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Re: Institutionalized?

"You believe that there is one God, you do well; even the demons
believe and tremble." (Jas2:19)

Not long ago a [former] subscriber e-mailed to complain about a
particular false doctrinal issue that had been further exposed in
'passing' in a VW mailing. Apparently the comments 'threatened' his own
sense of 'faith' because in the same paragraph he included...

"I also consider myself a Christian. I believe in Jesus, That He died
for us, That He Rose, and the He sits on the right hand of GOD the
Father, And that He will judge the quick and the dead."

And so, I responded...

Satan also believes these things, and trembles. (Jas2:19)

Not to be "snide" ...but... what makes your 'faith' different from
Satan's? This is a most serious question. Merely believing in the
'existence' of these things (you listed) does not get you to heaven.
 ...does not make you a "Christian" (Acts11:26)

There are many who proclaim the "Gospel" ..."that Christ died for our 
sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He 
rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures..." (1Cor15:3-4) 
They even -believe- that these things are true. [Satan -knows- these 
things]  But they are not "saved". Why?

They have never appropriated these things for themselves. One can go to
university and seminary, acquire various scholarly letters behind one's
name; learn all about Calvin, Barth, Luther, church history, be expert
in the Hebrew and Greek... but as Jesus said, unless they -REPENT- they
will perish. (Lk13:3,5)  And having repented, to "receive" Jesus as
'personal' Savior (Jn1:12) to receive the 'new birth'(Jn3:3) in the
Holy Spirit (Jn3:8,Rom8:9) and thus becoming "in Christ" (2Cor5:17). It 
is not enough to know that Jesus is "the Good Shepherd" (Jn10:11), but 
He must be "-MY- shepherd". (Ps23:1)

The terminology that lumps everybody together ecumenically is to 
catagorize "people of faith." And they 'go-to-church' where they recite 
creeds. Apostles' creed, Nicean creed, etc. They drone on, bored, "I 
believe in the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth...." And they 
follow the "great men of God", many of whom were/are not even born 
again. Going down the "broad way" that leads "to destruction" (Mt7:13) 
as they are part of "-a- church". As they go "-to- church". But they 
are not part of "-THE- Church of Jesus Christ". Of His "body"(Eph1:22-23)

Somebody wrote to VW recently, having recently come out of (as they 
termed it) one of the "non-denominational denominations". In browsing 
the person's website I saw a person who truly understood the difference 
between being a "person -of- faith" (generically, institutionally) and
being "in the faith of Jesus Christ" (personally).

Dear Reader...

Many of you are -merely- 'institutional christians'. You've become
institutionalized into the 'comfort' of the care-givers who make you
'feel' good for being part of their ... uh ... "institution". You go in
for your regular 'appointments' to receive your placebo prescriptions.

You need to "come out of her My people" (Rev18:4) and not be "partakers
of her sins". Many of you are so "dependent upon" the institution that
you feel you just can't survive without it. But just as some family
members have taken drastic measures, sometimes, to rescue loved ones
out of the clutches of fraudulent doctors, so too, you must "come out
from among them and be separate...and do not touch the unclean thing."
(2Cor6:17) You need to realize that most of the institutions are NOT
"in Christ"!

Notice how Paul equates the matter. Coming out from among them is in
the same context as God's promise, "I will be their God, and they shall
be My people." (2Cor6:16)

To Whom do you wish to belong?  God? ...or the institution? Do you need
to take a good look at your heart, and see what your present 'status'
is? Paul exhorts, "examine yourselves, [as to] whether you are in the
faith, prove your own selves. Do you not know your own selves, that
Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are reprobates?" (2Cor13:5)