ARE YOU A SON OF GOD?
Almost everyone who seriously endeavors to serve the God of the Bible will most likely question their conversion at some point. Is it possible for you to know for certain whether or not you are truly a son of God? Is it possible to know if you have not truly been converted?
Yes. It is possible to know with certainty whether or not your conversion is valid and if you are truly a member of the Sovereign Father's holy family and nation of kings and priests. Although the process by which you can determine if you are a son of God is simple, it does require a serious study into what the Bible says about the Sovereign Father's call to salvation, repentance of sin, baptism, and your attitude, beliefs, and priorities.
There are literally hundreds of millions of professing Christians in this world who believe that they are worshiping the one and only true God. However, there is a major problem that faces these millions of professing Christians. Within the Christian community there are many conflicting opinions and teachings concerning how to establish and maintain a covenant relationship with God.
Some Christian denominations claim that all one has to do to obtain salvation and eternal life is to ask for forgiveness of sins. Charismatic Christian groups insist that one must experience the holy spirit and speak in tongues (unknown languages) as evidence of one's conversion. Other Christian groups believe that only baptism with water is required to obtain salvation. Are any of these conflicting beliefs correct and if so which one?
Because the Bible clearly states that there is only one gospel message and only one method by which one can obtain salvation, logic tells us that if any one of these differing opinions or teachings is correct, those that remain must be incorrect. Moreover, if there is only one correct method by which one can establish a covenant relationship with God, millions of professing Christians have chosen a false method of conversion and have no hope of salvation if they continue in their current belief system.
A major part of the process of conversion and a converted person's ongoing walk with the Father and his Son is performing an honest personal evaluation of their attitude and lifestyle. Performing this personal evaluation can help you to know whether or not you truly have the Father's holy spirit and whether or not you are measuring up to the Father's expectations for your life.
The following study explains the biblical requirements for establishing a covenant relationship with the Sovereign Father and his Son and the biblical method by which a person can enter the Sovereign Father's holy family and nation. This study also provides a number of helpful topics and questions in order to help you evaluate your conversion process and determine your present spiritual status with God the Father.
In order to answer the question concerning your spiritual status with God the Father you must be able to understand and answer the following questions:
When considering the possibility of a false conversion it is important to understand that there are hundreds of millions of people who sincerely believe that they are true followers of God and many of these same people have dedicated their lives to doing good works. However, sincerity in a belief system and doing good works does not equate to conversion, because true conversion is a process through which a person enters the Sovereign Father's holy family and nation.
Through the ages, many people have professed Christ as their personal savior and asked for their sins to be forgiven. However, the vast majority of these people experienced a false conversion because their conversion process did not meet God's criteria for true conversion. No matter how sincere a person is in their belief system, if that belief system is in opposition to biblical requirements for repentance, forgiveness of sin, and baptism, the Sovereign Father will not grant entry into his holy family and nation through that system (See Pro.16:25).
The following are the two main causes of false conversion:
According to the Bible there are only two religions on earth: the Sovereign God's and Satan's. If you practice a religion, you are either worshiping the Sovereign God through his worship system or are worshiping Satan or evil spirits through a worship system that is in opposition to the Sovereign God's worship system-That which is not of God is of Satan.
"And the great dragon was cast out that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: . . ." (Rev.12:9 KJV).
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2.Cor.11:13-15 KJV). See also Matt:7:15; Rev.2:9;3:9.
Satan is deceiving the whole world into following his various religious systems and he does have ministers and organizations disguised as true adherents of the Father's system of worship. These organizations teach and practice a counterfeit of the Sovereign God's worship system in order to deceive people into thinking that they are truly converted into sons of God.
The existence of deceptive worship systems is a biblical fact and many people fall prey to false worship thinking that they are worshiping the God of the Bible. However, there is no eternal condemnation for most who worship within these false religions, except for the incorrigible wicked and the evil spirits who lead them.
There are many who deceive themselves into thinking that they are truly sons of the Father's new creation. The following are two biblical examples of people who thought that they were the Father's elect children but were not.
Simon's False Conversion
The account of Simon the Sorcerer is an example of a person who believed the gospel message, but experienced a false conversion:
"But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also; and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done" (Acts 8:12-13 KJV).
After Simon heard the things that Philip was teaching, he believed, was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and then followed Philip as he continued his evangelistic effort. However, Simon was not converted which is evidenced by the arrival of the apostles from Jerusalem to lay hands on those who were baptized by Philip in order for them to receive the holy spirit:
"For as yet it [the holy spirit] was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the holy spirit" (Acts 8:16-17).
Notice that Simon had not received the holy spirit when he was baptized, but he asked to purchase this power so that he could give it to others:
"And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the holy spirit was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me this power, that on whoever I lay hands, he may receive the holy spirit. But Peter answered, your money perish with you, because you think that the gift of God can be purchased with money. You have neither part nor lot in this matter: for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent of your wickedness, and pray to God, that perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven. For I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness, and in bondage to lawlessness" (Acts 8:18-23 KJV).
The lesson to be learned from this account is that, even though Simon believed the gospel message and was correctly baptized, he could not receive the holy spirit. The following are two possible reasons that Simon could not receive the holy spirit:
I Never Knew You
"Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only the ones doing the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many works of power? And I will tell them, I never knew you; depart from me you who practice lawlessness!" (Matt.7:21-23 Para). See also Matt.15:3-9; Lk.6:46-49.
