How can you know if a person who claims to be a Christian, isn’t? Does it take years of watching and testing and waiting? Nope. Not at all. Here you go:
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1John 2:9-11)
One of the greatest sins of the church today is refusing to apply what the Apostle John and many other Scriptures say on this subject. “Oh, well, none of us are perfect you know. We must be patient. The fellow professes Christ and we must think the best of him.” Bleah. Let me paint a picture:
Here is Fred. Fred is a “fine upstanding” member of his local church. Why, Fred even grew up in that church. He “went forward” at the altar call and “got saved” when he was just a boy, got baptized — hallelujah! Fred is on his certain and sure way to heaven.
But…pick one of the following. Just one —
- Fred is cruel to his family’s animals and has no trouble at all sleeping after stomping a new puppy to death for chewing up a shoe.
- Or, Fred humiliates his wife in front of others, putting down her abilities and even mocking her “frigidity,’
- Or, Fred demands his wife tell him wherever she is at all times,
- Or, Fred makes his wife pay all the bills out of her salary (if he lets her work at all) while he blows his on himself as fun money,
- Or, Fred throws tantrums of rage when….well, whenever something isn’t to his liking.
How many of these characteristics are required to demonstrate that Fred is NOT a Christian? Any single one of them. Just one. “But hey, we aren’t any of us perfect! How can you say such a thing!! Only God knows the heart.” How can I know? Because any single one of those wicked patterns of behavior clearly demonstrates that such a person does NOT love others, does NOT love the Lord, does NOT love his wife. It really is quite simple. Oh, and here is the clincher — FRED CAN DO ANY ONE OF THESE THINGS AND THEN GO TO SLEEP THAT NIGHT WITH NO QUALM OF CONVICTION WHATSOEVER. HE WILL NEVER APOLOGIZE FROM HIS HEART. Never. That seals the diagnosis you see. Fred is a phoney baloney “Christian,” a wolf in wool.
Do you understand? Some sins are soooo evidently characteristic of an unconverted heart that it really does not take a genius to diagnose that heart. Doctors, you know, can very quickly diagnose certain diseases or ailments. It isn’t always a big confusing puzzle that has to be sorted out by a panel of specialists. “Yep, there it is. This is what you have.” Boom. So it is with many of the wicked. “Pastor, my husband does such and so to me and….” — No more info needed. Got the diagnosis right here. He is unsaved, he is an abuser, that is what you are facing.
Yet how many people just like Fred are pillars in their local church, Sunday School class teachers, youth workers, pastors, etc, etc, etc ? Answer: LOTS. LOTS. LOTS. More than most Christians even want to know.
Really. For all the talk about “winning souls for Jesus” and “evangelism to the world,” many, many visible local churches have these wicked ones right in their midst and refuse to look, refuse to see, refuse to do anything about it which is a flat refusal to obey the King of kings!! And the King knows it. And the King’s wrath is easily and quickly kindled against it.
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1Peter 4:17-18)