TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

A TRUE CHRISTIAN – A FAUX CHRISTIAN

I realize that the title is misleading because there is no such thing as a “faux Christian.”   The definition I would put on a “faux Christian” is a person who thinks he is a Christian but is not.

A carnal, natural, fleshly person’s actions are very much like a babe, carnal-like Christian.  They are so much alike that no one can tell the difference since we can’t evaluate the heart.  Even the person himself sometimes cannot tell.

“Empty professors [faux Christians] are fatally deluded by a false confidence, a complacent taking for granted that they are real Christians when they have never been born again” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p130, brackets mine).

 “Beware lest there be among you a man…whose heart is turning away today from the LORD…who…blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart’…” (Deut 29:18-19 ESV).

“It is true that many a carnal man is ravished to think that God loves him, and will save him; but in this case, it is not the true character of God which charms the heart; it is not God that is loved….self-love is the source of all his affections” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p67).

“How should divine justice spare the sinner, who knows the right, approves it, and professes to follow it, and all the while loves evil and gives it dominion in his heart” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 14th AM).

The true Christian, possesses a new heart given him by GOD.  He is regenerated; he has now a different motivational direction than his old natural ways.  Yet he may remain a “babe” in CHRIST and not outwardly display any changed actions.  He may appear like a carnal, fleshly person.

With both a true Christian and a faux Christian looking so much alike it behooves us all to search ourselves and see if there is any wickedness in us.

TRUE CHRISTIANS OR FAUX?

DEFINING TERMS

In 1 Corinthians Paul addresses the saints in Corinth – “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…” (1 Cor 1:2 ESV).  He speaks to the entire church but later he calls some ‘babes” and some “spiritual” saints.

“…in the church of Christ there are two classes of Christians: (1) Those who have lived many years as believers and yet always remain babes; (2) Those who are spiritual men because they have given themselves up to the power and the leading of the Holy Spirit…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p8).

“The SPIRITUAL were those who, after conversion, had continued to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, no longer continuing as ‘babes in Christ.’”  James Burton Coffman (ref#298).  Babes “were in Christ, and so were new creatures…though babes and weaklings in it” John Gill (ref#300).  Babes were carnal “…those who were continuing to live like the unconverted…” James Burton Coffman (ref#298).

“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.…For while there is jealously and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way” (1 Cor 3:1,3 ESV)?

Backsliders: “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you:…” (Jer 3:14 KJV).  “…we do not speak of the destruction of the root principle in your soul, but of the decline of its power…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 22nd).

The terms “backslider,” “people of the flesh,” “carnal,” “babes” can depict a Christian (a not-advancing Christian) or a non-Christian since no one but GOD knows the condition of the heart, but in 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul uses these terms to address Christians.

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

A TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX? – YOU DECIDE

A series of posts from 8/30/2021 to 12/31/2021.

PREREQUISITE ON THE SUBJECT

I have a special tenderness toward people who do not oppose Christianity outright, yet are not experiencing the joy that true Christians have.  I carry an obligation to present the Gospel Truth in a forthright, organized way that readers may make an informed choice to move ahead in Christianity or regress into denying it altogether.

“There are many matters concerning which total ignorance and complete indifference are neither tragic nor fatal….few…can explain all the processes by which a brown cow eats green grass and gives white milk…some matters, however, concerning which ignorance and indifference are both tragic and fatal…..One must not make the assumption lightly that he or she is a true Christian.  A false conclusion at this point is tragic and fatal” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p3).

These blog posts are to urge all of us to continue our pursuit of CHRIST’s fellowship.  To stop or to go backwards is to our peril.

The thief on the cross had only to believe to gain eternal life.  But we who live on this earth day after day need to add effort to make our eternal life sure (Phil 3:12,13).

“…’Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man….The one who conquers will have this heritage…But as for the cowardly, the faithless…their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire…” (Rev 21:3,7-8 ESV).