These people were self-deceived. They had deceived themselves into thinking that they were sons of God and that God authorized the works that they were able to do. But Jesus said, "I never knew you." These people were not converted; they were not sons of God; and they did not have God's spirit dwelling within them; otherwise, Christ would have known them.
Miracles and wonderful works are not necessarily the credentials of a converted mind or a righteous person. Many spiritual leaders who profess to believe in the God of the Bible do supernatural and physical works, but teach things that are in opposition to God's truth and way of life-their works teach lawlessness.
There are many factors that contribute to self-deception and lead to a false conversion. However, in most cases of false conversion, the person has either not been called to salvation by the Father or they have not followed the prescribed methods in order to receive the holy spirit and become a son of God.
WHO IS A SON OF GOD?
There are probably as many beliefs and definitions as to what constitutes a true son of God as there are churches, denominations and sects that profess to worship the God of the Bible. However, the only valid definition of a son of God is found in the Bible. The following is the biblical definitions of who is and who is not a son of God:
"For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom.8:14 KJV).
The biblical definition of a true son of God is one who is being led by God's spirit, and God will only give his spirit to a person who obeys him:
"And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the holy spirit, whom God has given to them that obey him" (Acts 5:32 KJV).
Who is Not a Son of God?
"Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he has [God the Father] given us of his spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God" (1.Jn.4:13-15 KJV).
"Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom.8:9 KJV).
A person without the Father's holy spirit and Christ's spirit is not a member
of the Father's holy family and nation of kings and priests. See Rom.8:15-17
and our study concerning the Father's and Christ's spirit and the holy spirit.
Now that we know that only people who have the holy spirit residing within them are truly the Father's sons, the only remaining question is how a person receives this spirit in order to become his son?
THE FATHER'S CALL
The only way to become a son of God is through a process which involves God the Father offering a person the opportunity to become his son. This offer from the Father is described in the Bible as the call to salvation. Therefore, the first step in being transformed into a son of God is to be sought out by God the Father and called to come to him. No one can find God or do his will in their life unless he personally calls them. The apostle Paul said the following about this special calling:
"Then do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, his prisoner. But suffer hardship with the gospel, according to the power of God, He having saved us and having called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace given to us in Jesus Christ before eternal times" (2.Tim.1:8-9 Para).
Here, Paul is inspired to record that God the Father calls a person to salvation for his own reasons, and not because of a person's own efforts.
It is God the Father who opens a person's conscious mind, and begins to direct one's thought process toward the physical and spiritual knowledge that will bring a person into an awareness of God and the opportunity that is being offered.
There are many sincere people who feel that they have sought out God and have brought themselves to him. However, according to the Bible this cannot be done. The Bible says that no one seeks to find God the Father; God seeks them out and calls them to himself through Christ:
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one" (Rom.3:10-12 KJV).
"No man can come to me, except the Father, which has sent me draw him: . . ." (Jn.6:44 KJV).
If a person in their natural state is truly seeking God, it is because God the Father is seeking them and calling them to salvation through awakening their mind to his good news message and spiritual truth that will lead a person to his son and a transformation into a new creation. Jesus said that only the Father can draw a person to him.
"And he said, therefore said I to you, that no man can come to me, except it were given to him of my Father . . ." (Jn.6:65 KJV).
Millions of sincere individuals feel that they are following Christ and performing God's will in their lives. However, the unconverted person cannot truly follow Christ or do God's will in their life, because it is not a part of their nature. Moreover, absolutely no one can become a follower of Christ unless the Father calls them to follow him, and no one can be transformed into the Father's new creation unless the Father first calls that person to salvation.
Many very sincere people feel that they are converted, but according to the biblical definition of conversion, they are not. The Father has never called them to salvation, and they have not gone through the conversion process:
"For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all they that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:39 KJV). Notice that it is the Father who calls a person to Christ. See also Rom.8:26-30; 1.Cor.1:9,23-28; Eph.1:5-9; 1.Thes.5:23-24; 2.Tim.1:8-9; Heb.9:14-15.
The transformation from a human into a son of God is an orderly process that begins with the Father's call to salvation. And if this process is followed correctly, it will result in a person entering into the Sovereign Father's holy family and nation of kings and priests. The Father's calling process may take years or a very short time and requires that each person be given enough knowledge and understanding of God's truth in order for them to know the following before they are baptized:
Knowledge Prior to Baptism
Although a person does not have to become a biblical scholar before or after one is called to salvation, there is certain knowledge that is necessary for one to have in order to begin the process of conversion. Your answers to the following questions should help you analyze your particular situation and determine whether or not you actually received a call to salvation before your baptism and whether or not you are just now being called to salvation:
CALLED TO REPENTANCE
On the first festival of Pentecost after the death and resurrection of Christ, the apostle Peter spoke to a great assembly of people who were witnessing the awesome events that were taking place on that day:
"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the holy spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all they that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:37-39). See also Ezk.14:6-7; Matt.3:1-2; Mk.1:14-15; Acts17:30.
There are four very important things to learn from these verses:
There can be little doubt that some of those whom Peter addressed understood that they had participated in the murder of their Messiah and Savior, just as the prophecies had foretold. In great fear and shame, they ask Peter, "What shall we do?"
This is the process through which a person is transformed into a son of God, but just feeling that you have gone through this process does not guarantee that you have received the holy spirit and have become a son of God. In order to become a son of God, each of the conditions Peter mentioned must be understood and complied with, both physically and spiritually. If any of these conditions are not fulfilled as set forth by God's word, a person cannot become a son of God.
