Why does God Allow Evil? Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Why Does God Allow Evil 0908.htm
Should God’s existence be proven? /Apologeticshtml/Should the Bible and God Be Proven Fideism vs WCG.htm
Does the Bible teach blind faith? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Gospel of John Theory of Knowledge.htm
How Do We Know If We Are Fully Committed to God?
Are there ways to know if we are really fully committed to God? Let’s examine Scripture to find guideposts and directions about how to figure out this problem in a practical way. One key way to know whether we’re fully committed to God is based on our initial conversion experience. Notice this key text from Acts 2:38, in which Peter proclaimed how to be saved: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
So let’s break up this statement into three component parts and examine them one by one. First of all, did we really “repent”? Repentance is a commitment to God to give up our old sinful way of life. We promise to turn our spiritual lives around, by stopping the violations of God’s law in the future. (Sin is defined by God’s law, as per Romans 4:15; 5:13; I John 3:4). Sure, we will inevitably sin some in the future, as per I John 1:8-10. However, God is still willing to forgive us so long as we don’t totally give up on having faith in Him and striving to obey Him, which would be one way to commit the unpardonable sin (Hebrews 6:6; 10:26-29).
Second, were we baptized by immersion as adults who fully understood that commitment? After all, Jesus was baptized, despite He was perfectly sinless (Luke 3:21-22), which mainly was done to set an example for us to follow (compare this to the principle explained in I Peter 2:21). If we doubt our level of commitment to God’s way of life, consider whether there is a flaw in how we were (supposedly) originally converted to accept God’s way of life years ago. If we were baptized as babies or children, and didn’t really “count the cost” of becoming a disciple of Jesus (as per Luke 14:26-33), which includes giving up all earthly desires that contradict the will of God, we really weren’t converted since we didn’t know what we were getting into. This level of commitment is an Old Testament teaching as well, as per the great commandment found in Deut. 6:5 (cf. Matt. 22:36-38): “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you rsoul, and with all our strength.” You may wish to carefully read the verses in this last citation of Scripture, since if we aren’t willing to deny ourselves so thoroughly, we really aren’t saved. God isn’t interested in letting people who insist on “doing their own thing” into His kingdom, since He wants everyone to become like Jesus (Eph. 4:12-13), instead of some other self-chosen ultimate goal.
Third, did we receive the Holy Spirit? Notice that the main way the Holy Spirit is given to people in the New Testament is after water baptism by the laying on of hands by a minister (see Acts 8:15-19; 19:6; I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 1:6). The primary exceptions, such as the great initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the holy day of Pentecost when the church started (Acts 2) and when the gentiles were first accepted as Christians (Acts 10:44-47), were special, non-repeatable signs of God. It’s a major mistake to assume that when we pray to God, confess our sins, and accept Jesus as our personal Savior we automatically receive the Holy Spirit. It’s completely crucial that we have faith in Jesus in order to be saved (as per the well-known “Golden verse,” John 3:16), but that faith has to be demonstrated in certain ways so that it’s truly effective (James 2:14-26). We express that faith by repenting, being baptized, and receiving the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands. Then we shouldn’t doubt that we’re saved (even when we sin sometimes) if we haven’t given up on our overall commitment to God. After all, God is our “Daddy” who wishes well for us as our mothers and fathers do, even if He’s so pure and almighty as well.
But there’s another way to examine and measure our commitment to God. How well are we doing on the four spiritual disciplines, which are prayer, Bible study, meditation, and fasting? Understandably, we will have doubts about how strong our commitment is to God if we never fast (which means to give up water also, not just food), if we rarely pray (except maybe saying grace over meals), if we never open up a Bible (except maybe at church), and if we rarely think systematically and in a focused manner about specific spiritual subjects. Do we pray at least 20-30 minutes a day on average on subjects that the “Lord’s prayer” (Matt. 6:7-13) lists us as an outline for us to cover? Do we study the Bible or strongly related spiritual books and magazines daily for that long as well? If we shut off the TV, the cell phone, and/or the computer for an hour more per day (or commit to getting up earlier in the day), we can make this time commitment fairly easily. Do we routinely interact with other people or do our jobs and seek our pleasures in life without thinking about how God’s will impacts our decisions hour-by-hour or minute-by-minute? If we rarely think about God during the day, it’s understandable that we may emotionally question how committed we are to him.
Another way we could examine how committed we are to God is based on Acts 5:29: “We are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Likewise, John 9:31 says, “God does not hear sinners,” which refers to people who defiantly continue to disobey Him, not repentant disciples. So then, are there clear truths of Scripture that we systematically ignore or defiantly disobey? The most ignored, denied commandment is the fourth one, concerning resting on the Sabbath day, which is Friday sunset to Saturday sunset (Ex. 20:8-11). Likewise, there’s the list of annual Holy Days in Leviticus 23, which Jesus Himself observed. How many Christians are willing to obey these days, which are mentioned in Scripture, unlike Christmas and Easter, which aren’t? And Jesus also gave some very difficult commands to obey in the Sermon on the Mount, which included turning the cheek and loving our enemies (Matt. 5:39, 43-48). Few professing Christians take these commands literally, yet they are the teaching of Scripture. Likewise, how often do we disobey various clear statements of Scripture concerning regulating our sexual thoughts, not just actions, as per Matt. 5:27-28? If we continue to disobey these commandments by deliberate intention or by pure ignorance, that could be the source of our doubts about our level of commitment to God as well. God then feels distant from us because we’ve chosen to be distant from Him.
So I hope that this answer about how we can tell how committed we are to God has been helpful to you. Much more could be written on this subject. After all, since we aren’t prophets of God, and don’t hear Him talking aloud to us literally (i.e., in the direct manner in which other people talk to us, not just “leadings”), it’s easy to doubt our level of commitment to God. After all, God is spirit (John 4:24), we’re flesh and blood, so it’s impossible to directly sense the spirit world unless someone (or Someone) in that spirit world wants us to notice him (or Him). Please email me back if you have more questions on this spiritual subject, which is understandable since it’s a very big one.
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Why does God Allow Evil? Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Why Does God Allow Evil 0908.htm
May Christians work on Saturdays? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Protestant Rhetoric vs Sabbath Refuted.htm
Should Christians obey the Old Testament law? /doctrinalhtml/Does the New Covenant Abolish the OT Law.htm
Do you have an immortal soul? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Here and Hereafter.htm
Does the ministry have authority? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Is There an Ordained Ministry vs Edwards.html
Is the United States the Beast? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Are We the Beast vs Collins.htm
Should you give 10% of your income to your church? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Does the Argument from Silence Abolish the Old Testament Law of Tithing 0205 Mokarow rebuttal.htm
Is Jesus God? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Is Jesus God.htm
Will there be a third resurrection? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Will There Be a Third Resurrection.htm