True Godliness vs counterfeit Christianity

by Mike Ratliff

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came 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 man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39 (NASB) 

A few days ago I shared an encounter I had on social media with a fellow who many would call a “troll” in my post Born of the will of God. That started a couple of days of some very ugly encounters on Facebook in which I finally realized that God was putting me through some fiery trials. I shared some of that in my post last night, Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you. I prayed about all this a great deal last night and this morning and came to the conclusion that I could no longer participate on some of those ugly discussions in that group. To my surprise the admins of that group met and reinstated me last night. However, as I perused the posts this morning the ugliness and hatefulness permeating many of those posts repelled me so I left the group. I then contacted the two admins that are my friends and thanked them for reinstating me and then told them why I was leaving. The head admin said he wanted me to stay because the group was being overrun by a bunch of hotheads and he needed men like me to stand firm and not budge. I told him I would take some time off and perhaps be back later. I think I am suffering from a form of battle fatigue.

In this post we will look at why there are so many of those who are infiltrating our churches and Christian discussion groups, etc who are obviously counterfeit Christians. I used to be perplexed by the growing apostasy in the ‘visible Church’, however I no longer am. Why?  God is sovereign. I believe 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. Those whom 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 is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
WE were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 (NASB) 

22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. 24 The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying 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, these testify of Me. 26 But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, 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 (NASB) 

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 came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came 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 man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39 (NASB) 

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. This is genuine Christianity that is born from a regenerate heart.

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 a new creation. 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.

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. 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 realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also. 2 Timothy 3:1-9 (NASB)

Soli Deo Gloria!

4 thoughts on “True Godliness vs counterfeit Christianity

  1. Very good post.

    I, too, have encountered those who vehemently oppose the truth of the doctrine of election. I and two other people used to comment on a Christian website where we were the only three who understood the truth of the doctrine. We fought on that battlefield and quoted many scriptures, but to no avail (that we were aware of). We were constantly mocked and opposed by those who called God all sorts of names because they believed in man’s free will to choose salvation. There was one person in particular who continually attacked every defense we made of the doctrine and blasphemed the name of God because he opposed the doctrine. As quickly as we would post a comment, he would follow up with an attack, quoting scripture out of context. I believe he was an infiltrator with a hatred for the truth of the doctrine who was trying to persuade every other reader against us. This went on for some time, until finally the website owner shut down the comments altogether and deleted them. That was a relief. It was the only way to be rid of him and it had become pointless anyway and was time to move on. I am willing to be engaged in defending the faith, but this person was deliberately agitating and aggressively promoting false doctrine, and determined to cause confusion to readers. There was no sincerity on his part to even consider our comments backed up by scripture, nor did he want anyone else to understand them. He claimed to be a Christian, but that wasn’t believable. So I can understand your frustration and weariness. But all their contrary words fall to the ground and are powerless to change the doctrines of Christ. Only God’s few elect have graciously been given ears to hear. We are blessed beyond measure.

    This, too, shall pass. Praise God!

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  2. Thanks for sharing that Sheryl. I’ve had things like happen on my blog before. That’s why I put in the rules for commenting. In any case, you are right, “This, too, shall pass. Praise God!”

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