Am I Really Born Again?
And in Union, Too?
By Fred Pruitt
(Still working on Part Three of “Temptation and Condemnation.” In the meantime it seemed expedient to refresh and re-post this one, since there are always people with these concerns.)
Dear Fred, I have been reading lots of the posts and they have been a blessing that so so many of us have been in and felt such great fears and desolations.
I still am in a fearful state though and get frightened of going to hell with unbelief and doubt. Its comes at me always that I am not born again. My initial encounter was unexpected I don’t think I even asked God into my life. He just overwhelmed me with love comfort and understanding and told me when thy mother and father forsake thee I will take thee up … He showed me things that he’d been in people who I met and touched my life. It lasted just days and ended when one day I said I hoped he would never go away and as I said that the words, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” came up from my insides, [and] then I felt all this abandonment.
Have I done wrong? And all the self stuff I’ve tried and others say u must have sinned and get back and when I read scripture I thought that’s what God expected of me, because I didn’t know new covenant way. Can being born again be just pure grace without the asking, as that’s how it felt? Just the sheer love I had been desiring I am sure most of my life. Hoping God loved me and I wouldn’t go to hell though I broke the commandments.
It’s that IF! IF Christ is in you, you should be this and able to do that, etc. That nags at me day and night and since I can’t [perform perfectly] I am in fear. I have a 34 year old son who was diagnosed high functioning autism 6 years ago. He is drinking himself to death and been in hospital 46 times. He also gambles and now lives in care after he stole money off us and we can’t cope with all the stress after years of it. I give him to God and [then] take him back. I hear in my head, “If I had Gods Spirit [I] should be able to fix this son….”
For all that you have endured over the years, I believe you can be certain of a mighty resurrection in yourself and an outpouring of the fruit which God gives, which is the ultimate effect that Christ in you has accomplished all through these years and is continuing to accomplish in the lives of all the people you have met and affected – much of it without you really knowing it was going on. Which means, I believe, the best is yet to come, because it begins a whole new day when our consciousness (inner awareness, spiritual knowledge and understanding) is raised by the Spirit to the “level” of knowing Who we are in Him, and we “know that we know.” I believe that is next for you. This very day it will begin.
Here’s the thing, what is in our heart – by that I mean our inner spirit, where we are joined in union, God’s Spirit with our human spirit, making one New Covenant Person – always sets the course and writes the music of our lives. As I read what you wrote when you had your early experience with Christ showing you things for weeks, and then you questioned whether you had been truly born again since you do not remember ever “asking” Christ to come into your life, in your words, “He just overwhelmed me with love, comfort and understanding.”
When you told me He had said to you, “When thy mother and father forsake thee I will take thee up” (Ps 27:10) – the answer is obvious to me! That testimony could not come from someone who had not had a Divine encounter!
There is no “formula” for entering into the Life of Christ. God does it His own way with each of us. Some people go forward in church or in a meeting. Some people meet Christ in their aloneness, outside of church or religion in general. Some people say they have known Him all their lives. Some people say one day they just “knew.” It does not matter the “procedure.” He decides all that, not man. I am not the final judge of such things – it is always between you and the Lord – but I would certainly, based upon your testimony, see you as my sister in Christ, each of us born of the same Divine Seed, Christ in you, and Christ in me. We are two completely different people, you and I, but we live out of the Same Head who expresses Himself uniquely in each of us. How you came to “know the Lord” or how I came to know Him is immaterial to the fact that we are One in Him and He in us.
But I do understand your temptations, because they have been mine as well. I know the aloneness, the sense sometimes of feeling abandoned. I would always believe, in those early times, that if I didn’t “feel” God that day, something was wrong with me. A whole period of years of struggle with the whole “Christian life” came, and my main prayer became, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?” (Ps 42:1,2)
Every negative thing you have believed about yourself, or what others have told you that has caused your situation of feeling “abandoned” – (“You must have sinned,” they say) – I have experienced in all their gritty hurtful condemning ways as well, and I experienced it for years. So I do know where you are coming from.
But I also know that the Spirit brings us out of that. One day in the middle of all that time for me, the Spirit spoke a Word to me, the meaning of which I didn’t know the day I heard it, and only when I remembered it about 25 years later did I “get it.” Like you, I had been thinking I might be going to hell even though I was a believer – long story – but it was sheer terror!
