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straw Offline OP
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Often this question is asked and often the answers are far from adequate and hardly offer any real proof of such:

1. They are loving
2. They say they are
3. They answer the catechism accurately
4. They go to church
5. They are involved in active Christian service
6. They talk about Christianity
7. They never swear, smoke and drink
8. They read their bible and pray
9. They are deep thinkers and know theololgy
10. They have a testimony about how they got saved

I am sure you have a few of your own, right ?

I heard a pretty good question the other day, which led me to rethink this. "How can you sense your spirit ?" and a modification on that, "How can you sense the Spirit of Christ in another person ?" Now I know this is a bit wierd but often when I meet other Christians, there is a sort of John the Baptist meets Jesus thing that goes on. I can really sense something...what is this sensing thing...is this how we can know if someone is a Christian or not ? Or is there some sort of scientific experiment one can do to ascertain if someone is a Christian ? I have often heard people say, "You can tell a person is a Christian by their fruit." Well, I have met many people who are very fruity and some I daresay who are examples of moral excellence but they are in no way even vaguely interested in Jesus Christ. A great one is 'I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ'...I would ask, how do I know this ? "I just told you they would say." I would reply, but I could say that I have a personal relationship with an IPU. To which they stare blankly... One other interesting thought I encountered was when someone came up to me and said, "There is something different about you. I can sense something that is not like others." Oh, I am wierd, peculiar, other, I might be a Wiccan, or a Satanist... "No" says the person, "I mean a good sense, you know that sense one gets from a person who really knows Jesus." That is strange that people in the world, often know better who the wolves and the sheeps are than some Christians do, even their own kin. Am I to conclude that there is a way of really knowing if someone is a brother or a sister, and even knowing if I am a Christian. Sort of like, "Making one's calling and election sure" I was once asked by a head of a forum, actually his wife, to share the verses that I said I had got as confirmation from God that I was His child. I keep them in the front of my Bible as a reminder of those terribly uncertain prayers as I knelt by my bed and cried out, "How do I know for sure I am yours." Terrible doubts. However, years before a friend came up to me. I had been pretty cold as a believer, not really speaking out and going through a period of darkness and doubt. At times not even sure if I was really a Christian. But then like King David, said "Do not touch the anointed of God." Okay, King Saul was anointed with oil, so he knew that. But this brother of Christ met me for the first time and I never said one word about Jesus and at the end when everyone was gone, he said softly, "You are a brother, right?" I haltered a little like St. Peter and said, shyly, "Yes." How is it that we can know for certain who are our fellow sheep, or how can we know we are His sheep ?" Okay, there it comes, "Jesus said, my sheep know my voice" Now, if it is about this knowing His voice, we would certainly have to hear it. Some say, yeah that is it. A person who reads the bible and ... stop! That is one of the points that does not really prove anything. There are many who read the bible, go to seminary, preach the gospel, do good deeds but they have not the Spirit of Christ. So how can we sense if we have the Spirit of Christ...and how can we sense this Spirit in others ? Simply, how do you know if someone is a Christian. Okay, it is the spirit and the Spirit mingled...now a demon would be able to tell if you were, like they know who Paul was, who Jesus was, but also knew who did not...did the demon have a sense of knowing, was there something other than words...like these that one could tell for sure if another person was family.

Is it the language, Christianeze, or the music, Gospel or the confession or the creed, what is there about someone that tells you without a doubt that they are a child of GOD ? Now if you cannot know, how do you even know if you are one ? My theory is that we can know this because we have a sense of the Spirit of Christ in ourselves and when we meet others our spirit leaps with joy ! A bit wierd but what have you got ?

Last edited by straw; Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:36 AM.
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You know you might want to take the time and format your long rambling harangues a little better. Speaking only for myself and not for the rest of the boards I tend to ignore anything that is packed that tight and longer than two inches.

And from Jesus' own words:
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
(John 14:15 ESV)

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."
(John 14:21 ESV)

For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.
(1 Corinthians 7:19 ESV)

but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him:
(1 John 2:5 ESV)


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
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Ooops. Sorry for that.

I do not disagree with the passages you have sited and they are all true. As we grown in the Lord we certainly will become more godly, however this is not an immediate sign for all throughout Scripture there is reference to fiery trials, and trials of our faith, and the Lord making a way when we are tempted, and confessing our sin if we do. In the beginning it is almost impossible to tell a Christian and and non Christian apart...we might speak Christianeze and be able to recite the Apostoles Creed, but holiness and fruits of the Spirit are never immediate, and in some cases can take a really long time to manifest. Some just refuse to let the Holy Spirit lead, and will try to obey the commands from the flesh. Silly, but that is us, we are silly. There however is one true sign that a person is a Christian. We have His Spirit, the Spirit of Christ in us. It is this same passage that says if we do not we are none of His. It is this same Spirit whereby we are now relations of God and cry Abba Father.

