I do not know if anyone truly realizes how easy it is to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ and to claim that He is your Lord and Savior. It is as easy as saying these words, “I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and He saved my soul.” The really scary thing, though, is that it is also as fundamentally easy as saying the sentence, “I believe that the sun is purple.”
Just because someone makes a claim does not mean that it is true.
Let’s unpack that for a second…
If someone were to say that the sun was purple, you would immediately look up at the sun to see if that was true. By taking a closer look, you would find out that the sun is not purple, but is in fact yellow.
That person keeps telling you that it is purple, though, and insists as loud as ever. Maybe it was a fluke that one day, so you check the sun again day after day. Each day that you look, you find that the sun is not purple, but is instead yellow.
The claim was false, no matter how emphatically or regularly the person made the claim.
I believe, because of my studying of the Bible, that we can apply the same principle to judging fellow Christ-proclaimers. We are supposed to test them by their fruits and by what we see from them. Christians find themselves especially vulnerable to false teachers and false prophets, and I have no idea why. Jesus knew that, however, which is why He gave us these words of wisdom on how to test those of us who claim Christ.
Matthew 7:15-20: 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
Christians today seem like the kind of people who merely have to hear the words, “I believe in God,” before they start swooning over artists, athletes, and politicians while putting them on a pedestal. It doesn’t matter what their character shows. It doesn’t matter what words come out of their mouth or whether they ooze ego or hate, humility or love.
I am seeing this currently on a dangerous level with a certain political figure. I am not one to say, nor make any claims, that he knows God or how strong his relationship is with Him. All I have is what I see from the public fruits that he shows, and those fruits are poor and rotten with a couple good little blueberries thrown in to keep people coming back. If this is the type of person whom we choose to listen to and follow because he is a “Christian”, then the Church will be in for a rude awakening.
Acts 20:28-30: “28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.”
I do not find it fun to focus more on the things that are not of Christ than the things of Christ, but we are called to bring truth and hold each other accountable. I would not be a good brother if I didn’t remind you to look intently at the fruit of all those who claim to be of Christ. It is easy to see that some people are born again, but it is also easy to be fooled.
I sincerely HOPE that those of you who are my Christian brothers and sisters have tested my fruit to see if I am legit or not. I am not going to be perfect and I am not expecting perfection from anyone, but I do expect myself, my brothers, and my sisters to be showing the clear fruit that is described for us in the Bible.
Galatians 5:22-23: 22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.“
Take your personal biases out of the way. Take your preferences out of the way. Pay attention, use the Holy Spirit within you for discernment, and give yourself a fair shot to look at the fruit for what it is; good, mixed, or rotten.
2 Corinthians 11:12-15: 12 “And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that, in their boasted mission, they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.“
Now I understand why Paul was so hard in his preaching to the church in Corinth. I understand why he preached the same message over and over again. Humans are hard-headed and see what they want to see. I am in the same boat, but thankfully I tend to overuse the critical thinking that God gave me rather than under-utilizing it.
Let’s hold each other accountable and spend time in the Word, motivate each other to think critically, and start performing the tests that God gives us. Discernment is a gift from God. If people fail the tests, then that is not our fault and it says nothing about our salvation or moral compass. If people pass the tests, then they are our siblings in the great Kingdom of God!
In love and truth,