A Changed Heart Is Not Salvation
by David J. Stewart | January 2016
1st Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
The Devil is subtle, a beautiful liar. We read in Revelation 12:9 that Satan is deceiving the whole world, and will continue to do so until Christ's Second Coming. Sadly, this deception includes most of the churches! Heresy is creepy into our fundamental churches by the hour! There is a raging debate in the churches over the meaning of repentance.
I think Michael P. Bowen, in his excellent defense of the Christian faith titled, I NEVER KNEW YOU, says it best:
I am at eternal odds with the false, counterfeit messages of salvation-by-works that are taught from virtually every pulpit today, on every television channel, and on every Christian radio station; however, I am not at eternal odds with the individuals who preach these counterfeit messages. My heart literally goes out to all of them because they simply do not understand Christ’s plan of salvation. They have been lied to by a crafty enemy named Satan, whose sole aim is to take as many people with him to the lake of fire as he can possibly manage to steal away from God using a counterfeit plan of salvation that appears so real, so genuine, and so holy that few ever realize they have been deceived by it. Oh reader, so many of today’s professing Christians who think they are going to heaven when they die are not going to make it to heaven as they had assumed because they’ve been lied to by today’s error-filled gospel messages.
SOURCE: Michael Patrick Bowen, I NEVER KNEW YOU, pg. 17; © 2009, Xulonpress.com. Hard Copies Are Available.
I thank God for Michael Bowen, whose doctrinally sound book is a continual blessing to me and so many others, clearly showing forth “the simplicity that is in Christ” in the Gospel (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4; 1st Corinthians 15:1-4). Today I handed out two hardcopies of I NEVER KNEW YOU—one to my Japanese doctor, and the other to a waitress at my favorite Korean restaurant. Amen!
The truth is that a man can have a change of heart, and yet not be born-again at all. You can change your mind about many things, but that doesn't mean you are saved. A Change of heart would be called “Reformation.” T
How Permanent Is Your Salvation?
(an excellent MP3 sermon by Dr. Hank Lindstrom)
Ellen G. White's Heresy On Growing Up Into Christ For Salvation
In her heretical book titled, STEPS TO CHRIST, false prophetess Ellen White errantly states. ...
“The change of heart by which we become children of God is in the Bible spoken of as birth.”
SOURCE: Ellen G. White; Book: Steps To Christ; Chapter: Growing Up Into Christ, pg. 48.
My friend, that is a lie of the Devil. Being “born-again” does not mean having “a change of heart.” In Matthew 27:3 we read that Judas Iscariot “repented” (i.e., had a change of heart, felt remorse), which compelled him to return the 30 pieces of silver by which he betrayed the only begotten Son of God. When the Pharisees refused the blood money, Judas cast the coins onto the floor and ran away. Judas then went and hung himself, committing suicide. This was one of Jesus' very Apostles. It is so sad and tragic indeed! My point is that Judas had a change of heart, but that didn't make him saved.
So what does it mean to be born-again? It means that a person is born into God's family. If you are not saved, then God is not your Father. If you are an unbeliever, or a false believer, God is your Creator but not your Father. When you become a born-again Christian by believing the Gospel, you immediately become a child of God. Once you get saved, you are a permanent member of the heavenly family, and you can never be disowned for any reason.
If a Christian believer backslides into their own selfish ways (Proverbs 14:14), going away from the Lord—and they start attending night clubs and alcohol bars, boozing, cursing and fornicating, they have not lost nor jeopardized their eternal security in any way. However, they are disobeying God as His child, and the Bible expressly warns in Hebrews 12:6-8 that God will get involved and “chastise” (discipline) a wayward child. The Bible also uses the word “scourge,” which means “to whip.” God let's a man have just enough rope to hang himself (so-to-speak). Oftentimes God will allow a man to run as fast as he can, as far as he can, until he simply cannot take it anymore, and then he'll come back to God!
I've been there friend. It's not something that I ever want to go through again. As a young man I never could have imagined the inexplicable pain and emotional trauma, the incredible loss, relentless suffering, bodily and emotional pain, lasting loneliness, and endless misery that I have suffered as an adult. Perhaps the worst part of it all has been being abandoned and all alone, having no friends or family to see me through. If it weren't for God's merciful grace I would have taken my own life a long time ago, but Jesus carried me through those difficult times when I prayed daily for the Lord to end my life and take me home. My prescription medications were sedative, enabling me to sleep 12 hours a day, to escape the pain which saturated my life. I looked to the right, and I looked to the left, and there was no one to reach out to help me. No one cared amongst the people who needed to care, and could have cared, but they failed to care. As Brother Lester Roloff says, “You'll never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have left!” I have been there. Thankfully, things have improved somewhat, but I'm still in the valley of hurt and pain.
