When I used to be in middle school, it was considered considered one of the largest offenses to be told that you simply were a “poser.” This would imply that you simply’re attempting to be someone you weren’t in an effort to impress others. For example—if a man claimed he was a jock and even dressed one, but he had zero athletic skills, then he was a poser. Perhaps he wanted the eye from girls that being a jock could attract. Sadly, “posers” aren’t just present in middle school; there are some who’ve crept into today’s church, pretending to be a Christian. So what exactly are fake Christians, and the way can we know after we see one?
What Are Fake Christians?
The term “fake Christian” may bring to your mind an image of somebody who’s a hypocrite. Although there are many hypocritical Christians, we’d like to interrupt this term down so as to accurately define what it means.
We know that the word fake suggests inauthenticity. Counterfeits.
A Christian is someone who has accepted Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior. This person is taken into account saved, or “born again,” because they’ve applied the principle present in Romans 10:9: “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and imagine in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will likely be saved.” The underlying factor that differentiates believers from nonbelievers is the Holy Spirit that abides inside us, in keeping with Ephesians 1:13: “And whenever you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by supplying you with the Holy Spirit, whom he promised way back.”
With these two definitions in mind, we are able to define a fake Christian as being one who has not genuinely been born again, and yet they placed on the persona as if they’ve.
Perhaps this person selected to wear the Christian title in order that they could profit off that status (just like those jock posers back in middle school). All of us have likely, at one time or one other, attempted to slot in with a certain crowd. If an unbeliever discovered they might gain a certain type of acceptance through “fitting in” with a church crowd or Christian industry, they could have preferred to wear a church mask somewhat than actually accepting Christ into their heart.
But if someone wanted the acceptance, or the advantages, that come from being a Christian, why wouldn’t they—you recognize, actually turn into a Christian? One reason is that they could not imagine within the message of the cross. 1 Corinthians 1:18 reminds us that “The message of the cross is silly to those that are headed for destruction! But we who’re being saved understand it is the very power of God.”
Another reason is that, while they could relish of their false Christian appearance, they’re ultimately not willing to dedicate their hearts and lives to God. Being a real Christian would involve sacrificing their ungodly lifestyle—or else they’d proceed that lifestyle and live with the guilt. The enemy is a deceiver, and he attempts to make Christianity appear to be bondage to unbelievers so they are going to decide to remain “free” to live for him as an alternative.
To summarize, fake Christians are those that have chosen a saved appearance somewhat than a saved heart. They care more about their status through the eyes of the church, their family, or a Christian industry somewhat than their status through the eyes of God.
What Is an Authentic Christian?
An authentic Christian, then again, is one who has accepted Christ as his or her Savior. The light of the Holy Spirit abides inside this person. Matthew 7:20 provides a sign of how we are able to discover an authentic Christian: “Yes, just as you possibly can discover a tree by its fruit, so you possibly can discover people by their actions.”
The speech and actions of those authentic Christians overflow with fruit of the Spirit, because Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “But the Holy Spirit produces this sort of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There isn’t any law against this stuff!”
In addition, those whose hearts are abandoned to God have a concern for matters that concern Him and a hatred toward evil. James 1:27 tells us that “Pure and real religion within the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows of their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
This doesn’t mean that these authentic Christians don’t commit sin; in any case, Jesus is the one sinless human who walked the earth (1 Peter 2:22, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 3:5, Hebrews 4:15). Rather, when true believers commit sin, they’re convicted by the Holy Spirit (see John 16:8) and live a lifetime of repentance. They are let out from living in bondage to sin and have been purified by the blood of the Lamb.
Because believers know that we are going to someday give an account for the best way we lived our lives (2 Corinthians 5:10), authentic Christians strive to serve God and obey His Word. They understand that God’s opinion carries more weight than man’s because Galatians 1:10 reminds us, “If pleasing people were my goal, I’d not be Christ’s servant.”
What Is the Difference between Fake Christians and Wayward Christians?
Thankfully, our salvation shouldn’t be determined by works but by faith (Galatians 2:21). Otherwise, nobody can be worthy enough to face before God in eternity!
With this in mind, let’s watch out to not assume someone is a “fake Christian” due to their struggle with sin. As humans, we are inclined to “look on the outward appearance, however the Lord looks on the guts” (see 1 Samuel 16:7). God is the One who will ultimately determine an individual’s everlasting fate. James 4:12 reminds us, “There is barely one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is ready to save lots of and to destroy; but who’re you who judge your neighbor?”