I used to always get so into bondage trying to keep the commands until after years of fruitless living, I began to let the Holy Spirit lead me. I had filled my head up with Scritpure and was quite clever at reciting passages, but the truth was I was not living a Romans 8 Christianity, I was living a Galatians 3 one, where I had forgotten that the Spirit is not given to us on the basis of our obedience to the law, He is the gift of the Father who when He is leading enable us to live above the power of the flesh. Praise God for that, what a terrible life if our experience was based on effort after having received the Spirit of God. He has come to live not just with us but in us and this is how we know firstly that others are Christians, we sense the Spirit of God. People who have not the Spirit only sense a little for they are blind, but when they come into the light, and thier sins are forgiven and they are cleansed from all unrighteousness, the will know fellowship with the Father and the Son, this is really what being a Christian is Boanerges. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ. No relationship and you cannot be a Christian. Just religious.

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straw said:
I had filled my head up with Scritpure and was quite clever at reciting passages, . . .
Sorry, but I just had to comment on this one item. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/evilgrin.gif" alt="" /> In all the time you have been here, I cannot recall reading any more than perhaps a handful of biblical references/quotes in your posts. If you are/were so "filled" with the Bible, then surely it would be more evident than what we have seen thus far.

2) It isn't enough to be able to "quote" Scripture... egad man... every fanatic out there can do that; no doubt in order to impress their hearers who doubtless rarely read the Bible. They key is to a) comprehend the teachings of Scripture, aka: "rightly dividing the word of truth", and b) putting those teachings into practice, aka: "being conformed to the image of Christ".

3) IF you think that the keeping of God's law (will) is indispensable, then perhaps you should refresh your "Scripture filled head" with Romans 6 and 7. Personally, I have this odd inclination to believe Paul rather than Straw. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/giggle.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


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Funny you should mention those romans chapters. I have recently had my whole christian outlook transformed by them. But that is for another thread id say. Sve to mention i am far more free as i now understand that we are truly free from the law, that is we dont need to try and keep it conciously(legalism) if our goal is to walk in the will of christ, we will be keeping the law by default and our only concern should be His ways. Before my head was full of "i must do this, i musnt do that" and it just blew my mindwhen i went through those chapters with warren wiersbies "be" series commentary. Just a thought

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You know someone is a Christian if they are in the world, but not OF the world.

That is not failsafe, because, I am sure, many Christians are 'of' the world and still many others are isolationists, not 'in' the world.


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li0scc0 said:
You know someone is a Christian if they are in the world, but not OF the world.

That is not failsafe, because, I am sure, many Christians are 'of' the world and still many others are isolationists, not 'in' the world.

So basically by your own statement:
Quote
That is not failsafe, because, I am sure, many Christians are 'of' the world

You've proven that you can't tell a Christian from a non-Christian. So when you see Christians behaving as non-Christians do you assume that they are saved? Tell me what exactly does regeneration mean to you?


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If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
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Of course you cannot tell 100% if somebody is a Christian. We are not God <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

What I said is that you can tell if somebody IS a Christian if they are in the world, but not OF the world (nothing is failsafe, this is a good litmus test).

However, the flipside is not the case. I.e. if a professed Christian is 'of the world', that person may be a Christian! Or they may not be a Christian.

THus:

For those professing to be Christian:
If in the world and not of the world: most likely Christian
If in the world and of the world: who knows? God alone.

DO I personally assume they are saved? I assume nothing. If they profess to be Christian I am a bit surprised if they are worldly, but I will assume nothing. "Real" Christians are not 100% perfect, none are. And thus some of the world remains in them, in us.

I fail to see what your query about regeneration has to do with this thread, unless by it you are assuming that all Christians are 100% Perfected. Since I have read many of your previous posts, I don't think you adhere to a Perfectionist/Holiness Doctrine. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> So now I'm curious.... <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> If you could elaborate, that would be outstanding.

Blessings,
Steve


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You fail to see what regeneration has to do with how do you know if someone is a Christian? Uff da meg! (Don't worry Robin its just Norwegian not tongues)

Steve I will answer your question if you answer one of mine. I'm asking, regeneration, what does that term mean to you? If you can answer that I will elaborate.


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Regeneration is fully, 100%, God's work. It is irresistible, and is a raises us from death to life. Regeneration is a work that produces faith - God regenerates us and we believe. It renews us, and changes our will.