Having or not having the holy spirit is the difference between being or not being a son of God. Therefore, it is important to clearly understand the process by which one acquires this spirit and becomes a part of the family of God.
WHAT IS REPENTANCE?
The next step in the conversion process after being called by God to salvation is the process of repentance. Without true repentance, a person can neither have their sins forgiven nor receive the holy spirit. If a person has not truly repented they are not a son of God.
The Word Repent
The English word repent, used in Acts 2:38 comes from the Greek word "metanoia". It is a very complex word because it deals with the mind and its thought processes. In the context of Acts 2:38, the word "metanoia" clearly refers to changing from that which is evil to that which is good.
Many feel that to repent means just to feel sorry for being a sinner, and then ask God to forgive their sins. Others feel that it is just a matter of the heart. They believe that simply giving their heart to the Lord is all that is necessary to obtain salvation. However, true repentance is far more than an emotional feeling of sorrow or remorse, or just saying a few words and participating in an alter call or a baptismal ritual. The repentance that Peter speaks of in Acts 2:38 is not the "metanoia ametameletos" repentance that Paul speaks of in 2.Cor.7:8, which means regret or sorrow.
Although a person should regret violating God's laws and ways of life, to truly repent is to do much more than just feel sorry. A truly repentant person will not only regret having sinned, but also will no longer make a practice of sinning. True repentance requires a change of heart, mind, attitude, priorities, and physical actions.
Repentance is a change in one's life away from that which is evil and toward that which is of God with an unconditional surrender to the rule and authority of God in one's life. The apostle Paul taught that true repentance requires a change from one's old lifestyle and a turning to God, as well as doing works that show that one has made a change toward the things of God:
"Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision: But showed first to them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works fit for repentance" (Acts 26:19-20 KJV).
A Total Commitment
"And there went great multitudes with him: and he [Jesus] turned, and said to them, If any man come to me and hate [i.e., love less] not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, and yes, his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Lk.14:25-26 KJV).
These are very strong words. The phrase "hate not" is a strong Greek expression which means "to love less by comparison."
Jesus was not making some ethereal or philosophical statement; he was explaining
that those who follow him must make a total commitment. Nothing else can have
a higher priority in one's life.
The number one priority for a child of God should be to accomplish the goal of salvation and to fulfill the purpose that they have been called to perform, now and in the future
The Father expects a total commitment to him and his way of life. Anyone who is unwilling to make this kind of commitment and places anyone or anything, including their own physical life, above their commitment to God the Father does not truly understand what is required to become a son of God. See Matt.10:34-38; Lk.9:59-62, 10:17-22, 14:28-30; Rom.12:1-2.
FORGIVENESS OF SIN
A very important part of the process of repentance is asking for the forgiveness of one's sins, and then making a sincere effort to stop sinning. But what is sin? Logic tells us that if one is going to ask for forgiveness of sin and then make an effort to stop sinning one must know what sin is. Without knowing what sin really is a person cannot be converted, because they do not know of what to ask forgiveness. Moreover, without understanding what sin is, a person cannot understand the change God requires them to make in their lifestyle. The following is the biblical definition of sin:
"Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (1.Jn.3:4 KJV).
"All unrighteousness is sin . . . " (1.Jn.5:17 Para.).
"All that is not of faith is sin" (Rom.14:23 Para.).
"To anyone knowing to do good, and not doing it, it is sin to him" (Jms.4:17 Para.).
Sin is the violation of the physical and spiritual law of God-sin is lawlessness. Sin is any deviation from God's laws, statutes, and ordinances, that define how a person should live their life and worship God. It is for the violation of these laws that a person must ask forgiveness.
A person cannot ask forgiveness for something unless one knows what that something is. Before a person can ask forgiveness they must come to the realization that they are a sinner and have been living in opposition to God's law and way of life. The apostle James speaks very bluntly about the need to repent of sin:
"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleans your hands you sinners; and purify your heart you double minded" (Jms.4:8 KJV). Please read verses 1-11 for background information concerning this admonition from James. See also Isa.1:16-20; Matt.9:10-13; Jn.8:1-11
Many professing Christians find themselves in opposition to much of what is taught in the Bible and almost all of this opposition surrounds the violation of God's law and the instructions that tell one how to practice these laws.
When you asked God the Father to forgive your sins through the sacrifice of
his son, did you know what sin was? If you did not know what sin was and that
you were guilty of violating God's law at the time you requested forgiveness,
your sins were not forgiven and this step in the process toward becoming a son
of God has not been completed because you are still guilty of past sins.
One of the major stumbling blocks to true repentance is a person's refusal to begin keeping the Ten Commandments. Most who profess to believe in God agree that these ten laws are good; however, many feel that they should not be taken literally-especially the fourth commandment regarding the observance of the Sabbath. This also seems to be the general attitude most people have in reference to all the rest of God's laws. But what does the Bible say about keeping God's law?
"And behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matt.19:16-17 KJV).
Jesus says that keeping the commandments is essential to obtaining eternal life.
"And behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city" (Rev.22:12-14).
It should be obvious that for one to be a son of God they must understand and keep the law of God; Yet many people who profess to be sons of God do not understand or practice the ten commandments or other laws of God.
The apostle John said that only a liar says, "I know God", but does not keep his law. The simple truth is that a person cannot know God unless that person obeys God's law, because God's law reveals his character and personality:
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that says, I know him and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keeps his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: and hereby know we that we are in him" (1.Jn.2;3-5 KJV). See also Jn.14:21-24; 1.Jn.3:24.