As I was walking at work one day a little Word came into me, “This that you are experiencing now is for all the others.” It was in the spring of 1980, though I remember it as plainly as if I am there now. As quick as it came – and I noted it but not grasping it – it left and I do not remember it coming to mind ever again – until about a decade ago. Suddenly that Word came back to me, along with the memory of the sufferings of those times, and some similar times since then, and He plainly showed me that even in my unconsciousness of the fullness of His Presence in my life, He was leading and guiding me.
That was beyond wonderful in and of itself, but this is what caused my rejoicing, that those Godly realities weren’t just to make “me” okay or feel better, but that every one of those experiences and deliverances would be food for others my entire life! Now at this writing it is 2017, early spring, 37 years later, and I can testify wholeheartedly to the truth of that Word I heard on the parking lot of A-1 Rents, Monterey CA, in 1980.
There is nothing wrong with teaching, doctrine, etc., but it is not teaching or doctrine we seek, but Life in the Spirit. The best way to convey Life in the Spirit is by the testimony of our lives. Everything you have written shouts, “precious saint of God,” to me, which means also, that it is no longer you who live, but Christ Who lives in you, and the Life you are now living every day is by the faith OF the One Who is in you, as the King James and many other versions translate it, we live by the “faith OF the Son of God.” (Gal 2:20)
So, this incredible thing has happened to you – and now it is time for you to know it! You are no longer “just you,” but you are a union, which consists of the Spirit of Christ and your human spirit united in oneness to become ONE new identity, not two.
It is time to KNOW that you have become a completely NEW creation in Jesus Christ, and all “old things” have passed away. The “old things” refers to who you used to be, like we all were, captives of the enemy, but that is NO LONGER TRUE!
He Himself has come for us, baptized us into Himself by water and the Spirit, and has become “us,” so that He IS our daily living! This is the truth about you and me and all who are in Christ. If we are “in Christ,” then He is “in us.” And not just Christ alone, but the Father and the Spirit as well. We are His house, bought with the price of His precious blood and pierced body, and as such “our” business is His business.
Your life in Christ (and mine) is expressed succinctly by the apostle John in 1 John 4:7 – “As He is, so are you in this world.” It will look like you, talk like you, be like you, and most everyone will believe it is you, but it is Christ. You and He as one.
We enter in by faith, rather than try to work up some Christlikeness, because “working it up” is impossible. How could a human being emulate God? Only God can be God. The “faith” part is an acknowledgement of the fact that God has given us this gift, because faith is only a receiving mechanism.
God is the Eternal Giver; we are the eternal receivers, who also in the name of the Eternal Giver, and as Him, transmit to others what we have received. That is all faith is – the means by which we receive what we have been given.
It is exactly like the mouth when eating a meal. We open our mouths to receive the food. “Exercising” faith is exactly the same in the spiritual. It is not work, but rather it is rest.
It is the simplicity of a marriage ceremony, when two people speak vows to one another before witnesses, and those vows are what bind the marriage together. By a simple word. It does not matter how they feel about their marriage.
Their simple words bind them together for life (theoretically). That is how powerful words are in temporal life, and it is the same in the Spirit. In fact, those examples exist in the temporal to give us a picture of the eternal things.
My point is this. If you believe it already, to speak your belief about who you are, that you are one person with Christ, that it is no longer you who live, but Christ who lives in you, helps to solidify your faith into understanding and consciousness. The specific words do not matter, only the fact that you firmly plant your feet and now SAY that this truth is YOUR truth, that God through Christ and the Spirit now are ONE with you, and the life you are living today and all days from hence it will be Christ in, through and AS, you!
Do not think about your perceived shortcomings, or your past “sins,” or that you need to become a better person before you could say something like that. If one goes that route, one will never arrive. It’s the wrong road. We could never possibly “improve ourselves” enough to live God’s Life. The world and much of the church will scream at us and say, “you couldn’t possibly be Christ living as you, you need to get rid of this and apply that and work harder. Get over your BIG-HEADED-ness, thinking you are Christ.” They will ridicule, but they are the ones with the BIG HEADS who think they can improve themselves into God’s acceptance. You and I and millions of others have learned we have “no righteousness of our own,” and the mere thought of it makes me think of filthy rags smeared with dung! But we were also BIG HEADS, too, in our day, thinking the same things they are thinking now. So we pray for them and believe for them, but we do not believe their accusing and condemning words.
