Distracted and Departed From True Faith

Not too long ago, Randy Poole, the founder of Mississippi Mending the Broken, wrote an interesting article entitled Why Are There So Many Fake Christians

As he points out, “A Christian can be defined as a person who has, by faith, received and fully trusted in Jesus Christ as the only Savior from sin. And in the heart of the Christian resides the Spirit of Christ.” Well, Paul taught us, ‘if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.’ and this person, then, is not a Christian.” What the Scriptures make clear is that you are a Christian or you are not a Christian; or as Matthew explained, you are either with Yahweh or against Yahweh. There is no middle road, your either are, or you are not and the way people behave, does speak volumes as to whom they are truly serving!

The Bible is very clear that those that do not have Jesus in their heart can not even see the things of God. Again, as Paul explained in his second letter (actually, it was his third, letter) to the church in Corinth (II Corinthians 4:4), “The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. As a result, they don’t see the light of the Good News about Christ’s glory. It is Christ who is God’s image.”

This spiritual blindness of those who hate Christ doesn’t stem from a refusal to hear the Spirit’s voice, but from the blindness that Satan causes. He has so blinded the minds of the unbelievers that they can’t see the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But, Yahweh will move heaven and earth for someone who is genuinely seeking to know Him. However, if they continue to suppress the knowledge of Yahweh, He will finally give them over to the lusts of their flesh and Satan will keep them in darkness.

Some believe that they can merely quote a prayer or respond to an “altar call,” and suddenly they are a Christian. Others believe that their religious traditions, such as being baptized as an infant, guarantees them a spot in heaven, or that all of their “good works” would put them in good standing with “the Guy Upstairs.” And, of course, some believe that their church attendance guarantees salvation.

What I am saying is that many profess to be Christians but have never entered into the Kingdom of Christ! They mistakenly remain convinced that everything is well with their soul. The saddest part of this is that many live their entire lives believing they were Christians only to one day hear Jesus say:

“It is not everyone who keeps saying to me ‘Lord, Lord’ who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the man who actually does [ooh, Jesus must have a ‘works’ mentality!] my Heavenly Father’s will.

“In ‘that day’ many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we preach in your name, didn’t we cast out devils in your name, and do many great things in your name?’ Then I shall tell them plainly, ‘I have never known you. Go away from me, you have worked on the side of evil!’”

That is a rather sobering reality, don’t you think? I meet some of the most arrogant “believers” who want to “poo-poo” those verses, but the clear teaching of Scriptures is that for someone to be saved, his life will change as he is a “new creation, the old has gone, and the new has come.” When a person is truly, born-again, they will expend whatever energy they can find to bring glory and honor to their Lord by living a life that pleases Him.

[B]race up your minds, and, as men who know what they are doing, rest the full weight of your hopes on the grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ reveals himself. Live as obedient children before God. Don’t let your character be moulded by the desires of your ignorant days, but be holy in every department of your lives, for the one who has called you is himself holy. The scripture says: ‘Be holy, for I am holy’ . . .

Since Christ had to suffer physically for you, you must fortify yourselves with the same inner attitude that he must have had. You must realize that to be dead to sin inevitably means pain, and you should not therefore, spend the rest of your time here on earth indulging your physical nature, but in doing the will of God.

Our past life may have been good enough for pagan purposes, though it meant sensuality, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousals and worshipping forbidden gods. Indeed your former companions may think it very queer that you will no longer join with them in their riotous excesses, and accordingly say all sorts of unpleasant things about you. Don’t worry: they are the ones who will have to explain their behaviour before the one who is prepared to judge all men, whether living or dead. (For that is why the dead also had the Gospel preached to them—that it might judge the lives they lived as men and give them also the opportunity to share the eternal life of God in the spirit) (1 Peter 1:15–16; 4:1–6)

What I am trying to say is that true saving faith will produce works or “fruit” in the life of the believer. If you don’t have any works of love in your life, then a careful self-examination should be done. And, the sooner, the better. Paul told those in Corinth to do this very thing:

“You should be looking at yourselves to make sure that you are really Christ’s. It is yourselves, that you should be testing, not me [or others].

You ought to know by this time that Christ is in you unless you are not real Christians at all. And when you have applied your test, I am confident that you will soon find that I myself am a genuine Christian. I pray God that you may find the right answer to your test, not because I have any need of your approval, but because I earnestly want you to find the right answer, even if that should make me no real Christian. For, after all, we can make no progress against the truth; we can only work for the truth” (II Corinthians 13:5-8)

You betcha! If you are going to make any profession of faith that does not result in a changed life, it is a false confession, and you are not a Christian. I don’t mean to upset you, but you need to hear the truth.

Now, I (hopefully, we) realize that even though the lifestyle of a true Christian is supposed to reflect the presence of Christ in their heart. However, we know that none of us is perfect, at least not yet. Christians do sin, and John made it clear that we deceive ourselves if we think otherwise (just read I John 1:8). And when Christians do sin, you can rest assured that there are multitudes just lying in wait to use that “slip-up” to denigrate the true body of believers further. That is why Paul admonished the church to “Steer clear of evil in any form,” even the “appearance” of evil. I remember when we were Pastoring college students at WMU, we had to remind them of this continually. When a couple confessed their struggles with sexual pressures, for instance, we told them to keep their dorm room open. Sounds simple, but it kept them pure. Always remember that we are to live our lives to “win the respect of those outside the church” (I Thessalonians 4:12).

What Christians are not to do is engage in repeated or habitual sin (I John 3:6). When we gossip, lie, cheat, steal, fornicate and commit adultery, use abusive language, etc., etc., all of these things become habitual sins for us and anyone who engages in deliberate and habitual sin is only proving that he does not know Christ. I am sorry if that offends you, but you need to know. These kinds of things cannot be living in the life and heart of a true disciple of Christ. Even when you are living your life under the vast umbrella of religion and is thought, therefore, by many to be a Christian, you need to be examining yourself.

As your faith matures, you will exhibit more and more evidence of your true Christian nature. As your love for your Father grows, repentance from sin, separation from the world, spiritual growth, and obedient living will also mature. As Paul told the Romans, the genuine child of God has been freed from sin and has become God’s slaves. This results in a holy life and, finally, in everlasting life (Romans 6:22). It is no different from diving into a pool: you will become wet!

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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