Doers of The Law
"For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law are justified" (Rom.2:13 KJV). See also Psa.119:172; 2.Jn.5-6.
According to the biblical definition, true sons of God will be endeavoring to properly practice God's ten commandments and his other laws, statutes, and ordinances, they will not pick and choose what they will or will not obey in God's law, because they understand that all God's law must be obeyed.
This is not a condemnation of anyone; it is just a biblical fact. Those who are God's sons will be doing his will in their life, and those who are not his sons will not be doing his will.
Did You Truly Repent?
Your answers to the following questions should help you analyze your particular situation and determine whether or not you truly understood what repentance meant and if you had truly made a conscious decision to repent of your sins before you asked the Father's forgiveness:
The next step in the process of conversion is water baptism. This ceremony is not for the purpose of initiating a person into a physical organization. No earthly organization of humans can offer the grand and awesome privilege of sonship in God the Father's earthly family.
The baptismal ceremony with its various steps is the process by which the person being baptized is purged of all sin and prepared to receive God's spirit.
"Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the holy spirit" (Acts 2:38 KJV).
The Physical Act of Baptism
The English word "baptize" is from the Greek word "baptizo," which means "to immerse", "to plunge into", "to put into", or "to dip." It does not mean sprinkle or pour, because the Greek word for "sprinkle" is "rantidzo," and the Greek verb "to pour" is "cheo."
The scriptural and historical record is very clear concerning the use of water in the baptismal ceremony. The method taught by Christ and his disciples is total immersion. Any other method of baptism is a counterfeit and is not authorized or recognized by God the Father or Jesus Christ. See Matt.3:13-16; Jn.3:23; Acts 8:27-39.
Baptism of the Spirit
The final step in the conversion process is the laying on of hands in order to receive the holy spirit. There are some biblical examples where a few individuals received God's spirit without the laying on of hands (see Matt.3:13-16, Acts 2:1-3). However, while it is true that, on special occasions, God gave the holy spirit prior to baptism, there is no promise from God that he will ever make these exceptions again. It is clear that the apostles felt it was necessary to perform the act of laying on hands in order for those who were called to salvation to receive God's spirit. Therefore, the laying on of hands is a part of the baptismal ceremony:
"Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the holy spirit" (Acts 8:17 KJV) See also Acts 8:14-16, 9:10-18; 19:1-6.
A person who has been called of God, and has truly repented, asked forgiveness for their sins through the sacrifice of Christ, been properly baptized in water, and received the indwelling of the holy spirit is a son of God. The transformation from a human with only the spirit of man into a son of God with the spirit of God has been completed. This transformation is not philosophical; it is a reality. During the baptismal ceremony and the laying on of hands, the repentant human is changed both physically and spiritually into a new and different creature.
The baptized person with God's spirit is now a literal son of God, with the same genetic make-up as other members of the God family. Although still physically alive, and in the physical form of a human, the converted spirit-filled person is a new creature. See our study Sons of The New Creation.
An individual who has successfully completed the entire process of becoming a son of God now has an eternal agreement between themselves, God The Father, and Jesus Christ. See Mk.1:8, Lk.3:16, 11:13; Jn.1:33; Acts 2:38, 11:15-16.
IS YOUR BAPTISM VALID?
Your answers to the following questions should help you analyze your particular
situation and determine whether or not your baptism is valid in order for you
to know whether or not you have received the holy spirit:
The Holy Spirit
Did you have hands laid on you in order to receive the holy spirit?
The information present up to this point has outlined the basic biblical process that must be followed in order to become transformed from a human having only the spirit of man into a new creation (a son of the Sovereign Father) having God's holy spirit residing within.
The next section contains topics and scriptural information that can help you either prove the validity of your conversion and show that you truly have the holy spirit or reveal why you are not converted and what you should do with this knowledge.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS
In order to determine if your repentance and baptism are valid, there are several questions that you should ask and answer concerning important topics that concern your personal conversion process, scriptural and spiritual understanding, lifestyle, and commitment to God. A thorough analysis of these questions and answers should reveal your spiritual condition and whether or not you truly have God's spirit dwelling in you.
Many people come to believe in the God of the Bible and subsequently become aligned with a religion other than the Sovereign Father's worship system. After this they may come to understand that much of what they believed and were taught about God and the Bible was not true. Upon realizing that they are in violation of some aspect of God's law or biblical truth and that they should be living in obedience to that particular law or truth, they decide to change their belief or practice and seek to align themselves with a group, organization, or church that believes the same way that they believe.
Many of these people truly believe that they are converted and have the holy spirit because of the commitment that they made to God when they first came to believe in God. They may think that they have simply progressed beyond their former association in knowledge and understanding. The problem with this is that the process of conversion cannot be fulfilled through this world's religions. The scriptures tell us that the Sovereign Father calls people out of this world's religions; he does not call people to himself and Christ through this world's religions.
It is true that a person must come to understand the difference between truth and error and must come into conformity to truth in order to please the Father and Christ. However, just conforming to truth or joining a different organization or church does not transform a person into a new creature or impart the holy spirit.
A person must go through the proper method and process of repentance and baptism as noted in the Bible before being given God's holy spirit and being transformed into a new creation. This method and process cannot be accomplished in any of this world's religious systems, no matter how similar they seem to God's true religion. The Sovereign Father's method and process requires that a person know and understand certain basic information before a person can advance through their conversion process and receive God's holy spirit.