There are those throughout the church who’ve genuinely accepted Christ as their Savior and once committed their lives to Him but have since strayed from following His Word. Perhaps this Christian goes to church weekly, prays occasionally, and even loves God—but their love for Him shouldn’t be reflected in the best way they live, speak, or make each day decisions.
When we spot these Christians, let’s refrain from passing judgment and as an alternative extend godly love toward them, praying that the Holy Spirit will convict them. We may pray about how we are able to play a task in leading that person back to the reality. James 5:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, if someone amongst you wanders away from the reality and is brought back, you possibly can make sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and produce concerning the forgiveness of many sins.”
Does Scripture Address the Idea of Fake Christians?
Scripture makes it clear that there are those that will call themselves Christians on earth, but once they reach eternity, their hearts and true intentions will likely be revealed.
Matthew 7:21-23 says, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those that actually do the desire of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and solid out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I’ll reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”
We also know that God despises a type of Christianity wherein an individual shouldn’t be committed to a godly lifestyle. “Straddling the fence” should never be an option for the true believer. Revelation 3:15-16 says, “I do know all of the stuff you do, that you simply are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you simply were one or the opposite! But since you might be like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I’ll spit you out of my mouth!”
Remember Judas Iscariot? He was once considered an apostle of Jesus, but his true motives were soon revealed. When he betrayed Jesus, it was proven that he was more enthusiastic about what he could gain from Jesus somewhat than how he could serve him. It is believed that Judas had a financial intention behind betraying Jesus (see Matthew 26:14-15).
Sadly, there are still many Judas Iscariots throughout the church today—individuals who perform like a Christ-follower and should even be well-versed in “Christianese,” and yet their motives are purely for fleshly gain somewhat than spiritual gain.
How to Spot Fake Christians
Let’s ask the next scriptural questions:
Does this person love this world and the things it offers them?
1 John 2:25 says, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for whenever you love the world, you don’t have the love of the Father in you.”
Does this person love other believers?
1 John 3:14 says, “If we love our brothers and sisters who’re believers, it proves that we’ve passed from death to life. But a one that has no love remains to be dead.”
Does this person bear fruits of the spirit, as addressed in Galatians 5:22-23?
Healthy fruits are a sign that an individual is attached to the vine (John 15:5).
Do they express works of the flesh as addressed in Galatians 5:19-21 (akin to drunkenness, sexual immorality, divisions, etc.)? We are told, on this passage, that “those that do such things won’t inherit the dominion of God.” In addition, Jesus says in Mark 7:20-23, “’What comes out of an individual is what defiles him. For from inside, out of the guts of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from inside, and so they defile an individual.’”
Does this person possess a real fear of God?
Proverbs 14:2 says, “He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is dishonest in his ways despises Him.”
Does this person teach a false gospel?
By false gospel I mean one which is “a distinct doctrine and doesn’t agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:3-5)?
Does this person’s faith rest “within the wisdom of men” or in “the ability of God”? (1 Corinthians 2:5)
Lastly, does this person overflow with the love of God as addressed in 1 Corinthians 13:2? And is that this a worldly type of love that tolerates sin, or is it the godly form of love that extends compassion on everyone but holds righteous anger toward sin?
Again, let’s be slow to guage and refrain from tossing accusations toward someone who claims to be a believer. After all, godly love is the type that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7).
We can, nonetheless, use wisdom and discernment to take heed of red flags after we see them. But this doesn’t give us the suitable to gossip about someone inside a congregation. Instead, we are able to find reassurance in the reality specified by, Ecclesiastes 12:14, which says, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
This isn’t to say we aren’t held accountable to talk up about obvious sin throughout the church (see 1 Corinthians 5:12). Let’s do that from a spot of godly love somewhat than a “holier-than-thou” attitude just like the Pharisee did within the parable present in Luke 18:9-13:
“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thanks, God, that I’m not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m definitely not like that tax collector!”
After all, the one whom chances are you’ll deem as fake may very well be someone whose struggle with sin is merely more obvious than yours. So somewhat than pointing fingers, let’s invest most of our energy into our own faith journey, determined that we will likely be often called a passionate follower of Christ.
The godly love we extend toward believers and non-believers alike speaks volumes louder than our Christian title. In fact, the loyalty and devotion we express toward God and others may very well be the very thing that leads those “fake Christians” to Christ.