When any religion becomes integrated into the culture of a nation as many around the world are, some citizens of the nation who are not committed adherents of that religion nevertheless, identify themselves with it. As the annual surveys of Barna Group and others is confirming, Christianity as the predominant professed religious identity of Americans since the nation’s inception has led to a high number calling themselves Christians, but there is not any real evidence by their beliefs, lifestyle or activities that it is truly so.1 In fairness, some of the criteria used to identify Christians does not come from the Bible, but the invention of Christianity the religion of men.
In this edited 2013 blog repost, the Lord leads me to present from His written Word what the first and eternally enduring identifying mark of a genuine Christian is. Given the foretold confusion and persecution of these latter days that exists in and outside of the churches as well as betrayal to the death even by family members professing to know God (Matthew 24:3-5, 9-12; Mark 13:11-13; John 15:18-16:4), it behooves us who are bona fide Christ followers to be able to recognize who is real and who is not. How do you discern a real Christian from an impostor? A short answer is provided and the divine imperative to become fruit inspectors is issued in what follows.
Originally Posted January 6, 2013
An old television game show, To Tell The Truth, invited a celebrity panel to attempt to guess who the real person was among three that each said he was the person. In the game, two of the persons were impostors telling lies while only one was the real deal telling the truth.
Tragically, many have been saying they are Christians but are not from the first century until now. Planting false believers in the company of those that are true is a purposeful, deceitful strategy of Satan intended to frustrate (and where possible, destroy) the saving work of God among men and discredit the faith (Galatians 2:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-13). Truly, Christianity as a pervasive religion of men in the earth and the destructive evil it has historically produced demonstrates just how successful Satan has been. When the apostle John saw “her” in advance he was filled with “great amazement,” (Revelation 17:1-6, NKJV).
In the “New World” destined to become America where Christianity as a religion of men has been dominant for over three hundred years, many persons still identify themselves as a Christian in and out of churches that bear little or no resemblance to one that is described in the New Testament of the Bible. A number of these persons as church members are also leaders because Christianity the religion does not care about authenticity as much as it does assent to and regurgitation of manmade confessions of faith and systems of thinking about God, following traditions, rules, practicing rituals and the willingness to participate cooperatively including giving money.
Even the well intended effort of some pastors to make sure prospective members understand the Gospel as I once did is not a foolproof means to discern impostors since they simply answer as expected. So, what is the indisputable mark (identifying seal) of a genuine Christian as taught in the Bible and that cannot be faked? The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit whose eternal life and power gloriously radiates out from every person that has in authentic repentance believed the Gospel from the heart and received Him (Acts 2:1-39; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14).
A spiritual event the Lord Jesus depicts as being “born again” or “from above” takes place when the Holy Spirit enters the spirit of a believer whom the apostle Paul declares is “a new creation,” (John 3:1-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV). The tangible results of a genuine Christian’s new birth cannot be long hidden since the boundless life of Almighty God flow out of his heart like “rivers of living water,” (John 7:37-39, NKJV). Men see the evidence of His presence and demons the Holy Spirit as the living mark of a genuine believer in Jesus Christ (Acts 10:34-48,16:16-18, 19:11-20).
Except for the exclusive authority and standing Christ gave to His original 1st century apostles, the immediate evidence of His presence the Holy Spirit displays in a new believer is of His sovereign choosing and without the need for human agency (Acts 8:4-25, 19:1-7). While miraculous works of power by the Holy Spirit may not attend the life of every newly born again believer, surely the godly repentance (dramatic attitude change toward sin and God) as well as the heretofore unknown experience of His life in spiritual life that are powerful beyond words and cannot be faked will occur (2 Corinthians 7:10-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10).
Yes, I am well aware that many have falsely equated all instances of emotional fervor in church services with the Holy Spirit’s power and presence on display in a person’s life. However, any such persons are exposed as religious impostors when church is over since their lives will not give continuing evidence of the Holy Spirit’s leadership, control, power and fruit (Luke 6:43-49; Galatians 5:19-25; 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 John 3:4-9).
1 Go to www.barna.org for the latest surveys on American Christians.
Strong Man Of God Resources
Get Your Copy Of The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics
Your purchase supports restoring men, families and communities through Strong Man Ministries!
Purchase It Now