This is the single sentence indicating what is required to be saved, that is to find that you are accepted into that group of human beings who will have a place in heaven. It does not indicate anything more than that although you find ministers add a great deal to it.
It has two conditional elements. Nothing God does with man is without conditions except one – that all men are NOT saved just by being born into this fallen world. That is the condition in which we find ourselves. People who do not like this condition must be born some place else, a situation we have not as yet identified.
Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and <if> in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For the observer in this situation there is a separate condition which helps you recognize the validity of the salvation, because, after all, people can say anything easily, even glibly, and not be sincere. For that we have this verse:
1 John 4:2 This is how you know if a spirit comes from God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come as a human is from God.
A person should be able to say this: “I believe that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh.” I have tested this verse and it works. The person I asked to repeat this was not able to repeat it no matter how hard she tried. No matter, in fact, how hard I tried to get her to say it. She could not, indicating to me that she was not saved.
We have no right to tell people they are saved if they are not.
And we also have no right to tell people they are born again when they are not. For this to happen something quite different must occur.
John 3:3 There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.
3 Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.”
4 Nicodemus asked, “How is it possible for an adult to be born? It’s impossible to enter the mother’s womb for a second time and be born, isn’t it?”
5 Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. 6 Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ 8 God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The Kingdom is visualized in the spiritual eye
The result of bring born again is the ability to “see the kingdom.” Clearly this means to see with a spiritual eye. There is no external physical evidence of the kingdom of God. We must believe this by faith. And as we develop our spiritual senses, we come into more and more kingdom knowledge. Many people never see the kingdom. Of course they will after they die because the heavenly kingdom is indeed where Jesus is King.
But the Kingdom we talk about here on earth is internal. This passage describes heaven, but it also describes a place on this earth where people live in a risen state, because they have found that God is the same here as he is there, and they walk in newness of life. Galatians 3:
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.“
I know many black people who are simply not aware of being black. They are just children of God. They are at home in their own skin. They see themselves as spiritual beings doing God’s work and living out the plans God gave them. That is what it means to be a Kingdom person.
Non-kingdom people do not recognize Kingdom people. Non-kingdom people have qualifications – they look at a person as female, or of a different culture, or uneducated, or gifted, comparing themselves to others. Here is an example of what happens when a Kingdom woman and a Saved man have a confrontation.
Beth Meyer was scolded by John MacArthur who said she should not teach. John is a church person. Church members live under the rules of the natural world with employees, buildings, mortgages, leadership committees, and sometimes stratified liturgies. Those who work together in the natural world require rules.
Kingdom people do not. Kingdom people may have communion on Tuesday night in an Italian restaurant and it makes no difference. Kingdom people are not locked into the natural trappings of religion.
John MacArthur is part of the Church, that group of leaders who take the saved human beings which God supplies to them to teach and guide them into better living patterns. Kingdom people get their orders from the Holy Spirit not other humans.
You can easily see how this confusion can lead to misunderstandings. A woman may marry a man who says he is a born again Christian but after a few years he starts running around with other women. She tearfully wants to know what happened.
“He said he was a Christian,” she moans, and indeed he was saved, just not born again, because the born again person is faithful to the moral law. And that is only one test of many.
How does this mix-up happen? The main reason is that we are all sloppy thinkers. The Bible is well-written and God had 4,000 years to clear up any typos or other problems in it. But we slide over verses, adding information and assumptions to them that are simply not there.
When we want to know truth we must go back to the book.