[This is the concluding article of the Can I Call Myself A Christian? series]
Nowadays, counterfeit items are almost identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, the real ones. We now have fake branded clothes, fake watches, fake diplomas, fake identity documents, and the list can go on and on. However, we can still distinguish fake items from real items based on their quality and price.
In 2 Corinthians 11:15, Paul tells us to not be surprised about fake Christians. He says, “It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.” Nowadays, servants of Jesus in disguise are also almost identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, real Christians. However, we can still distinguish fake Christians from true Christians just by looking at their fruits (Matthew 7:16-20, John 15:5-8, Galatians 5:22-23).
In Matthew 7:15, fake Christians are said to come “in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Hence, the warning of Jesus in verse 21: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
God repeatedly warns every professing believer of Jesus to be very careful in making sure that their professed faith is authentic inside and out, objectively and personally. He even shares in verse 23 what He will say to fake Christians when He meets them face to face in judgment: “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
Matthew 17:15, 21-23 therefore warns us that being a Christian is a real deal. It should not be faked since it determines our eternal destination. It cannot be faked because our God is omniscient and just thus cannot be mocked (Galatians 6:7).
One can either be a true Christian or a fake Christian. Again, there are no in-betweens. A lukewarm Christian is still a fake Christian as told in Revelations 3:16: “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
The first article of this series tells us that fake Christians justify, hide, ignore, belittle, tolerate, defend or enjoy sins in their lives; while true Christians repent of their sins and leave every single one of it behind — battling it through the strength of the Lord, the leading of the Holy Spirit and the victory of Jesus Christ — no matter how seemingly costly it is for one’s self.
The second article reveals that fake Christians remain uncertain/in doubt of their salvation even with God’s assurance written tons of times in the Bible because they hinge on feelings and works, and not on facts by faith; while true Christians put their faith in Christ’s perfect sacrifice for sins as the overflowing assurance of eternal life.
The third article tells us that fake Christians do not have the hunger to spend personal time conversing with the One whom they believe as Lord and Savior; while true Christians, because they have tasted that the Lord is good, crave for God’s word.
The fourth article describes fake Christians as those who undervalue the body of Christ, which is the church; while true Christians, out of God’s Lordship in their lives, are those who come to church to humbly share their gifts, talents, abilities and testimonies to others.
The fifth article distinguishes fake Christians from true Christians by the way they respond to Christ’s Great Commission of making disciples of all nations. Fake Christians will underestimate it, consider it optional and/or will do it out of righteousness by works; while true Christians will obey it, consider it as their mission in Christ and will do it out of righteousness by faith.
The challenge, therefore, is not to merely call one’s self a Christian because that can be faked. The challenge is to be a Christian – one that truly confesses that Jesus is his Lord and believes in his heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). More than anything, the first Christians, as written in the Bible, did not take this title for themselves; it was given to them (Acts 11:26).
It is not anyone’s claim that makes him a Christian. It is God’s claim, based on His word, that marks who is in Christ and who is not in Christ. Therefore, being a Christian does not merely need telling or announcing but more importantly, as it is, being.
Being in Christ therefore is far more important than just calling your self a Christian (Matthew 15:8).