TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

In 2018 and 2019 this blog concentrated on “assurances of salvation.”  It is such an important subject it is worth reviewing again.  A.W. Pink has written a most thorough book on the subject.  The below quotes are from his book, The Holy Spirit, (ref#269).  Let’s check ourselves again with his words:

“Our hearts are fearfully deceitful, there are many minglings of faith and unbelief…and grace in us is…feeble” (p140).  But the HOLY SPIRIT helps us to judge the reality of our faith and whether or not we are actually sincere or being wrongly convinced by our heart.

“It is by the Truth that the Spirit…bears witness…it is by revealing to us…the correspondence between the history of our soul and the testimony of the Word that He persuades us we are born again” (p139).

“…when the Spirit increases our faith, rekindles our love, strengthens us with might in the inner man, He enables us to come to a definite conclusion” (p140).  When we search ourselves and note that our inner core focus has changed we know that we are becoming a new person—made over by the SPIRIT.  Can we answer, “Yes” to the following questions?

Do I feel poor in spirit?–“…a pauper dependent upon the charity of God” (p139).

Do I mourn?—“…‘mourn’ over much which gives the worldling no concern whatever” (p139).

Am I meek?—“…so that the rebellious will is, in part, subdued, and God’s will is submitted unto” (p139).

Do I hunger and thirst after righteousness?—“…the best this perishing world has to offer…is unsatisfying…” (p 139-140).

Am I merciful toward others?—“…counteracting that selfish disposition…” (p140).

Am I pure in heart?—“…to pant after holiness and hate that which is vile…” (p140).

“By His own fruit in the soul, the Spirit makes manifest His indwelling presence” (p140).  “…the witness of the Spirit is not so much a revelation which is made to my spirit…as it is a confirmation made in or with my spirit…” (p139).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

INTRODUCTION TO SPIRIT CHECKS

“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law” (Ps 119:136 ESV).

FATHER, CHRIST doing His work through the SPIRIT has caused me to cry out like the Apostle Paul did for his fellow countrymen:  “…I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.  For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers…” (Rom 9:2-3 ESV).

The SPIRIT floods my mind with thoughts to challenge pew-sitters to search their hearts to see if they really are true Christians.  I dreadfully fear satan has lulled many to sleep with the comforting words that they have saving faith and can rest assured when in reality they have fallen short of that goal.

Reader, “…look well to your religion.  Take nothing for granted.  Think less of polishing your lamp than of having a large supply of oil, so that when the Lord sends or comes, you will not be found in darkness, not knowing where you are going.  Without converting grace in your heart, your relationship to the Church is but the union of a dead branch to a living stem” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 7th).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

DECEITFUL HEARTS

You are reading this probably because you are a reader.  You enjoy being reminded of spiritual things.  Maybe, like me, you derive great comfort making your nest of spiritual material—surrounding yourself with spiritual truths—it just feels comfortable and secure.  Snuggling in can create problems, though.  Gathering spiritual material to fluff your nest is addicting and may foster a resting place that becomes very harmful to you.  Actually always living in your nest surrounded with spiritual facts will kill you.

Nest-living means you depend on the Truth you have gathered to keep you instead of being kept by the Truth-Creator.  It’s hard, I know, to fly out of the nest and put the Truth into practice.  Nest-living—independency.  Nest-fleeing—dependency.  Big difference.

Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9).  Our hearts will tell us we are good Christians because we know much Truth.  Our hearts cause us to rationalize:  “There are others GOD has appointed to jump the nest and mingle with the maddening crowd.”  Someone has to do nest-fleeing to do Truth-informing but certainly I’m exempt for I am called to write.

Indeed, but words minus practical experience are, well, just words.  And the writer who only writes will begin to wax eloquent.  It’s inevitable; people get more flowery in their Truth-expression as they fall away from Truth-practice.

I can easily lapse into a “wordsmith” as I write day after day holed up in my nest.  Actually I have experienced becoming a wordsmith waxing eloquent.  Through journaling I have identified the subtle slipping into it.  It usually comes after a GOD-commanded, especially difficult venture off the nest.  I fly back home shell-shocked, convinced I’ve done my duty, and merit a break.  I close my ears to GOD, pick up the pen again, and end up waxing eloquent.  I follow my deceitful heart and ignore my heavenly FATHER who seeks to engage me.

Don’t do that reader; your heart is deviously deceitful; that heart of yours is watching your backside; it’s not a bit interested in being in relationship with GOD.

It’s okay to read and write truthful words but do it in the presence of GOD, ready always to fly when GOD says, “fly.”  Truthful words should not puff up and make us spiritual prigs who won’t move off the nest.  GOD will ask us to “fly”—to tell others face to face sometimes.  It’s not all about constant nest-living.

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

KNOWLEDGE BUT NO ACTION

“If saving faith were nothing more than a mere mental assent to the contents of John 3:16, then any man could make himself a true believer whenever he pleased—the supernatural enablement of the Holy Spirit would be quite unnecessary” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p82).

