Romans 2:25-29: Circumcision and the New Birth
In some recent studies in America some shocking statistics revealed the shocking behaviour of so called ‘born again’ Christians. These studies showed that born again Christians were as likely to divorce as non-Christians; that only 9% tithe to the church; that of the 12 000 teenagers who had pledged to wait for marriage before engaging in sexual intercourse, 80% had broken their vow in the next 7 years; 26% of these so called Christians said that premarital sex was not wrong; and it was the white Christians who were more likely to object to having black neighbours than Catholics. The reason why these stats are so shocking is because of the definition of ‘born again’ or ‘evangelical’ or ‘Christian’ that is being used. The definition of ‘born again’ used in these surveys was based on those who had made a commitment to Jesus at some time in their lives. In other words, they said they were Christians. These surveys were based on what people said, and not on whether they were regenerated by the power of the Spirit or not. Unfortunately these stats do not reveal how bad Christians are, but rather how many false confessors there are in the church bringing down the name of Christ. John Piper in reflecting on these stats is right is distinguishing that the Bible’s definition of a Christian and the Barna groups definition of a Christian are 2 different things. A true believer is someone who has experienced the renovating power of the Spirit in their lives. And now because of this new heart that has been given to them by the Spirit, they have new desires and impulses. They love the church, to be with God’s people; sit and hear God’s word; and sing God’s praises. They love holiness, and feel guilty when they sin, confess their sins, root out bad habits, and work hard at quitting addictions as the Spirit helps them to overcome. They love the truth, and endeavour to learn it, spot error, and meditate on spiritual things. And they delight in God! Unfortunately there are many people who are sitting in churches around the world, in all denominations who have never experienced this inner change. They go out into the week and live as hypocrites and bring down the name of Christ.