When a child disobeys its earthly parents, the parents don't lock the doors and tell the child to get out and never come back. At least, not decent parents! I've heard of parents putting out their adult children for drug problems, et cetera; but
May I say, being born-again is not a graduation! It is a new birth! You don't grow into Christ, and then when you've arrived, you're considered born anew. That's not how it works. Being born-again is a supernatural miracle of God in responsive to a person's faith in the Gospel alone for salvation. 1st Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” Ellen White falsely teaches that salvation is a process that takes time. I'll say it again, and again, no one becomes a child of God by having your heart changed. Being born-again means being regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God (1st Corinthians 3:16-17; Romans 8:9). 1st John 3:24b, “And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
We read in Acts 10:1-2 about a good man named Cornelius, who feared God always, prayed, and gave alms to the poor. Yet, this devout religious man, whom the local community highly respected was still unsaved, on his way to the fires of Hell forever. Thankfully, God told Cornelius in a vision to go meet the Apostle Peter, so he could hear the Gospel preached and get saved (and he did)! Amen! Cornelius got borned-agained!!! That how they say it down south.... he got borned-agained! Hallelujah!
Ellen White is Seventh-day Adventism! And Seventh-day Adventism is of the Devil. She is a false prophet. Being born-again does not happen when your heart changes. The new birth is not a new attitude toward sin, God, people or anything. So what does it mean to be “born-again?” The Biblical answer is found in John 1:11-13, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” In sharp contrast to Ellen White's heresies, the Bible teaches that you get born-again by believing on the name of the only begotten Son of God!!! This “new birth” is a supernatural miracle of God, wrought only by God.
The “change of heart” which Ellen White errantly speaks about is the result of reformation, education and organization; but it is not that change which can only be produced by the indwelling Holy Spirit (regeneration). Ellen G. White foolishly teaches that once a person's heart changes, they have been born-again. This is ungodly heresy!!! I cannot find one Bible verse which requires a change of heart to be saved, nor do I see anything that teaches we become the children of God by changing our own hearts.
According to John 1:11-13 that I just quoted to you, the only thing that can lead to becoming a born-again believer is complete faith in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross by the shedding of His precious blood. He was buried. And then three days later Jesus bodily resurrected from the dead. This is “the Gospel” according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4).
So let me ask you friend. Who are you going to believe? Ellen G. White, who says that being born-again simply means having a new heart (a change of behavior, a new outlook, et cetera). Or will you believe the inspired Words of God, which teaches that to be born-again, a man must believe upon the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, at which very moment the Holy Spirit of God comes in to indwell that person forever and ever, never to leave nor forsake.
Beware Of Rapidnet.com
I have found much helpful information at Rapidnet.com, and I sincerely appreciate the webmaster's hardwork. However, the author of Rapidnet.com is wrong to say that God requires a sinner to see sin as “exceedingly sinful” and “turn from it” to be saved. ...
The greatest need for any sinner is have his sins blotted out, but a man will never have the pardon of sin while he is in love with his sin. There must be a hatred of sin, a loathing of it, a turning from it. Repentance is a revolution in dealing with our attitude and view towards sin and righteousness. Repentance is not something one does with his hands, but it is an inward attitude of the soul. Sin must become, in the eyes of the sinner, exceedingly sinful. [emphasis added]
The preceding opinion from Rapidnet.com sounds sensible, doesn't it? Yet, this is not Biblical. It is utter heresy! Not one Bible verse teaches that a person must turn from the habit of sin to receive the free gift of eternal life. No where do the Scriptures tell us to change our behavior to be saved. Such teaching promotes the self-righteous religion of Cain, who attempted to impress God with his own human effort (Genesis 4:3-5). It is sinful human nature to cleanse man outwardly, and attempt to reform the mind and heart to merit salvation. So subtle is the wicked human heart (Jeremiah 17:9), and the blinding influence of the Devil (2nd Corinthians 4:4), that many religious people have been deceived into believing that salvation can still be a “gift” (Ephesians 2:8-9) while it is earned. If a person must “turn from their sins” to be saved, then it absolutely cannot be a free gift.
The truth is that a person simply needs to realize their guilty condition as a sinner. Romans 3:19, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” If you understand that you are a guilty sinner in the eyes of a holy God, then you know you need a Savior. If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you are saved. Christ died on the cross for our sins. He was buried. After three days, Jesus bodily resurrected from the dead. This is “the Gospel” according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4. You can repent without believing, but you cannot believe without repenting. That is, you can change your mind about many things, including God and sin, but that doesn't mean you believe the Gospel. But no one has ever believed on the name of Jesus Christ who didn't first change their mind.
Understanding The Human Soul
What is the difference between the mind and the heart? Aren't they the same? Isn't the heart a muscle that pumps blood? Biblically, the “heart” refers to a person's subconscience. The mind in our human brain is where thoughts are processed, so that the will can make decisions. The heart, which is located in the brain, is where our character resides, our convictions, and our emotions. The soul is composed of the mind, heart and will—a mind to think, a heart to feel, and a will to decide.
For example: a man sees an immodestly clothed woman. In his mind he must decide if he is going to keeping looking and lust upon her, or if he will refuse to dwell upon what he has seen, and harbor unholy thoughts in his heart. If a man decides to look and lust, that enters into his heart and his character is weakened. Thus, as a man's heart is corrupted, it eventually affects the decisions that he makes, and his life deteriorates over time. This is how serial-killers, whoremongers and atheists are made. If a person watched hellish Hollywood movies like Saw, Friday 13th and Halloween, that all enters into his soul, and somehow, someway, will work its way into his decision-making process eventually. This is what it means in Proverb 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” The way to keep one's heart is to flood it with the Word of God and good things, and to refuse to allow wickedness to enter into one's heart. Evil thoughts lead to evil living. Garbage in equals garbage out.