“…in the whole question of practicing and living the Christian life, how easy it is to be content only with thoughts and with feelings and with expressions of what we believe and feel, and to fail utterly and entirely to put it into practice.  How easy it is to fall in love with loving instead of actually loving” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p111)! “…the doing, says our Lord, is absolutely vital and essential” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p113)

“…let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18 ESV).

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal 5:25 ESV).

“The two most important things in our holy religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith.  He who rightly understand these is not far from being a master in practicing theology, for they are vital points to a Christian” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Sept 18th AM).

“If you’ve forgotten who you are in Christ, what are you left with?…Christless Christianity, which is little more than a system of theology and rules.  And…if all you needed was theology and rules, Jesus wouldn’t have had to come” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, April 12th). 

“Continue in the things revealed in the doctrine of the Gospel, and you shall have a satisfactory experience that they are true, and that they are of God.  Cease not to act in faith regarding them, and you shall enjoy their effects” John Owen (ref#225, Oct 7th).

“With the great blessing of gospel light comes great responsibility to steward that light” John Calvin (ref#164, May 1st).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

ONCE SPIRITUAL NOW FLESHY

“How foolish can you be?  After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort” (Gal 3:3 NLT)?

The reason so many think the above is they have never been told of the intimacy GOD has in His plan after regeneration.  Actually, most churches don’t teach regeneration, but simply stop at a person’s consent to the facts of a saving JESUS.  They are all about making sure the congregation knows that JESUS saves them from their sins, but then say nothing of how to become sanctified, holy and Christlike.

“The idea they have of grace is this—that their conversion and pardon are God’s work, but that now, in gratitude to God, it is their work to live as Christians, and follow Jesus.  There is always the thought of work that has to be done, and even though they pray for help, still the work is theirs” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p24).

“…These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it.  They act like they are worshiping me, but they don’t mean it.  They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy…” (Mark 7:6-8 MSG).

The heart occupied with its own plans and efforts for doing God’s will, and securing the blessing of abiding in Jesus, must fail continually.  God’s work is hindered by our interference.  He can do His work perfectly only when the soul ceases from its work” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p120-121).

“If there were more diligent and prayerful study of God’s Word, more regular and constant attendance at a stated ministry…frequent seasons of retirement, consecrated to meditation, self-examination, and secret prayer, there would be less superficial Christianity…We need more depth of knowledge, more spirituality, more experience, more of the life and power of true godliness; in a word, we need more of the anointing and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit in the Church” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 9th).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

OUTWARD PROFESSION

“…in whose righteousness do you stand at this moment?…Many have lived in an outward profession; they have put on Christ with external garb, have talked well of Him, have been baptized in His name, have given liberally for His cause…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 10th).

How perilous it is to know how to act like a Christian.  I fool others and myself.

“They never give Christ any honor on account of His glory and excellency.  They may, and often do, pay Christ an external and seeming respect, but they do not honor Christ in their hearts.  They have no exalting thoughts of Christ, no inward respect of reverence towards Him” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p50).

“Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.  But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:23-24 ESV).

“…’I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual’…” (Matt 12:6-8 MSG).

“…Compassion doesn’t originate in our bleeding hearts or moral sweat, but in God’s mercy….God has the first word, initiating the action in which we play our part…” (Rom 9:14-18 MSG).

“A biblical Christian is a person who manifests in his life that his claims to repentance and faith are real….Wherever there is true faith in Christ, genuine love to Christ will be implanted.  And where there is love to Christ there will be obedience to Christ….(John 14:21-24).  We are saved by trusting Christ, not by loving and obeying Christ; but a trust that does not produce love and obedience is not true saving faith” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p20).

“…go ahead with what you’ve been given.  You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him….do what you’ve been taught….quit studying the subject and start living it…” (Col 2:6-7 MSG).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

SHUN VAIN BABBLINGS

“Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything?  Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?…God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense” (James 2:14-17 MSG)?  “…It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts…” (James 3:13-16 MSG).

“When the Prodigal Son recognized his sin, he did not sit there and think about it, write poetry about it, or send telegrams home to dad” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p16).

“Don’t shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think.  Don’t be too quick to tell God what you think he wants to hear….” (Eccl 5:2 MSG).  “…when…words grow many, there is vanity…” (Eccl 5:7 ESV).

“…shun vain babblings, for they offer nothing but fine rhetoric and exquisite words to give credit to him that speaks and to show that he is well learned.  None of this should be received into the church; it must be banished….the desire for anything new is always powerful….we are tempted to find something novel to say, and, in the pursuit of that goal, to veer into vain babbling” John Calvin (ref#164, Nov 9th).

“…the real trouble with the person who is seated there in his study reading beautiful poems or books about love and who feels that he is controlled by it and that he is a fine Christian is this: What is really happening to that person is that he is simply in love with himself, because he appreciates these elevating thoughts” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p116).

