You must be born again if you are to enter the kingdom of God, Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3:3-5). Nicodemus didn’t understand; but what Jesus was telling him was that a miracle was required if someone was to enter into the kingdom; that no-one will enter the kingdom unless there has been a miracle performed first.
This is the difference between the Old Covenant and the New; the Old required observing rules, the New requires a miracle of God, and God alone; not reason, or persuasion of men, but a divine miracle; we must be born again “from above”.
Christianity today is filled with those who have not been born again from above, but have been recruited into churches by men, using persuasive words of wisdom, rather than a demonstration of the Spirit and of power (1 Corinthians 2:4). In seeking to increase the quantity of converts, we have weakened the quality by making it easy to claim a relationship with Christ.
As a consequence, many Christians are following a Christ who is merely a Christ of convenience and not the living Lord of Glory at all; He is promoted as a very obliging but not too demanding big brother who loves to help us achieve our goals while sparing us any embarrassing questions concerning the spiritual or moral character of those goals.
The acid test is in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians; “…if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old is passed away; behold, he has become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Has the old passed away? Is everything new, or is there some clinging to what remains from the old life? These are the constant challenges facing us. The whole purpose of God in offering His Son in redemption is to make us holy and restore us to the image of God in which man was first created; to do that He must disengage us from worldly desires and earthly ambitions; He wants to draw us away from the cheap and tawdry rewards that worldly men set their hearts upon.
Christianity is something that belongs to men, not God; God didn’t invent Christianity; men did. Christianity has become anti-Christ, in the sense that it stands in Christ’s place. Faith is relational; Jesus cannot be Lord unless we are His subjects – that means absolute obedience. The Father cannot be the Father unless we are sons – that means obedience and submission. Jesus cannot be Master unless we are slaves – that means absolute obedience.
There is no such thing as a part-time God, yet that seems to be the God that Christians want; a pushbutton God who can be called up when required and put aside when the crisis is over. But there is no such God; you either have God fulltime or you haven’t got God at all.
“The deceitfulness of unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10); unrighteousness deceives people into thinking that they can get away with it; it persuades them that this little sin isn’t that important, and God won’t really care as long as you go on believing in Jesus. This is a gross deception.