More than two-thirds of Americans claim to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and about half attend a church somewhat regularly. But half of those church-goers say their lives have not changed one bit because of their church attendance. And most people today agree that the biggest difference between “Christians“ and non-Christians is that “Christians“ are busy on Sunday mornings.
If a Christian is, by definition, a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ (His disciple, or “apprentice”; Acts 11.26), then why are there so many “Christians“ who attend church but who do not act like Christians?
The answer is simple: They are not Christians; they’re just pretending.
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. [1John 2.3-4]
Many professing Christians believe they are safely on their way to heaven because they have prayed a prayer, been baptized, joined a church, built friendships at church, learned the “church-talk,” or enjoyed church fellowship activities. However, Jesus Christ Himself said that many would be shocked and horrified on the Day of Judgment when they are told, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7.21-23). They said they followed the Lord, but they were just pretending!
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? [Luke 6.46]
Jesus said that “by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7.16-20). A true follower of Christ, a Christian, will have a life that bears visible evidence that Jesus is truly his Lord.
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words… [John 14.23]
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. [Romans 6.22]
The Bible states clearly and repeatedly that salvation from sin and sin’s penalty (suffering the wrath of God in hell) is graciously given to those who have repented (turned from sin and self) and placed their complete faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (turning to Christ, to trust and follow Him). That conversion from sin and self, to the Lord will bear genuine, lasting, and visible fruit:
- Fruit of Repentance: Turning from sin (Mat 3.8; 2Tim 2.19)
- Fruit of Knowledge: A desire to learn Scripture (2Tim 3.15-4.5)
- Fruit of Good Works: Obedience to Scripture (John 14.15, 21, 23; Col 1.10)
- Fruit of Holiness: Growing in Christ-likeness (Rom 6.22; Gal 5.22-24)
- Fruit of Evangelism: An urgency to see others saved (Rom 10.13-17; 2Cor 5.15-20)
The good news of the Gospel is that, even though God is angry with the wicked every day because of their sins against Him (Psalm 7.11), He does not want any to perish and suffer His righteous and just wrath in Hell (2Peter 3.9). God wants all sinners to be saved, and to this end Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross for all, and then rose from the dead defeating death and proving He is God. But Jesus said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13.3). You must turn from sin and self! And you must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith and trust, because there is no salvation outside of Him (Acts 4.12; 16.30-31)!
Nothing is more important than your eternal destiny. Please examine yourself to see if you are in the faith (2Corinthians 13.5), or if you, like so many others, are just pretending.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? [2Corinthians 13.5]
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. [Matthew 7.13-14]