In all seven churches JESUS speaks to in the book of Revelation, He ends by saying, “to the one who conquers” (Rev 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21).  Blessings go to the one who conquers.  Being a Christian is work.

It is human nature to arrive at a place of comfort and attempt to maintain it.  We do this with our Christian faith.  It is a kind of treading water.  But we cannot keep ourselves afloat forever by treading water.  Eventually we sink or have to swim.  It is “tragic and fatal” if we convince ourselves that we are okay with GOD and fail to swim ahead with Him.

ABIDE IN CHRIST

THE JOY OF ABIDING IN CHRIST

I eat my breakfast in front of a large picture of JESUS feeding the 5000.  His face displays peace and joy.  It reminds me how much He enjoys the children His FATHER gives Him.  There is joy, not only for me in abiding, but for Him, too.  I am mindful again that He needs me to share His joy with more than needing me to do His work.

“These things I have spoken unto you that my joy may abide in you and that your joy might be fulfilled” (John 15:11 Jubilee Bible 2000). “Abiding fully in Christ is a life of exquisite and overflowing happiness.  As Christ gets more complete possession of the soul, it enters into the joy of its Lord” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p159).

 “…your experience of joy must be emanating from God’s experience of joy….if the God who dwells in you is pleased and full of joy, you will be too….’The joy of the LORD is your strength’ (Neh 8:10).  It does not say, ‘Your joy about the LORD is your strength.’  It’s God’s joy in you that makes you strong” Doug Newton (ref#327, p94-95).

“Whether we look backward and see the work He has done, or upward and see the reward He has in the Father’s love…or forward in the continual accessions of joy as sinners are brought home, His joy is ours” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p161).

“We all know the value of joy.  It alone is the proof that what we have really satisfies the heart.  As long as duty, or self-interest, or other motives influence me, men cannot know what the object of my pursuit or possession is really worth to me. But when it gives me joy, and they see my delight in it, they know that to me at least it is a treasure.  Hence there is nothing so attractive as joy…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p159).

For me, this joy is one “…that is never to cease or to be interrupted for a moment” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p161).  Of course, I have worldly good and bad times but spiritually I have a constant joy because nothing can keep me from GOD.

“…the joy of God overcomes all the trials of life….With a heart full of joy no work can weary, and no burden can depress; God Himself is strength and song” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p160).

The summation of “Abiding in CHRIST” blogs is “joyfully sing” (Zeph 3:17).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST’S LOVE

“God gives himself to me, not according to my power to hold Him, but according to His almighty power of love to hold me” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p62).

“When we were united by faith to Christ, we were brought into such complete fellowship with Him that we were made one with Him.  His interests and ours became mutual and identical….What He loves, we love….We have fellowship with Him in His desires….We have fellowship with Christ in His sufferings.  We are not nailed to the cross, nor do we die a cruel death; but when He is reproached, we are reproached.  It is a very sweet thing to be blamed for His sake…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 23rd AM).

“If this love is so divine…then surely I can depend on it to keep me and to hold me fast.  Then surely all my unworthiness and feebleness can be no hindrance.  If this love be…with infinite power…I surely have a right to trust that it is stronger than my weakness; and that with its almighty arm it will clasp me to its bosom, and suffer me to go out no more” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p146).

FATHER, in Your great kindness, You have ordered faith for me—“faith by which utter sinfulness casts itself into the arms of love to be saved, and utter weakness to be kept and made strong.  O Infinite Love!…Love with which the Son loves us!  I can trust thee, I do trust thee.  O keep me abiding in Thyself” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p145-146).

“I have a God to see that each day I become more firmly united to Christ” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p86).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST THE GLORIFIED ONE

“…when Jesus was on earth, temptation could still reach Him:  in glory, everything is holy, and in perfect harmony with the will of God.  And so the believer who abides in Him experiences that in this high fellowship his spirit is sanctified into growing harmony with the Father’s will” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p200).

