Are you a Christian, but deep down you have this gut feeling that something isn’t right? It could be that you are a false Christian, even though you sincerely want to follow Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 13:55 Paul urges us to test and evaluate ourselves to see whether we are in the faith, living lives as committed believers. To paraphrase:
Examine and test yourselves to see whether you are in the faith and living your lives as true believers. Do you not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test and are rejected as false and a counterfeit?
Therefore, if you have some doubts about your salvation, don’t just shrug it off. Maybe it is the Holy Spirit prompting you to test and evaluate yourself. Take the time, because nothing is more important than being right with God before it is too late.
To test ourselves we need to do two things. The first is to ask the Holy Spirit whether we are truly saved or not. John 14:16 says the Holy Spirit is our helper. John 16:8 says the Holy Spirit convicts us of our righteousness.
The second is to be honest and ask ourselves if we are living as committed believers.
Warnings About False Christians
Jesus warned in Matthew 7:21-23 that not all who call Him Lord is necessarily saved. This comes as a surprise to many, but it does beg of us to ask the question: How can it be that there are those who call Jesus Lord who are saved, while others who also call him Lord are not?
The reason for this is because salvation is not about what happens in the mouth, but about what happens in the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “…For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus said that even those who prophesied, drove out demons or did miracles in His name will be among the ones who will be rejected by Him.
These are the same “Christians” Paul talked about in Titus 1:16 where he warned of those who “… profess to know God [to recognize and be acquainted with Him], but by their actions they deny and disown Him. They are detestable and disobedient and worthless for good work of any kind.”
Imagine the Day of Judgement has arrived. Will you be one of the true Christians that are accepted, or will you be rejected?
Why Some Christians Are False
One of the root causes for False Christianity is the preaching of a false, sugar-coated or one-sided Gospel. The reason why Jesus died on the cross is to provide a solution to the problem of sin (also read the posts on Why Jesus Said He Is The Only Way). In order for a person to be saved, it is his sin that needs to be dealt with.
This is not the message that people hear these days. Instead of hearing about the fact that all have sinned and that the punishment for sin is death and hell, we only hear about God’s love for us and how He wants to be in a relationship with us.
While it is true that God loves us and that He wants to be in a relationship with us, we first need to deal with the fact that we have sinned and are in danger of hell. We first need to understand that we need a Saviour to save us from our sin and hell, before we hear that God wants to be in a relationship with us.
A False Gospel
Unfortunately, we live in a time where we hear more about God’s grace than we hear about God’s Moral Law and His judgments.
We talk about what Christ did on the cross, while the Bible teaches us that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (see 1 Corinthians 1:18).
In addition, we are neglecting to use the very tool God has left us with to share the gospel in a manner that will reach a sinners heart (read the post on How To Reach A Sinner’s Heart).
Galatians 3:24 says that the Law has become our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.
Typically, instead of hearing about God’s Moral Law, Christians and Pastors will tell us the following:
• You have a god-shaped hole only God can fill.
• Come to Jesus and He will solve your [marital-, financial-, health-, etc.] problems.
• Through Jesus you can have your better life now.
It is important to understand what Jesus did NOT die for on the cross.
Jesus did NOT die on the cross for:
• Your depression
• Your financial woes
• Your marital problems
Depression, sickness, marital problems and financial woes are legitimate symptoms of sin. I am convinced that Jesus is interested in helping us solve these kind of problems. However, it is not for these problems or external things that Jesus died. Rather, it is for the root of the problem called sin that Jesus died.
Jesus said in John 3:3 you must be born-again to be able to go to heaven one day. To become born-again, the issue of sin must be dealt with first.
This is an uncomfortable truth, but since many Christians shy away from this truth because they don’t want to offend others, I will be honest with you and give it to you without compromise, even if it offends.
A True Christian is someone whose sins have been forgiven, and will not be counted against them (see Romans 4:8).
A True Christian is also someone who has been released from the power of darkness, and has been translated into the Kingdom of God (see Colossians 1:13).
A True Christian is someone who has been born-again and no longer bears the image of Satan (see John 8:44), but who now bears the image of God (see John 3:3 & Colossians 1:13).
In short, a true Christian is someone who has received a new nature.
A New Nature
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 we see the comparison between the old nature and the new nature. The old nature is attributed to…
• the sexually immoral
• the idolaters
• the adulterers
• those who participate in homosexuality
• the thieves
• the drunkards, and so forth
Verse 11 then says “and such were some of you [before you believed]. But you were washed [by the atoning sacrifice of Christ], you were sanctified [set apart for God, and made holy], you were justified [declared free of guilt] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ…”
The new nature we receive is explained in Ephesians 4:24 as follows, “And put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation].”
To receive a new nature and to become a new creation is something that happens when a person repents from their sins.
This is why Jesus cried out for the people to repent (Matthew 4:17).
This is why the disciples cried out for the people to repent (Acts 2:38).
This is why Jesus said in Luke 24:46-47, “And so it is written, that the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance [necessary] for forgiveness of sins would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
Have you truly repented from your sin? Have you repented from the old nature? Do you even truly recognise that you have sinned and are in need of a Saviour?
Ask yourself, how many lies have you told in your life? If you have ever told a lie before, do you realise Revelation 21:8 says that all liars will burn in the lake of fire?
Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 if you ever looked at someone with lust, you are as good as an adulterer, even if it is just at heart. 1 Corinthians 6:8-9 says that no adulterer will inherit the kingdom of God.
However, the good news is that God loves us so much, He made a way for us to be reconciled to Him. 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ took the punishment for our sin on Himself so we wouldn’t have to.
It is like having a fine for something you did wrong which you cannot pay, but someone else comes and pays the fine for you.
When you realise this, your life will change.
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the true sinful nature that you might not have dealt with. Then ask God for forgiveness, not because of any good thing you try to do, but because Jesus paid the fine for your sin on the cross on your behalf.
Growing In Holiness
If you have read up to this point and are convinced that you have been saved but still feel that something isn’t right, then it might be that you are struggling with the process of growing in holiness.
Growing in holiness is the process of becoming more like Jesus. The Bible says in Romans 8:29 we have been predestined to be shaped and molded into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. This can be a painful but rewarding process, but it requires a life-long commitment.
Once you have been truly saved (born-again) and received a new nature, the true Christian no longer lives for themselves, but for God.
It is for this reason that I have put together specific blog posts to help you on this journey. You can work through all the posts on Victory and Deliverance, or find a specific post that might be of interest to you.
If this post has been helpful to you, please share and also let me know in the comments below.