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Recognizing True and False Christians

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This may come as a shock to many professing Christians, but they may actually be lost. There are several ways that help determine if someone is a real Christian. However, many people urgently need to seriously determine if they really are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5).

There are many professing Christians who are actually lost and in need of repentance. Here are some ways to tell if you are in the faith.
Credit: Unsplash / Joshua Earle
Some assume they are Christians because of culture or because they are not members of another religion. Perhaps it's because they attend the "true" church, maybe perform the rituals, said the "sinner's prayer" and got their ticket punched, put their hands in the air and get emotional — but have no idea what salvation means and could not lead someone to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

There are some people who are Christians but act like cultists. I have been told that if I don't believe in their doctrines, I am an immature Christian, or even unsaved. Similarly, I was in a social media group for Christian apologists (which for some strange reason included atheists and cultists), and the subject of heresies came up.

Heresy is a strong and contentious word, and the majority of Christians have stood against those. (We may not know the names of things like Arianism, Sabellianism, Docetism, Modalism, and others that you can read about here, but they are condemned by most Christian denominations.) One tinhorn tried to dismiss heresies by saying that one church will call another one heretical over doctrinal disagreements. Not hardly! Disagreements over points of doctrine between, say, Presbyterians and Baptists will not have them having gunfights in the saloon and shouting, "Die, heretic!" They discuss things, shake hands and part friendly. By the way, I left that group.

Ever hear about how Drs. Michael Brown and James R. White strongly differ on some points but each affirms the other as a brother in Christ? In a similar manner, although this child is a strong biblical (young Earth) creationist, I cannot say that those who believe in an old Earth are going to Hell. They have problems with their theology, science, authority of Scripture, and soteriology, however.

There are external indications of someone who has been regenerated (2 Cor. 5:17). This does not mean other professing Christians are to appoint themselves as police officers: "Well, you did passably well on the first five items of this here checklist, but you really botched six, twelve, fifteen, and nineteen. Nineteen is a big one for me. You're not a true Christian!", then fold their arms like the native chieftain and sonorously declare, "I have spoken". That's unrighteous judgement, old son.

Unfortunately, there are those who think they've done some God-pleasing formula and are going to Heaven when they die, then proceed to live like the devil. Doesn't work that way. Those of us who are in the faith should exercise righteous judgement and, in Christian love, say to the other person, "We need to talk". If you've ever seen Ray Comfort's videos where he is street preaching and someone says, "Yeah, I'm a Christian", then takes the Lord's name in vain and admits to a sinful lifestyle, Ray will still present the gospel message to someone like that.

Don't be disunderstanding, we all sin on occasion. A real Christian will not be happy about it, confess the sin to God (1 John 1:9), and repent. Sin again? Confess and repent again — but with sincerity, not as a ritual or formula. So yes, the whole thing is something to be approached with caution; accusations and superior attitudes are not advised. Remember that we all stumble, and that not everyone progresses in sanctification at the same rate.

Before I set you loose on an article, I'd like to urge you to check out a couple of messages by Ray Comfort. They are "True and False Conversion" and "Hell's Best-Kept Secret". Free to listen online, download, or read the transcripts. You can follow the links from here.
What is a Christian? Many people today call themselves Christians. For example, an atheistic evolutionist named Anders Breivik hailed himself online as a Christian before he murdered 77 people in Norway. He viewed Europe as culturally Christian as opposed to culturally Islamic, but his view of Christianity had nothing to do with Christ or God. Leading atheist Richard Dawkins also identifies himself as a cultural Christian, and even more particularly as a cultural Anglican! 
. . . 
At what point should a Christian say, “Enough is enough,” and start judging a tree by its fruit?
Many people call themselves Christians, but their words and actions are grossly unchristian. Such contradictions stain the name Christian as people look and say, “That’s a Christian? Well then, I don’t want to be a Christian.” Obviously such behaviors reveal that these people—who claim to be Christians and yet promote open sin—deny the Bible as the authority in their lives (Titus 1:16).
You can read the rest at "Christian: What Is a True Believer?"


Comments

MichelleO said…
Excellent intro/article. Thank you CBB

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