Three common misconceptions about the conversion process are that baptisms in this world's churches are valid, childhood baptism is valid, and the knowledge of the Sabbath and other basic laws is not required before one receives the holy spirit.
If you were baptized in a religious system other than God the Father's, baptized as an infant or child, or did not understand the basic commandments of God when you were baptized, you should review your status with the Father, because these are foundational issues that affect the conversion process and are a major cause of false conversions.
Regardless of a person's sincerity of belief, if a person has not properly fulfilled the requirements for being transformed into a child of God, that person does not have the holy spirit dwelling within them and therefore is not a new creature. That person's conversion is not valid and they must go through the proper method and process of conversion in order to receive the holy spirit.
Childhood Conversions and Infant Baptism
Many feel that God recognizes childhood conversion and infant baptism. Although these feelings may be genuine, one must understand that true conversion is predicated upon belief, knowledge, understanding, and repentance. All of these mental conditions are prerequisites to conversion.
Common sense tells us that very young children and infants do not have the mental maturity, life experience, and emotional stability required to make and stand behind decisions of the magnitude necessary prior to and after baptism. All biblical examples of baptism record only young or older adults being baptized.
There is no scriptural example or evidence that support the baptism of very young children or infants. The scriptural record clearly shows that those who were baptized were old enough to understand what was being taught by those preaching the Father's good news message about Christ and the Kingdom of God. Therefore, they were able to make their decisions based upon the facts presented.
An Emotional Experience
Many believe that they have received God's holy spirit and are a son of God because they have had an emotional experience or have spoken in a language that they did not understand. There are no examples in the Bible of an emotional experience or the speaking in unknown languages being necessary for receiving the holy spirit or for conversion.
A careful study of what the scriptures say regarding speaking in foreign languages will reveal that the practice of speaking in unintelligible gibberish is not of God. For a detailed analysis of the gift of speaking in foreign languages see our study concerning speaking in foreign languages.
EVIDENCE OF REPENTANCE
It is evident that most people who profess to follow the God of the Bible clearly divide their lives into two categories: secular or religious. However, God says that in order to follow him, one's whole life must be religious; it must be in compliance with God's laws, principles, and precepts. See Rom.12:1-2.
A fundamental teaching of both the Old and the New Testaments is that one must conform to God's way of life in order to please him. Simply saying that you believe in God and his ways will not guarantee salvation. Instead, it will result in the termination of your existence in the Lake of Fire. See Matt.15:7-9, 7:23-27; Isa.29:13; Ezk.33:31-32.
"And by this we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that says, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whosoever keeps his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; by this know we that we are in him" (1.Jn. 2:3-5).
This is a very important scripture because it identifies those who are truly sons of God and it reveals the mind set of those who think they have God's spirit but do not. The world is filled with professing Christians who think that they have God's spirit but are neither keeping his commandments nor many of the other precepts, principles, and laws that are mandatory for the Father's children to practice. The Bible says that in order to know God one must keep his commandments.
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not burdensome"(1.Jn.5:2-3).
The Father's law is a manifestation of his love. His children understand that this law must govern their attitude and behavior in order for them to live in harmony with him and his son. Obedience to the physical and spiritual aspects of God's law and your attitude toward this law is powerful evidence that you either have or do not have the indwelling of the holy spirit.
A Change of Lifestyle
A person who is a son of God will not purposefully and persistently violate God's laws or principles of life, they will be practicing God's ways to the best of their ability. Conversion is not just a philosophical change; it is not only a change in attitude but also in what a person is mentality, physically, and spiritually:
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know you not, that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism to death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom.6:1-4) KJV).
If you truly feel that the old self really died in the baptismal waters and you were truly resurrected clean, pure, and sinless into a new life, then you should be earnestly seeking to do God's will in your life.
"The person who has been born into God's family does not make a practice of sinning, because now God's life is in him; so he can't keep on sinning, for this new life has been born into him and controls him-he has been born again" (1.Jn.3:9 LPB).
A truly converted person will not habitually violate God's law; instead, they will be attempting with all their strength to practice all of God's laws, precepts, and principles. A truly converted and committed person will be striving to obey God and live a righteous life, not because of fear of punishment, but because they desire to live a righteous life. See Rom.8:1-14; 1.Jn.2:5-6.
The Spirit Bears Record
How can one have confidence that they are one of the Father's children if the
Father does not personally speak directly to them?
"For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption [sonship], whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then joint heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him that we may be also glorified together" (Rom.8:15-17 KJV). See also 1.Jn.4:13.
How does the holy spirit show us that we are the Sovereign Father's children? Is there irrefutable evidence-besides one's feelings-that will show beyond a shadow of doubt that you have God's spirit? The answer is yes. There is proof; otherwise, God's word would not be true.
When God's spirit becomes an active part of a converted persons conscious thought process, that person will have certain abilities beyond those of a person without God's spirit. However, the level of the holy spirit's activity within the converted person is dependent upon that person's resolve and interest in growing toward spiritual maturity. See our study paper Toward Spiritual Maturity and Perfection.
The holy spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God because it can be manifested through our thought processes and sometimes through physical and spiritual exhibitions of power. See Eph 3:19-21.
"For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom 8:14 KJV).
