Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Knowing the Lord

1 Samuel 2:12 NKJV — Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the LORD.
1 Samuel 3:6-7 NKJV — Then the LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” (Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor was the word of the LORD yet revealed to him.)
Romans 10:17 NKJV — So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Musts in Scripture
The Bible says clearly that we must be born again (John 3:7). It also says that we must be saved (Acts 4:12). What is the difference? There is none. Both concepts involve a deliverance. A new birth delivers us for a new life with Christ. Salvation delivers us from the penalty that we deserve because of our sin. Now the question is, how are we saved or born again? John 1:12-13 explains the new birth. These verses say, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” I understand that we MUST receive the Lord by faith, that is by believing in His name or authority. I believe we KNOW the Lord when we are saved and not before.

Properly Interpreting Scripture
In order to properly understand the Bible, I like to look for principles in the Gospels, examples in the Acts of the Apostles, teaching in the epistles, and for illustrations in the Old Testament. Can we do that with the New Birth? Yes, we can. We have already seen the principle in the Gospels from John 1 and John 3. We see examples in the Acts of the apostles in Acts 8 (the Ethiopian eunuch), Acts 9 (Paul), and Acts 10 (the Roman Centurion). We should probably also mention the Philippian Jailer in Acts 16. We see teaching in the epistles in numerous places but Ephesians 2:8-10 is a one of the best known passages. That passage says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” There are numerous Old Testament illustrations, but Samuel is one of the best illustrations. Eli’s sons were not saved in the New Testament sense (they knew not the Lord). Samuel did not KNOW the Lord until the Lord spoke to him one night.

Importance of the Word of God
The Bible says that the word of God produces faith and once the Word of God is heard and believed, there is a desire to hear and understand more of the word of the Lord. That is why the word KNOW is used. Intimacy, friendship, and fellowship is the result of hearing the word of the Lord and believing what we have heard. Salvation saves us from damnation, the new birth saves us so that we can have an intimate relationship with the Lord. What a blessing!

The Warning
We use a lot of different words to describe those who are Christians today. But asking them whether they have been “saved” or whether they have been “born again” seems to have gone out of style. I think we need to get back to preaching the new birth and salvation like it is preached in the Bible. The Lord used those words for a reason. I am going to keep using them out of love for those who may think they are saved without understanding them. And the reason, I am going to continue using those words is because of the warning in Luke 13:24-27:

Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, “Lord, Lord, open for us,” and He will answer and say to you, “I do not know you, where you are from.” Then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.” But He will say, “I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.”

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of May 2, 2021

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