You can look at regeneration from God's point of view (as presented above), in that it is fully God's act, which comes before faith, and has the sinner, who IS elect, as the object.
You can also look at regeneration from man's point of view, in which conversion is included and then is the result of faith. I.e. from man's point of view, we believe, and are converted.

The above is where I would stand on Regeneration. It is very similar to the viewpoint of the Dutch Reformed Theologian GH Kersten, albeit using my own verbiage (as I don't speak Dutch... <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> )


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li0scc0 said:
Regeneration is fully, 100%, God's work. It is irresistible, and is a raises us from death to life. Regeneration is a work that produces faith - God regenerates us and we believe. It renews us, and changes our will.

You can look at regeneration from God's point of view (as presented above), in that it is fully God's act, which comes before faith, and has the sinner, who IS elect, as the object.
You can also look at regeneration from man's point of view, in which conversion is included and then is the result of faith. I.e. from man's point of view, we believe, and are converted.

The above is where I would stand on Regeneration. It is very similar to the viewpoint of the Dutch Reformed Theologian GH Kersten, albeit using my own verbiage (as I don't speak Dutch... <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> )

Well as Pilgrim says you can always tell a Hollander but you can't tell him much. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rofl.gif" alt="" />

Tough room, tough room. Okay all levity aside now that I've seen your definition, which at least tells me that we are on the same page when we are talking about the new birth.

Would you not agree that the new birth creates new desires into the person that it occurs in? And these desire are directed toward God? And that while there may be lean times over all there will be a progressive growth toward putting to death sin? So this constant growth is in my opine evidence that someone is a Christian. Sort of along the lines of "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
(Joh 14:23 ESV)


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I liked you, Boanerges, until you quoted from the ESV...I'm kidding.

I think that, although I would agree with everything you say here, there are degrees of this growth. That said, yes, it should be constant growth. Someone who proclaims to be a Christian, and to have been one for 40 years, should show some clear and definite signs.

Good conversation, by the way.


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li0scc0 said:
I think that, although I would agree with everything you say here, there are degrees of this growth. That said, yes, it should be constant growth. Someone who proclaims to be a Christian, and to have been one for 40 years, should show some clear and definite signs.
Let me throw this out to you and see if it causes you to think just a bit on the ramifications of your current view. Now mind you, it is not as if I disagree totally. For indeed if there is life then there must be signs of it. A dead person has no life-signs.

Fine then, let's suppose you were living during the reign of David, king of Israel. And, you just happened to have moved into the same neighborhood as the king during the time of his "indiscretion" with Bathsheba and his duplicity in regard to her husband Uriah's death. Understanding that these events didn't happen in a day or a day and a night, but rather over a period of time. It is well documented that David denied having done any wrong-doing for some time and hiding his affair with Bathsheba until after Uriah's death. Soooo, from your perception of king David during this period of his life, what would you conclude about him as one who professed to be a believer? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratchchin.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


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Pilgrim said:
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li0scc0 said:
I think that, although I would agree with everything you say here, there are degrees of this growth. That said, yes, it should be constant growth. Someone who proclaims to be a Christian, and to have been one for 40 years, should show some clear and definite signs.
Let me throw this out to you and see if it causes you to think just a bit on the ramifications of your current view. Now mind you, it is not as if I disagree totally. For indeed if there is life then there must be signs of it. A dead person has no life-signs.

Fine then, let's suppose you were living during the reign of David, king of Israel. And, you just happened to have moved into the same neighborhood as the king during the time of his "indiscretion" with Bathsheba and his duplicity in regard to her husband Uriah's death. Understanding that these events didn't happen in a day or a day and a night, but rather over a period of time. It is well documented that David denied having done any wrong-doing for some time and hiding his affair with Bathsheba until after Uriah's death. Soooo, from your perception of king David during this period of his life, what would you conclude about him as one who professed to be a believer? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratchchin.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,

Agreed. and this is why we can never be fully sure, frankly, either way. We aren't God.

I hate to bring a worldly science to the world of Christ, but in a sense it is a means of statistical accuracy. By applying the 'in the world but not of the world' example, we are going to be accurate, statistically, much of the time. And again, in my earlier statement of this, I defined it as (assuming a profession):

1. If in the world but not of the world - generally we can assume this person is a Christian.

2. If in the world and of the world - we may call into question, but we cannot be sure either way

Your apt example with David, Pilgrim, would fall into the second bucket. David was acting of the world.

Real Christians have affairs. Real Christians sin. To use a Baptist term, we 'backslide'. I certainly have gone through the depths, for sure.

So David was a man after God's own heart. Yet at that time I wouldn't have wanted him teaching Sunday school to my kids, given his behavior 'of the world'. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Steve


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