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.

JESUS

FOLLOWING GOD’S WILL

Man killed Him, yes, but JESUS allowed it.  JESUS Himself sealed His own fate; He arranged for His own crucifixion.

Mark tells it so well: “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death; and they were not finding any” (Mark 14:55 NASB).

JESUS broke His silence when the high priest, for a second time, gave Him the opportunity to speak: “…Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the BlessedOne?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.’” (Mark 14:61-62 NASB).  “And tearing his clothes, the high priest said, ‘What further need do we have of witnesses?  ‘You have heard the blasphemy…And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death” (Mark 14:63-64 NASB).

FATHER, Your Son’s obedience to Your request inspires me.  Will You ever ask me to condemn myself to death?  Probably not, but everyday You give situations where I have opportunity to condemn my self-will to death and to preform Your will.

A few verses back You conveyed to Mark the procedure You took Your SON through to make Him strong enough to follow Your will.  It is the procedure I desire You take me through every day.  It’s asking to get out of doing Your will, then submitting to it, then allowing You to strengthen me enough to walk through it.

“…He knelt down and beganto pray, saying, ‘Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.’  Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him” (Luke 22:42-43 NASB).

As the SON of Man, JESUS could not follow Your commands without Your help.  I cannot either.  James Burton Coffman in his commentary gives an example of before and after Your strengthening.

“In John, the Lord’s majestic appearance prostrated a whole company of soldiers on their faces [John 18:6]; in the synoptics, [Gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke] he appears in utter weakness, agony, and even fear. This verse harmonizes both pictures of our Lord, the synoptics giving his state BEFORE the strengthening of the angel, and John giving it AFTER the angel’s mission was completed” (James Burton Coffman Commentaries, Luke 22:43, brackets mine).

FATHER, provide the strength I need when I commit myself to Your will.