, it’s not how many times you’ve lied or how valuable the item stolen. It’s a matter of the heart. Jesus explained that anger can be the same as murder. Lustful thoughts are the same as physical adultery. Everyone is guilty. Including you.
If they Spirit is stirring remorse, by all means let him! Let him break you to repentance. It’s an awful thing to go through, but, trust me, it truly is a blessing. It is a requirement to be born again. Without it, you will not see heaven. Without it, you will spend eternity in hell.
Choose wisely. Church won’t get you to heaven.