TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

DOUBLE MINDED CHRISTIANS

“It is not enough to yield assent to the divine word unless that is accompanied with true and pure affection, so that our hearts are not double or divided” John Calvin (ref#164, March 2nd).

Double minded Christians are “babes.”  They have the right actions but are only actors.  They are yet fleshly but preform spiritually.  They are “…people of the flesh…infants in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1 ESV).

“…you can’t have it both ways, banqueting with the Master one day and slumming with demons the next.  Besides, the Master won’t put up with it.  He wants us—all or nothing.  Do you think you can get off with anything less” (1 Cor 10:19-22 MSG).

“…they flattered him [the Most High God] with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues.  Their heart was not steadfast toward him…” (Ps 78:36-37 ESV).  “…they were carnal, and not qualified to understand the deep mysteries of the gospel…” Albert Barnes (ref#299).

“Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.  He remembered that they were but flesh…” (Ps 78:38-39 ESV).

“…when we come to Jesus, a marvelous exchange takes place….He first lifts our burden and then lays his upon us instead.  But too many people, influenced by the ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ mentality of postmodernism, want the rest without the yoke; they want to lose their burden but not to gain Christ’s.  Yet the two invitations of Jesus [Matt 11:29-30] belong together; we have no liberty to pick and choose between them” John Stott (ref#258, p128, brackets mine).

“It is possible for us to do the right action from a wrong motive…Holiness has to do with more than mere acts.  Our motives must be holy, that is, arising from a desire to do something simply because it is the will of God” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p43).

“’Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit….For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:33-34 ESV).

TRUE CHRISTIANS OR FAUX?

SATISFIED CHRISTIANS

Satisfied Christians are “static Christians.”  “…there is a carnal root ruling…they are living more after the flesh than after the Spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p16).

FATHER, being satisfied is such a dangerous position.  Instead of being spiritually united to CHRIST some are outwardly attached to Him, possibly only by a one-time profession of His name and a halfhearted attempt to adhere to His cause (ref#241, p120).  I pray for anyone who sees himself in the following words:

“We’re satisfied with a little bit of biblical literacy.  We’re satisfied with occasional moments of ministry.  We’re satisfied with manageable debt that allows us to put a few coins in the plate.  We’re satisfied that we’ve been married for a while and it doesn’t look as if we’ll break up soon.  We’re satisfied with a bit of a grasp on the theology of Scripture.  We’re satisfied with faithful attendance at the weekend services of our churches.  We’re satisfied with quick morning devotions. We’re satisfied with a little ministry experience.  We’re satisfied that we don’t act out most of our lust and we don’t communicate most of our envy.  We’re satisfied that in our disappointment with God, we don’t walk away.   We’re satisfied that we can harness a good bit of our fear of man.  We’re satisfied to use most of our material resources to make and keep ourselves comfortable.  We’re satisfied to be mere consumers of the work of the church rather than committed participants in it.  We’re satisfied with hearts that occasionally wander and with thoughts that contradict what the Bible says is good and true.  We’re satisfied with the amount of conflict we have in our lives.  We’re satisfied” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 25th).

FATHER, we are creatures that long to be satisfied.  I think of the tract I have that reads on the front: “How to go to hell.”  On the inside it is blank.  If it were up to us we would tread the Christian waters until our strength failed and we would sink into hell.  But, praise be to You, FATHER for You make a way for us to swim and not drown.

“…we serve a dissatisfied Redeemer.  He knows we still need the transforming work of his powerful grace.  Isn’t it wonderful that, in gracious dissatisfaction, he will not relent until every microbe of sin is removed from every cell of every one of the hearts of his children” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 25th)?

TRUE CHRISTIANS OR FAUX?

TWO CATEGORIES OF BABES IN CHRIST

Just as there are two categories of Christians, there are two categories of “babes in Christ:”

  • static Christians—carnal-like
  • duped Christians—misinformed and ignorant

The static group of Christians can easily not be Christians at all but apostates since their actions do not reflect CHRIST’s interests.  Yet, no one knows the condition of the heart.  “…Christian worker, or worldly man, the carnal root is bearing its terrible fruit, and the spiritual food has failed to enter his heart” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p15).