Your own reasoning mind will fight you on it, and your emotions, too, but stand fast in what you have taken as truth. It might be quick or it might take a while, but at some point the Spirit will come and mightily confirm in your understanding that He indeed is your true inner Life, and that the “government” (of your life) is now upon HIS shoulders. (Isaiah 9:6).
But don’t worry about that aspect. You just stand in the Word you believe God has expressed by you. You are Christ in your form, just as Paul lamented that he would like to have seen among the Galatians, when he wrote them, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” (Gal 4:17). What Paul prayed to happen in the Galatians church, has occurred in YOU! Christ is now “formed,” i.e., “come to adulthood,” in YOU!
Re Jesus Temptation in the Wilderness
Now, regarding your son. Let’s throw out the devil’s temptation right here at the beginning. You heard the words in your mind, “if you have God’s Spirit you could heal your son.” Do those words seem familiar? They should, because they were part of the temptation Jesus endured from Satan in His wilderness time. “IF you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.” Does it not seem true that the words you heard in your mind were almost exactly the same words Satan said to Jesus? Someone might say, well, Jesus had the power to do it, but we do not. First of all, the action of turning stones into bread was not the issue, whether He could or could not, was not the point. The point was His faith in God and Who the Father had revealed Him to be in Himself. That was where He was being tempted.
It was not even about “using His Divine power for His own benefit,” that others conjecture. The “power” aspect is a distraction, as are all of Satan’s temptations. He was going for Jesus’ IDENTITY! Jesus stood fast in Who He was, and overcame the temptation to “prove” Himself for the devil, by declaring and resting in the fact that His food was heavenly food and would sustain Him forever. Let us learn from His example!
So from that, we take our eyes off our “abilities” or lack of abilities, and rest our faith purely in God only, both for ourselves and for the suffering loved-one we cannot “fix.” We ALL have situations and people like that in our lives, every one of us.
Regarding your son, you have given him over to God, and let that be that. I don’t mean to cease from helping him or doing any other “temporal” action with or for him, but that you realize your son’s deliverance is not in your hands, but in God’s, and HE IS TRUSTWORTHY, and HE IS LOVE! In your faith just see him delivered! When I say “in your faith just see him,” I am not talking about working up some mental belief you try to hold onto by “trying” to believe, but rather to “speak the word only,” which is to declare what God gives you to declare concerning your son, and then to rest in the fact that it is done, and leave it to God for the times and ways of its manifestation.
And then let me finally say something more about “the heart,” since you brought up in the last of your email that you had a hard time trusting yourself and your motives and attitudes. Your “heart” is where Christ now dwells and which He fills up with Himself. His Life pours out of Him in you in your Spirit-spirit center. In John 7:38, Jesus says, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Now think of what that is saying! Where is the Life? This scripture, almost plainer than any other scripture, shows that the Life is IN YOU! It comes out of YOU! Out of your innermost being comes this river of Living Water! And guess what again! You are not the instigator; He is!
What that is saying, is that your heart is Christ, not the “wicked heart” of the Old Testament, but the new heart you received in Christ. And that is where our deepest motivations and “attitudes” come from. Trust that! Your insides are CLEAN! He has cleansed you and made you ONE with Him! Rejoice! (John 13:10; 15:3).
You and Christ are one. When you walk, it is He walking. When you talk, it is He talking. And yet, what a paradox, it’s YOU! (God + you = the Real You!)
We could go on, but I think this is enough.
I’ll just leave you with a Word Jesus gave me that has continually been a comfort to me: “Be not afraid, only believe.” (Mark 5:36).
Oh wait, one last thing I noticed in the beginning of your email. You said that the Spirit said to you, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” and that from then on you have felt “abandoned” of God, never “feeling His presence” since that day.
God gave you His eternal Word that day. His “Eternal Word” is Truth and is beyond the realm of the five senses. We don’t “feel” God. Maybe occasionally people have certain kinds of feelings which they identify as “God,” but whether we feel anything or not, He IS Truth, and what He says to you is Truth! He knew you would not grasp it then, but He gave it to you anyway, just as He gave me that Word, the meaning of which I did not know until a quarter of a century later. I believe He gave you His Word that day, so that today you could remember it and now say, “Yes, Lord, you really have never left me nor forsaken me.”