Separating Regenerate Christianity from Counterfeit Christianity

by Mike Ratliff

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 ESV)

God is sovereign. God is a Covenant God who has not relinquished any of His sovereignty nor has He left His people’s eternal status up to their fickle, fallen natures. However, those God saves are truly saved. Their hearts are regenerate. They are eternally His. None of eternal security is in their hands. Instead, they are held in His capable and omnipotent hands.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39 ESV)

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (John 10:22-30 ESV)

Now, with these two passages firmly in our understanding, look at the passage I placed at the top of this post. What did Jesus say would mark His disciples? Here’s the passage again.

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 ESV)

Not only are God’s people eternally His, they are changed eternally as well. They love God above all. They put God first in everything. They do and say things that will incur the wrath of this lost and dying world, but that does not deter them at all. They serve God as Lord — naturally. They keep His Law naturally. They die to self and live for Him alone. Of course this is a process and will increase in their character over time as God sanctifies them. They will find true life in their death to self. This is true godliness. All of this is genuine Christianity that is born from a regenerate heart. Notice, those who truly belong to God will be focused or centered on him, not men while the disingenuous (so-called christians) will be much more concerned about offending men. The regenerate will be all about bringing glory and honor to God while the focus of the false Christians will be on pleasing the world, to not be offensive to men. That’s a huge contrast.

What is Counterfeit Christianity then? All we have to do is look at the passages we have already read here and look at the contrasts. A counterfeit Christian is one who is not regenerate. God has not made them new creations. They have not been reborn as genuine Christians have. (2 Corinthians 5:17) If this is the case then how do people become deceived into believing that they are Christians when they aren’t? The answer is quite simple. Christian leaders (so-called) tell them lies based upon a false theology that is found nowhere in scripture. This false theology says that people are saved by doing religious things such as praying a sinner’s prayer. When doubt falls heavily upon them, and it will because of their lack of spiritual growth, their Christian leaders (so-called) tell them to trust in “their decsion” that was sealed by their sinner’s prayer. Since these people are incapable of true godliness that lines up with Christ’s standards in the above scriptures, their Christian leaders (so-called) have created a new form of godliness that any religious person can do, regenerate or not.

This new form of godliness does not include suffering for Christ’s sake. It does not include denying self, at least not much. It does not include living for God and His glory above all else. Instead the bar is set very low. It includes things such as faithfulness in Church attendance, daily Bible reading, daily devotions, and of course, financial support of their local church. When asked to serve in church, those who agree to do so are looked at as “godly” while those who don’t are looked down on by those who do. Is this the form of godliness that Jesus was talking about? These are good works, but anyone could do them, regenerate or not. The Scribes and Pharisees did the same thing with their own version of the Law during the day of our Lord’s earthly ministry. They deceived themselves and their followers into believing they were actually keeping God’s Law, which no one can do, by keeping a rigorous set of man-made Laws that, even though burdensome and a heavy load, they were sure they were earning their salvation by keeping them.

Genuine godliness exists consistently as a marker in the lives of God’s regenerate believers. They may be religious, but their relationship with God and their resultant obedience to all of His commands will mark them as “not of this world.” They will deny self, take up their crosses, as they do and say things that most “religious Christians” would never do or say because that would get them in hot water and mark them as troublemakers. They will obey God no matter the cost because they have counted the cost and know that the eternal is what really matters, not the temporal. They may even take on a false christian (so-called) teacher or leader and using their godly armor and God’s Word to smite them hip and thigh all for the glory of God even if no else notices. Lastly, I believe the following passage describes those Christian leaders (so-called) that are leading masses of religious people to destruction with their false doctrines.

1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. (2 Timothy 3:1-9 ESV)

Soli Deo Gloria!

10 thoughts on “Separating Regenerate Christianity from Counterfeit Christianity

  1. This is not a coincidence! I just finished reading Dying to Self by William Law, and looked at today’s post. Wow! Dying to self all over again. The only thing needful.
    BTW… Did you ignored my question about McArthur? I hope you will get back to me on that one.

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  2. I sit in a hotel near the heart of ancient Florence, Italy. The signs of the inevitable consequence of false Christianity are everywhere. Countless religious buildings of grand architecture that reminiscent of that Jewish temple that was tossed down stone by stone because the glory had left.

    Let us NEVER shrink back from the pure grace of the biblical gospel. There is no other message that the Lord has promises to use to raise sinner to new life.

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