“…Merely hearing God’s law is a waste of your time if you don’t do what he commands.  Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God” (Rom 2:13 MSG).

“Christianity is not primarily teaching; it is a recorded history.  Christianity is not urging men to think and to try to delve into the mystery and to discover the truth about God….our salvation depends not upon our understanding but upon what God has done in Christ” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, July 3rd).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

PUFFED UP CARNAL

You who sit in the pews—who keep GOD from knowing you—commit two evils.  You are more evil than the prodigal son, who committed only one evil by forsaking Me.  But you commit two evils; you forsake Me and fashion Christianity to your choosing.

“The curse of a godless man can sound more pleasant in God’s ears than the Hallelujah of the pious” Martin Luther (ref#28, p9).

“Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me…” (Jer 2:22 ESV).

“…Their lives are perpetual fashion shows…” (Matt 23:4-7 MSG).  “…they make confident assertions” (1 Tim 1:7 ESV).  “These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it.  They act like they’re worshiping me, but they don’t mean it.  They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy” (Matt 15:3-9 MSG).

“…Christians are too puffed up by a sense of what they suppose they are doing for God, to earnestly study what God has promised to do for and in His people.  They are so occupied with their fleshly efforts to ‘win souls for Christ’ that they feel not their own deep need of the Spirit’s anointing” A.W. Pink (ref#269. P6).

“…a Christian is a person who has faced realistically the problem of his own personal sin…Christianity is…a sinner’s religion” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p4).

FATHER, we all are so susceptible to being caught in doing instead of being.  The enemy urges us toward “Christian service” projects and human nature jumps at the chance to “serve.”  This is a classic example of the cart before the horse.  Putting ourselves in relationship with You must come first.

“Whatever does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the Holy Spirit, is unquestionably of the flesh” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

ENTHUSIASTIC SPECTATORS

“A man may go to hell with baptismal water upon his face” John Trapp (ref#225, Aug 21st).

“Because the story of Jesus is so impressive—God among us!  God speaking a language we can understand!  God acting in ways that heal and help and save us!—there is a danger that we will be impressed, but only be impressed.  As the spectacular dimensions of this story slowly (or suddenly) dawn upon us, we could easily become enthusiastic spectators, and then let it go at that—become admires of Jesus, generous with our oh’s and ah’s…” The MESSAGE Bible, “Introduction to Acts” (ref#262, p278).

“Do not satisfy yourself with external ceremonies, with the observance of days and frequent communions, with tithing and charities.  Is Christ dwelling in your heart by His Spirit” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Feb 3rd)?

“It is not enough to make use of ordinances, but we must see if we can find God in them.  There are many that hover about the palace, and yet do not speak with the prince; so possibly we may hover about ordinances, and not meet with God there…come to the ordinances with the desire of finding the living God” Thomas Manton (ref#225, Aug 21st).

“There can be no true following of Christ as our example if we lose sight of Him as a suffering Christ and a cross-bearing Savior.  There must be fellowship with Him in His sufferings.  In order to enter fully and sympathetically into the afflictions of His people, He stooped to a body of suffering; in like manner, in order to have sympathy with Christ in His sorrows, we must tread the path He trod in some degree.…mutual sympathy…The afflicted child of God who is led to view his Father’s discipline in the light of a privilege will be happy….They…know the honor of suffering with Christ or being made conformable to His death” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 25th).

“Look honestly and fairly at your condition.  Discouraging and repelling as it may appear, look it fully in the face, and lay it open before God exactly as it is…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 10th).

“…if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach….” (Matt 7:26-27 MSG).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

FANATICISM

“Rightly did Jonathan Edwards affirm, ‘Many have been the mischiefs that have arisen from that false and delusory notion of the witness of the Spirit, that it is a kind of inward voice, suggestion, or revelation from God to man, that he is beloved of Him, and that his sins are pardoned—sometimes accompanied with, sometimes without, a text of Scripture; and many have been the false and vain (though very high) affections that have arisen from hence.  It is to be feared that multitudes of souls have been eternally undone by it.’  Especially was this so in the past, when fanaticism made much of the Spirit witnessing to souls” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p138).

Samuel Chadwick defines this as ‘will-worship.”  “…a kind of will-worship, by which man substitutes his own enthusiasms for the will of God” (ref#195, p126).  These thoughts came from a spirit all right, but it was an unholy spirit and not the HOLY SPIRIT.

“…They tripped over what little they knew about him [JESUS] and fell, sprawling….” (Mark 6:3 MSG).

“He who is seldom with Jesus in private will only exhibit, in all that he does for Jesus publicly, the fitful movements of a mind urged on by a feverish and unnatural excitement” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 17th).

“Man-made enthusiasm and emotionalism is superficial and cheap.  In real revival emotion is not produced or manipulated by man.  It is a response to the unsought, unexpected, but powerful working of God’s Spirit upon the inner depths of people’s souls” Wesley Duewel (ref#341, p12).