These truths are important to understand, because a change of heart doesn't happen overnight. If a man's heart is adulterous, it has become that way over time, because of years of careless neglect, lust and unholy thoughts. There are layers of lust, pride, selfishness, idolatry, evil, worldliness and arrogance that must be stripped away. This can only happen over time from abiding in the Words of God (King James Bible), hearing hard Bible-preaching, prayer, attending a fundamental Bible-believing church, and associating with other Christians who are faithfully serving the Lord.
A person doesn't just get saved and have a drastic change of heart. It doesn't work that way. Sure, some people get saved and immediately forsake booze, fornication, stealing and other sins; however, this is the work of the Holy Spirit. When I got saved at age 13, I did make some changes in my life, because the Holy Spirit convicted my heart about some things that needed to change, and I obeyed Him. Albeit, my heart didn't change when I got saved. What did change was that God came to live inside me, in the form of the Holy Spirit. When a person gets saved, their heart doesn't change. Their heart is exactly the same, wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).
Repentance is a change of mind, which prompts believing the Gospel. This has nothing to do with the condition of that person's heart. It is false teaching to say that a person must have a change of heart toward their sin to be saved, or as part of salvation. The supporters of the heresy of Lordship Salvation ignore the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a new believer. Instead, they place the burden to change upon the believer, demanding that they depart from sinful behavior to be saved. Such teaching is gross theological incompetence!
A person's heart is shaped and molded over the years, depending upon the influences in their daily life, which is why America is in such a mess today! The unholy demonic spirit of Hollywood has infected nearly every home in America. A person can receive the free gift of eternal life by faith in the Gospel; but continue watching the hellivision instead of abiding in the milk of the Word, and they will remain as carnal and worldly as can be (1st Corinthians 3:1). This is why most believers will enter into Heaven “saved; yet so as by fire” (i.e., their life's accomplishment is that they escaped Hell) having no rewards whatsoever (1st Corinthians 3:15). Most believers are carnal, immature, worldly and others backslidden (Proverbs 14:14).
It is false teaching to say that a person must have “a change of heart” to be saved, meaning that they must have a disdain for sin, a hatred for it, and a desire to forsake it. These are NOT requirements to be saved. Such teaching may seem logical, but it is not Biblical, not at all. The truth is that God changes a man's heart once he (by faith) is born-again into Jesus Christ. False teachers mandate a changed heart to be saved. But how can a person change their heart if they haven't been saved yet?
2nd Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Notice a couple things here. First, this man is IN CHRIST, that is, he is a born-again Christian. Second, the Bible doesn't teach here that his behavior has changed; but rather, everything is new to him, and he is a spiritual babe in Christ. When a person gets saved, a whole new world of understanding opens to them. Whereas before they were saved they were woefully ignorant of spiritual things, and unable to comprehend the things of God (1st Corinthians 2:14-16); now they have the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide, teach and comfort them (John 16:13; John 14:26; Romans 8:9). There's nothing in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 which implies that a Christian's behavior changes.
Repentance is “a change of mind” that compels a man to BELIEVE the Gospel. Repentance and faith happen simultaneously. You don't repent first, and then believe. If I am traveling on an airplane from Michigan to Hawaii, I don't leave Michigan first, and then go toward Hawaii; but rather, I am moving toward Hawaii as I am leaving Michigan. Likewise, a man turns to Jesus Christ by faith to be saved, because he sees himself as a guilty sinner in the eyes of a holy God. Everyone who comes to Christ to be saved only does so because of repentance. It is satanic teaching to say that a person must first have a drastic change of attitude toward sin, that is, a change of heart. A change of mind ; whereas, a change of heart implies a complex series of
; rather, Mark 1:15 says, “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” It doesn't say to “Repent ye, and forsake sinful behavior.” It doesn't say, “Forsake sinful behavior and believe the Gospel.”
I witnessed to a Seventh-day Adventist gentleman today. At first, we seemed to agree wholeheartedly concerning the Gospel. But I knew that he was avoiding the details behind Seventh-day Adventism's teachings on repentance, which is basically Lordship Salvation. I shared the Gospel message with him, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and He was buried, and He bodily raised up three days later. He agreed. I said that works were not required, nor allowed, in God's plan of salvation. He agreed. I then mentioned the heresy of Lordship Salvation.
2nd Peter 3:15-16, “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” The Holy Bible is not something that you want to interpret wrongly. You've got to get it right, because a wrong understanding of salvation can damn your soul to Hell forever. Nearly everyone has it wrong today, and its only getting worse.
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;
(for he is faithful that promised)” —Hebrews 10:23
love God who doesn't love sinners!”
(a quote by Dr. Jack Hyles classic MP3 sermon, “The Happiest Man” (happiest is the man who will not impute sin to others!)
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