Determining whether or not the holy spirit is truly leading you and is a part of your life, requires a serious and honest introspection into your attitude, character, and priorities. In the remainder of this study we will consider certain aspects of the holy spirit as they relate to a son of God and ask questions that can be used as a guide for your personal evaluation.
UNDERSTANDING GOD'S WORD
There is no doubt that the Bible is a very complex book that many find difficult to read and understand. However, the Bible should not be difficult to read or understand for those for whom it was written. The Bible itself records that it was written to be understood by sons of God.
"Every scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; so that the man of God may be perfect, fully finished for every good work" (2.Tim.3:16-17 Para.). See also Psa.19:7; Pro.1:1-7; Dan.12:9-12; Col.1:7-10.
The apostle Paul said that the Father's elect have the ability to understand the things pertaining to the things of God, which includes both the physical and spirit realms of existence.
1.Corinthians 2:9-16 Paraphrased
"According as it has been written, 'Eye has not seen, nor ear has heard,' nor has it risen up into the heart of man, 'the things which God has prepared for those that love him" (v9).
Here, Paul quotes what the prophet Isaiah said about God's plan being a sealed mystery (Isa.64:4). Then, he says that God reveals these mysteries to his sons by his spirit:
"But God revealed them to us by his spirit, for the spirit searches all things, even the depths of God" (v10).
Paul said that it is through the power of God's spirit that he reveals his hidden mysteries, and that this spirit has access to all knowledge, including God's knowledge:
"For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man within him? So also no one has known the things of God except the spirit of God" (v11).
The knowledge about humanity's physical realm of existence is discerned by the human spirit, and the knowledge about the spiritual realm of existence is discerned by God's spirit:
"But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit from God; that we may know the things freely given to us by God" (v12).
Paul reminds God's elect at Corinth that they are not human as others are human, because they have been given God's spirit:
"Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in words taught of the holy spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things" (v13).
The knowledge that Paul, the other apostles, and the elders taught was not obtained from the spirit of man, it was knowledge conveyed to them through the Father's holy spirit that dwelled in them.
The Natural Man
"But a natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (v14).
Paul clearly said that a person void of the holy spirit can only understand the physical existence. A person without God's spirit simply does not have the ability to understand things of the spirit. Paul is not condemning the unconverted; he is merely reminding the Corinthians of their status with God and that they have the ability to know and understand things that other people cannot.
"But truly the spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one. For who knew the mind of the Lord? Who will teach him? But we have the mind of Christ" (vs.5-16). See Psa.111:10.
Through diligent prayer, study, and meditation on God's word, the truly converted person who has been transformed by God's spirit power into a new and different creature can understand the things that are relevant to their personal relationship with the Father and the Son (1.Cor.2:1-10).
A truly converted person should understand who and what God is, God's plan for humanity, and many other things pertaining to the spirit realm. These things should not be a total mystery to a person with God's spirit. However, a person who has not been transformed into a new creature cannot understand spiritual things, because that person is of the original human life-form, having only the spirit of man, which does not have the ability to discern things of the spirit. Moreover, the human life form does not have the same desires as God and does not possess the ability to think as God thinks:
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the holy spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receives not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1.Cor.2:12-16 KJV).
Understanding is Conditional
The Bible clearly tells us that a person with the indwelling of the holy spirit should have the ability to understand spiritual things. But it also tells us that there are the following prerequisites and conditions that must be met before one will be allowed to acquire this understanding: Obedience to God and his way of life, the study of his word, meditating on his truth, seeking his will in your life, and asking for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. If a converted person fails to do these things they may lack knowledge and understanding. Other things that can cause a lack of knowledge and understanding are quenching of the spirit, rebelling against God, or allowing something or someone to take priority in your life above your duty to God.
Is a person given perfect knowledge and understanding of the mysteries of God and his laws at the instant they receive the holy spirit? Absolutely not! A short review of the apostles' letters shows that having spiritual knowledge and understanding requires time, effort, and study. The Father and our Savior have promised that a person with the holy spirit will be able to develop spiritual knowledge and understanding if they put in the necessary time, effort, and study.
"Earnestly study to show your self approved to God a workman unashamed" (2.Tim.2:15 Para.).
The holy spirit is capable of imparting knowledge, discernment, wisdom, and understanding to the Father's elect children. However, if a person rarely studies and meditates on God's word or rarely communicates with the Father through prayer, it is a good indication that their priorities are not correct, or that they do not have the holy spirit.
ATTRIBUTES OF THE SPIRIT
Another way to determine if you are a son of God is to determine if you have the attributes of his holy spirit. The holy spirit along with its various attributes and functions that the Father gives to his son is meant to help them obtain their goal of salvation and perform the work to which they have been called:
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever" (Jn.14:16 KJV).
"If you love me keep my commandments. And I will petition the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may remain with you forever the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see him nor know him, for he abides in you, and shall be with you" (Jn.14:15-17 Para.).
Because the holy spirit will continually dwell within the Father's elect, a person should be able to determine if they have this spirit by understanding the effect that it is supposed to have on those who have it.
Below is a partial list of the attributes and functions of the holy spirit and the effect that it should have within the Father's children:
The Holy Spirit:
"It is the spirit of truth; which the world cannot receive, because it sees it not, neither knows it: but you know it; and it dwells with you, and shall be in you" (Jn.14:17 KJV).
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, it shall testify of me:" (Jn.15:26 KJV Para.).