“The very secret of Christ’s life was this: He had such a consciousness of God’s presence that whether it was Judas, who came to betray Him, or Caiaphas, who condemned Him unjustly, or Pilate, who gave Him up to be crucified, the presence of the Father was upon Him…man would not touch His spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p47-48).

“When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic.  The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 7th).

“He that abides in Christ the Crucified One, learns to know what it is to be crucified with Him, and in Him to be indeed dead unto sin.  He that abides in Christ the Risen and Glorified One, becomes in the same way partaker of His resurrection life, and of the glory with which He has now been crowned in heaven” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p199).

“[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]” (Phil 3:10-11 AMPC).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST AND NOT IN SELF_2

“…you do not doubt your salvation; you know that Christ is yours, but you are not feasting with Him.  You understand that you are of vital concern to Him, so that you have no shadow of a doubt of your being His and His being yours, but still His left hand is not under your head, and His right does not embrace you” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, June 19th PM).

“…it is too sadly a fault with all of us, that we permit Him to be as a wayfaring man tarrying but for a night.  He whom we should make the abiding tenant of our memories is but a visitor therein….It is the incessant turmoil of the world and the constant attraction of earthly things that take away the soul from Christ” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 26th AM).

It is possible that many of us must walk forward a while in the sanctified life of CHRIST before we can grasp greater things.  Dealing with CHRIST’s forgiving our sins comes first.  Once we settle ourselves into having no guilt in sinning we are free to long to abide in CHRIST.

“You bear about with you a nature altogether corrupt and vile, ever seeking to rise up…” (ref#266, p59). “Self is still strong and living, but it has no power over you….His life will take the place of the old life…The power of His holy presence will cast out the old life…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p188,189).

“To seek life, not in itself, but in God is the highest honour of the creature….Jesus Christ becomes your second self…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p185, 188).

FATHER, the words of Charles Spurgeon paint a picture that animates my heart:

“His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me” (Song 8:3 ESV)!  Just thinking of CHRIST holding me makes directing myself not an option.  I am tired of the anxiety and fear and the no peace and rest I experience with doing things my way.  Oh FATHER, prepare me to feast every day with CHRIST!  I am ready for a more intense relationship.

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST AND NOT IN SELF

“They that are convinced of their own sin and misery do commonly first think to tame the flesh…to make their corrupt nature to be better-natured and inclined to holiness by their struggling and wrestling with it…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p191).

“…they endeavor to reform their old state, and to be made perfect in the flesh, instead of putting it off and walking according to the new state in Christ….they trust to Christ to help them in this carnal way; whereas true faith would teach them that they are nothing, and that they do not labour in vain” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p191).

The Apostle Paul accuses the Galatian church of this very thing: “O foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?…Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh” (Gal 3:1,3 ESV)?

FATHER, for many years now You have impressed upon me that “The world will never believe in a religion in which there is no supernatural power” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p89).

“The answer is in the demonstration of a supernatural religion, and the only way to a supernatural religion is in the abiding presence of the Spirit of God” Samuel Chadwick (ref#161, p190).

You have thoroughly convinced me that my own efforts to be righteous does not stand out in supernatural righteousness at all.  My efforts leave me only prideful, with short-lived joy.  No wonder You call my acts filthy rags (Isa 64:6).  “…self must fail…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p58).

“The…greatest enemy in the abiding life, is SELF….it refuses to give up its will…by its working, it hinders God’s work.  Unless this life of self, with its willing and working, be displaced by the life of Christ, with His willing and working, to abide in Him will be impossible….Are you ready…to give up self entirely to its death of the cross, to be kept there until it be wholly destroyed?…Am I prepared to say that the old self shall no longer have a word to say; that it shall not be allowed to have a single thought, however natural—not a single feeling, however gratifying—not a single wish or work, however right” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p187)?

FATHER, I desire to “live in Your acts of kindness and enjoy Your smiles” Barnes Notes (ref#16, [Ps 89:15]).