The second category of “babes in Christ” can be broken down into the following:

  • People who work out their own salvation by their human efforts. The Apostle Paul addresses such people: “…Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh” (Gal 3:2-3 ESV).
  • People who work out their own salvation with great zeal but not with knowledge. “…they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom 10:2 ESV).
  • People who work out their own salvation with right actions but wrong heart. “Hear this…who are called by my name…who swear by the name of the LORD and confess…but not in truth or right” (Isa 48:1 ESV). “…man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7 ESV).
  • People who work out their own salvation with solid theology but no action. “…if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror….and at once forgets what he was like” (James 1:23-24 ESV).

TRUE CHRISTIANS OR FAUX?

THE SPIRIT VISITS BUT DOES NOT DWELL

“The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it” (Matt 13:20-21 MSG).

“‘The Spirit visits many who are unregenerate, with His motions, which they resist and quench; but in all that are sanctified He dwells: there He resides and rules.…if we have Christ for our Redeemer, then we have the Holy Spirit for our Indweller.  But if have not the Spirit, we are not Christ’s.  We may be members of His visible ‘Church,’ we may be externally united to Him by association with His people, but unless we are partakers of that vital union which arises from the indwelling of the Spirit, we are His only by name” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p97).

“Many…presume that their faith is a lively and saving faith, because, as they think, they have repented, and are become new creatures.  And all because they had such an enlightening that they could not naturally attain; the Word has affected them, and somewhat altered them from what they were….They find that they do not commit many of those sins which they used to be committing; and that they do many good duties towards God and man, which they used not to do” Henry Scudder (ref#225, Oct 11th).

“But what of all this?  These men, as far as they go, yet going no further, are far from salvation.  The common gifts of God’s Spirit, given unto men in the ministry of the Gospel, may elevate a man higher, and carry him further towards heaven…yet if the saving grace of the same Spirit is not added, he will fall far short of heaven….” Henry Scudder (ref#225, Oct 11th).

“Solemn is it to realize that there are now in Hell multitudes of men and women who on earth were visited with deep conviction of sin, whose awakened conscience made them conscious of their rebellion against their Maker…How solemn to realize that many of those who experienced such convictions were aroused to flee from the wrath to come, and became very zealous and diligent in seeking to escape the torments of Hell, and who under the instinct of self-preservation took up with ‘religion’ as offering the desired means of escape.  And how unspeakably solemn to realize that many of those poor souls fell victim to men who spoke ‘smooth things,’ assuring them that they were the objects of God’s love, and that nothing more was needed than to ‘receive Christ as your personal Savior.’  How unspeakably solemn, we say, that such souls look to Christ merely as a fire-escape, who never—from a supernatural work of the Spirit in their hearts—surrendered to Christ as Lord” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p72-73).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

PROFESSING BELIEVERS

This title, too, is misleading for these are carnal men who, themselves, profess to be believers, but they are not genuine believers.

“A dangerous yet real possibility is that apparent followers of Jesus may not be true disciples at all but only professing believers (e.g. Judas Iscariot)” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1859, [Matt 18:14]).

“There are multitudes of unregenerate religionists [professing believers] who are taught, numbers of them well taught, in the letter of the Scriptures.  They are thoroughly versed in the historical facts and doctrines of Christianity; but their instruction came only from human media—parents, Sunday School teachers, or through reading religious books.  Their intellectual knowledge of spiritual things is considerable, sound, and clear; yet it is unaccompanied by any heavenly unction, saving power, or transforming effects….many of them are total strangers to a miracle of grace being wrought in the heart.  How it behooves each of us to test ourselves rigidly at this point” A.W. Pink (ref#269 p103, brackets mine)!

Jonathan Edwards lends sobering words in his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.”  “Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation and flatters himself…that his schemes will not fail” Jonathan Edwards (ref#139, point 9 in second set of beginning points).  “…whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes,…God is under no matter of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction” Jonathan Edwards (ref#139, point 10 in second set of points).

“It is not that he [the sinner] is averse from being saved from Hell—for none desire to go there—but that he is unwilling to “forsake” (Prov 28:13; Isa 55:7) his idols—the things which hold the first place in his affections and interests….the things of time and sense…” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p88-89, brackets mine).

“Man may change from error to truth, yet only in the head, not in the heart…morality is but nature at best….Sudden passion, or stirring of the affections.  Many desire heaven, but will not come up to the price.  King Herod heard John gladly; his affections were moved, but his sin was not removed” Thomas Watson (ref#48, “The Conuterfeits of the New Creature”).

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.

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).