A Guide To Truth
"I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when the spirit of truth, comes, it will guide you to all truth: for it shall not speak of itself; but whatever it shall hear, that shall it speak; . . ." (Jn.16:12-13 KJV Para.). See also 1.Cor.2:11, 1.Pet.1:12.
Christ told his disciples that the spirit of truth would guide them into all truth and would reveal an understanding of prophetic events.
Reveals Prophetic Events
"And it will show you things to come. It shall glorify me, for it shall receive of, and shall show it to you" (Jn.16:13-14 KJV).
It is evident from the scriptures that the prophets and the early church did not understand many prophetic events in their entirety (see Daniel chapter 12) and only had an overview of some prophecies. However, Christ and the prophets foretold a time when these events would be understood in their entirety by the sons of God. The holy spirit reveals future events to those who have a need to know.
Gives Spiritual Discernment
"But truly the spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one. For who knew the mind of the Lord? Who will teach him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1.Cor.2:15-16 Para.).
The truly converted person who has the holy spirit has the ability to discover and understand the true meaning of physical and spiritual things as they pertain to the plan of God. See 1.Cor.2:11.
Is A Teacher And Reminder of God's Truth
"But the comforter, the holy spirit, whom the Father shall send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and shall remind you of all things that I said to you" (Jn.14:26 Para.).
Notice that the holy spirit teaches and reminds a person of God and his truth. By this teaching and reminding, the holy spirit helps one to internalize God's truth.
Places The Law Within the Mind
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people" (Heb.8:10). See also 2.Cor.3:3; Jer.31:33.
When you receive the holy spirit, the laws of God are made a part of your very nature and being, making it possible to be conscious of the difference between righteous and unrighteous behavior. Having these laws as a constant part of your conciseness alerts you to the correct spiritual path that should be followed as you experience the various trials and temptations of this physical life.
Is Spiritual Power
"You shall receive power after that the holy spirit is come upon you: and you will be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8 KJV).
The holy spirit is power and energy that can be used to accomplish many things. It is this power that helps the Father's children perfect the spiritual character necessary to fulfill his great purpose in their life. See Gal.5:22; 1.Thes.1:5; Heb.2:4, 6:4-5.
Reveals One's Spiritual Condition
It is through the indwelling of the holy spirit that a person comes to know God and to be known by him. A truly converted person will begin bearing the spiritual fruit after repentance and baptism:
"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit" (Gal.5:22-25 NIV).
There are over 15 gifts of the spirit noted in the New Testament. Each of these gifts is a real tangible power or attribute that can be used to help the Father's children obtain their goal of salvation and to perform the work to which they have been called.
There are at least four spiritual gifts that each child of God should have manifested to some extent in their life. These gifts are spiritual love, faith, knowledge, and wisdom. If these gifts are unrecognizable or weak in person's life, it is an indication that one does not have the holy spirit dwelling in them or one is not growing spiritually and needs to spend the appropriate time and effort to increase the manifestation of these spiritual qualities in their life. See Matt.7:11, 1.Cor.12:8-10, Jms.1:5, 2.Pet.1:5; 1.Jn.5:14.
The physical and spiritual gifts that are given through the holy spirit to perform a work for the Father and Christ are never to be used for personal gratification. They are always to be used to witness of God's greatness and to point people toward him and his way of life.
"And when the comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the spirit of truth who precedes from the Father, that One will witness concerning me" (Jn.15:26 Para.).
The indwelling of the holy spirit is a proof to the Father's children that what Jesus said and did is true. This witness is abundantly clear to those who have the holy spirit dwelling in them because of the various fruits and gifts that are manifested in their life through it.
THE CASUAL CHRISTIAN
If after serious study, review, and evaluation of your call to salvation and baptism, you feel that you have the holy spirit, but your priorities are not what they should be, and you do not measure up to the standards that God requires of a son, the following information should help you to rectify this situation if you truly have the holy spirit.
The first thing to remember is that the calling to be a son of God is the most important endeavor that anyone can ever participate in, because successful accomplishment of the goal that the Father has set before those he calls to salvation during this age will lead to eternal and immortal life as a member in the Father's holy family and kingdom (Rev.3:5,21; 5:10; 20:4-6): However, failure to accomplish the goal the Father has set before you will result in a death from which there is no return (Lk.9:62; Heb.6:4-6; 10:26-27; Rev.20:13; 21:8).
The commitment made at baptism is not for the purpose of being initiated into a man-made organization; it is for the purpose of becoming a son of God in the family of God. The covenant that is ratified at baptism is with God the Father and Jesus Christ.
Go Forward Toward Salvation
In the book of Revelation, John records Christ's warning and instructions to the Ephesian elect who were being unfaithful to their calling:
"But I have against you that you left your first love. Then remember from where you are fallen, and repent and do the first works. And if not, I am coming to you quickly, and will remove your lamp-stand from its place, unless you repent" (Rev.2:5 Para.).
Notice that these people had not been faithful to their calling. They were instructed to return to God, make a positive change toward righteous behavior and renew their commitment to God or they would lose the knowledge of the truth (light) they had been given. The symbolism of light in the scriptures is very clear; when the light of truth is gone there is only darkness and no hope of salvation.
"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth. Because you say I am rich, and I am made rich, and I have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked" (Rev.3:15-17 KJV Para.).
They had deceived themselves into thinking they were spiritually rich, but stood before God as spiritually poor and without righteous garments. There are true Christians just like this today who still have hope for salvation if they will heed the advice of Jesus Christ.
