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How to be a child of God forever?

I was watching a gospel presentation on the web today. You know, one of those dynamic slide presentations that have a nice piano playing in the background, warm colors, and leaves you wishy washy at the end. Well, this site walked people through the Gospel telling what Christ did and how it is we can have eternal life. At the end of the presentation people were called upon to say this prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and don’t deserve eternal life. But I believe you died and rose from the grave to purchase a place for me in heaven. Lord Jesus, come into my life; take control; forgive my sins and save me. I repent of my sins and now trust in you to save me. I accept the free gift of eternal life.”

So far so good, right? Well, yes . . . and I don’t know. I am not going to pick the prayer apart with a theological fine tooth comb, but I do want to show you what the next slide in the presentation said. Here it is:

  • If you have truly repented (turned away; forsaken) from your sins
  • Placed your trust in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death
  • And received the gift of eternal life
  • You are now a child of God forever.

Now, I don’t know about you, but that first bullet point has me slightly concerned. Now I am not sure I am a child of God. Have any of you forsaken your sins?

Thoughts?

6 Responses to “How to be a child of God forever?”

  1. hmmm, this one is always hard for me. Forsaken is probably too strong a term as it implies never sinning again. True repentance (vs a light hearted, just in case kind of thinking) does seem to be necessary. I think the “truly repented” is added due to the fact that most of us believe that a lot of people who think they are Christians may never have actually had “saving faith”in Christ.
    Unfortunately “saving faith” remains impossible to quantify. If you discover the answer let us know!!

  2. I don’t know about this. Forsaken – to quit or leave entirely; abandon.
    If that were the case I could never consider myself a child of God or
    could anyone else for that matter. None of us can be perfect, without sin
    at all. I recently said that I still have trouble totally walking away
    from things that I know I shouldn’t be thinking or doing, so does that
    mean that I’m not or never will be a child of God???

    Hmmmmm, I don’t think so.

    Cheryl

  3. I often joke that I was a better Christian before I went back to church, due to the fact that I can remember how I just naturally followed what I thought was right in regards to treating others fairly. When I committed sin, I never recognized it as such and always found excuses to explain it away (which is very easy to do in our culture). Now when I lie, exagerrate, don’t follow through with my word, catch myself gossiping about others, or turn my back to someone who is plainly in need of help, I am instantly hit with the recognition that this is a sin and that I need to repent for hurting others, myself, and God through the sin, and that I need to do better the next time around. Of course, I still commit the same error, so I don’t know if I fit the website’s qualification for “child of God.” But I think they are referring to the sincere desire and action to try to correct the sin in our lives. We cannot forsake sin without Christ’s help, but we can make honest efforts along the way.

  4. I don’t think we can forsake sin at all, if by definition it means to rid
    of it entirely. I do believe that we can try to do our best in our
    desire to correct the sin in our lives, but I don’t believe that we can
    completely be rid of it. Maybe the intent of the first bullet is not
    as it is perceived, but we are told throughout the bible that none of
    us except Christ is perfect and without sin. And although we sin, if we
    truly repent, and ask for forgiveness, it is granted. I believe this
    still makes me a child of God.

    Cheryl

  5. We can not forsake our sins but through the process of sanctification we can
    grow closer to being Christlike but we’ll never completely forsake our sins.

    I do find that I sin “less” today then yesterday and hopefully less tomorrow
    then today. It s a process and some seem to get it more quickly then others.

  6. Certainly a thing to avoid in these types of presentations of the Gospel is us thinking that we, by ourselves, are able to point out and pick out those who have “really been converted” and those who are just going through the motions. John 3 sheds light on this that it is solely the Spirits opening the eyes of our hearts so that (which Paul would reiterate multiple times in his writings) no man would have room to boast in his own deeds as the source of his salvation.

    That being said I think it is necessary to do some defining of terms, especially when we are talking about peoples eternal destines. I think Matthew 5:3-4 sheds light on this issue, Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
    What I think Jesus is saying is, if you realize that you are lost and that you mourn your lostness you are blessed because the kingdom of God belongs to those who realize they cannot enter the kingdom of heaven based on their own deeds or abilities. (I.e. justification by grace through faith alone). I draw this inference from Matthew 18:2-4 when Jesus answers his disciples question of “who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” by using a child as an illustration and saying “those who come with the truth: that they have nothing to offer (that is, nothing they can give as payment) for entrance into Gods Kingdom.

    Now if we apply this sense of brokenness to Romans 7 we can literally feel Paul’s anguish over his sin which is not completely extinguished once He comes to Christ (or rather Christ comes to him) as we can see in 1 Timothy 1:15 yet, with confidence in God he can boldly say, “but by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” (1 Cor. 15:10) So Paul’s “remeberence” of his sin, isn’t him holding on to it and letting it fester, rather it is similar to someone who licks a lemon and then has a spoon full of honey. The sourness of the lemon makes the honey all the more sweeter. Which I think is what Paul’s is arguing for in Romans 6.

    To “truly repent” is a loaded statement especially (I don’t know Greek but I’ve heard it somewhere) since the literally Greek for the word “repent” essentially means, “a change of mind” which if taken that way can add immense frustration at our constant failures in our walk with God through repeated sin and we began to ask ourselves, “did we really repent in the first place”. I think Matthew 5:3-4 protects us from this if we read it correctly, which in my mind, looks something like this, “God I realize I’m screwed up, I know I don’t really know the full extent to which I’m screwed up, but I don’t want this thing in me (we call it sin) that’s screwing me up and keeping me from knowing You, cause I really want to know You.” Which I think is similar to what Paul is saying in Romans 7.

    This was such a huge issue for me when I first came to Christ (rather when He came to me) because I struggled immensely with the idea that He could forgive me without me “doing” something. I thought if I truly believed that I was a sinner and realized that sinning was bad, that I would automatically stop sinning, as though it were some mechanical process of imputing new information into my brain so that it functioned properly.

    John Piper has some additional information on issues like these and at his church they have been moving away from terms like “if you believe in Christ you will be saved” not because they aren’t absolutely 100% true, but because the words have lost the true meaning to the a majority of people in our culture. Instead they use terms like, “if Jesus is the treasure of your life you will be saved”. Which is a more precise and targeted statement which is still 100% true and 100% biblical but it adds that additional edge which Jesus clearly used in texts like Matthew 10:37.

    Each of those bullet points have sticky consequences if followed to their ends and if not clarified have the possibility to mislead people from the truths in which they are seeking to illuminate. An excellent book to read that clarifies some of these misconceptions is the book; God is the Gospel, by John Piper.

    Hope this helps

    Your brother in Christ,

    -Josh

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