"I advise you to buy from Me gold having been fired by fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, and that your nakedness may not be revealed. And anoint your eyes with eye-salve, that you may see. I, as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten, Be zealous, then, and repent" (Rev.3:18-19 Para.).
Notice that their hope lies in putting forth the effort it takes to gain salvation. The advice Jesus gives to anyone who has this type of attitude toward their calling is for them to seriously work at being righteous with a zeal for change toward righteousness.
A Stern Warning
There are many stern warnings to the unrepentant who have accepted the call of God to salvation, and then decide to depart from the faith. Notice that their fate is the same as the incorrigibly wicked:
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy spirit, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to open shame . . .But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected and is nigh to cursing; whose end is to be burned" (Heb.6:4-6;8 KJV). See also Heb.2:1-3, 2.Pet.2:20-21; Ezk.18:24,26.
"For if we willfully sin after receiving the full knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice concerning sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and zealous fire being brought about to consume the adversaries. Anyone not regarding the law of Moses dies without pity on the word of two or three witnesses: How much worse punishment do you think he will be thought worthy to receive having trampled on the Son of God, and having counted the blood of the covenant in which he was sanctified common, and having insulted the spirit of grace?" (Heb.10:26-29 KJV Para.).
A son of God who breaks their baptismal agreement and makes a practice of violating God's laws, precepts, and principles, willfully refusing to obey him, will die an eternal death.
If there is no sustained effort to live according to God's ways, God will not grant eternal life, but will instead destroy the wicked person with fire-"for the wages of sin is death" (Rom.6:23)." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb.10:31).
Many people believe that Jesus Christ existed; many also acknowledge that He is the Savior of humanity; and many accept him as their personal Savior. However, there are few who believe to the point that they are willing to follow his teachings and examples as a way of life.
To those of shallow belief he says, "And why call you me Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say" (Lk.6:46 KJV).
Believing is more than just an acknowledgment that Jesus exists and is the Son of God. True belief in Jesus Christ is manifested in one's life through a deep commitment to God the Father as evidenced by righteous fruit of that belief.
Living a holy lifestyle is more than a casual experience; it requires a godly attitude and an intense effort to practice and conform to God's laws, precepts, and principles. If one is truly a new creature having the indwelling of the holy spirit and will put forth an honest effort to do what in necessary in order to grow toward spiritual maturity and perfection, the Father has promised salvation and eternal life.
ARE YOU OF THE NEW CREATION?
If a person does not desire the things of God, then either that person is not of the Father's new creation and does not have the holy spirit or the holy spirit is dying within that person. A person with the nature of God will desire and seek the things of God and will be putting forth an effort to become more like their heavenly Father and their Savior (Jesus Christ) in attitude and behavior:
"If it is that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: Put off your former lifestyle, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and put on the new man that is created after God in righteousness and true holiness. Therefore, stop lying, and everyone speak the truth to his neighbor: for we are one" (Eph.4:21-25 Para.). See also Col.3:8-10.
A purely human mind is in opposition to God, is finite, and is limited in its ability to understand the things of God. Therefore, the human mind cannot comply with God's law; however, just the opposite is true of a person having God's spirit dwelling within them. A person with God's spirit can live a life in harmony with God and his law; has a mind that is not finite but has a promise of eternal life; and can understand the things of God, because of the godly component of the holy spirit that has been added to their mind:
"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom.8:6-8 KJV).
Paul states that, unless a person is transformed from the original creation, devoid of God's spirit, into the new creation with God's spirit, that person is not a member of the Father's earthly family of kings and priests:
"But you are not in flesh, but in spirit, since the spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone has not the spirit of Christ, this one is not his. But if Christ is in you, the body indeed is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness" (Rom.8:9-10 Para.). See Phil.2:3-5
Many feel that they have the holy spirit of God, but the fruit of their life reveals that they do not.
"They profess that they know God, but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate" (Titus1:16 KJV).
"Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt.7:21 KJV). See also Matt.7:16-20.
A Personal Evaluation
As stated at the beginning of this study, a major part of the process of conversion and a converted person's ongoing walk with the Father and his Son is the performing an honest personal evaluation of one's attitude, mind-set, and lifestyle. Performing this personal evaluation will help you to know whether or not you truly have the Father's holy spirit and whether or not you are measuring up to the Father's expectations for your life.
Because of the indwelling of God's spirit, there are very specific attitudes, behaviors, feelings, and thought processes that a truly converted person will have as a part of their personality and lifestyle.
The following are additional questions that should be answered to help you determine your present status with God the Father:
If after an honest review and evaluation of your conversion process and an evaluation of your attitudes, behaviors, and feelings you have doubts as to your conversion, these concerns may be valid or you may just be having feelings of inadequacy.
However, if you conclude that you do not have the holy spirit dwelling within you and you now understand the conversion method and process and desire to have your sins forgiven and serve God; it is likely that your mind has been opened to this truth. If so, you are now being given the awesome opportunity to be among the first of humanity to enter the Sovereign Father's holy family and nation of kings and priests. If this is your conclusion, you have knowledge that most of professing Christianity does not have and should thank the Father for this awakening and take the proper steps to secure your salvation through true repentance, baptism, and the receipt of the holy spirit.
If you conclude that you have the holy spirit, but need to be more diligent in your pursuit of righteousness, take steps to increase your faith and spiritual knowledge and understanding through ongoing prayer, study, and meditation about the things of God. Moreover, you should begin to diligently practice God's laws and principles in your life.
By B.L. Cocherell