By: Derrick P. Rodgers

I used to ask God why is it that “believing Christians” or “confessed believers in Christ” fight and oppose the truth of God’s Holy Word? The answer revealed to me was shocking and to be honest, difficult to wrap my mind around it; after all, these are confessed believers in Christ. However, considering how we were taught by pastors, theologians, and lay people alike, anyone who makes a blanket statement, “I believe in Christ” automatically now becomes a child of God.

This formula of salvation has become quite popular among seeker sensitive circles and others. The problem with just a blanket statement of belief in Christ without fruit of repentance is that it establishes false conversions. “Believing” without repentance is incomplete, therefore, void and invalid.

Let’s look at an encounter Jesus had with so-called believers at the Temple.

Then many who heard him say these things BELIEVED IN HIM. Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples IF you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

“But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message.

—John 8:30-37 (NLT)

As we can see in the above scripture, Jesus is speaking to and conversing with the Pharisees about becoming His disciples. Notice that in verse 30, the people said they believed in Christ. However, knowing their heart, Jesus said to them, “IF you are truly [indicating there is a possibility of being false] my disciples you will remain faithful to my word.” One of the indicators of a true conversion is the person is willing to allow the word of God to work in his or her heart. Jesus said, “You are truly my disciples IF you remain faithful to my teachings.”Jesus goes on to say, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It is something about knowing and submitting to “the truth” that provides us with genuine deliverance. As Jesus continues to dialogue with them and begins to address the issue of sin, He points out that they need to be set free, and somehow this causes these “BELIEVERS” to become indignant with him and something rises up in them with a desire to kill him.

Now, what’s amazing to me is that a few verses earlier they heard his teachings and confessed to believe in him. However, its not until Jesus began to reveal “the truth” about their condition that they became defiant. Yet, they attempted to make claims that they were the children of Abraham and God was their true Father. Nonetheless, Jesus told them “if God was your Father, you would LOVE ME.” In other words, you would love “the truth,” and you would allow my word to have a place in your heart. Jesus goes on further to directly and clearly tell them that not only is God not your Father, but your father is the devil. At the end of the chapter their actions bear out Jesus’ statements, and these same “BELIEVERS” picked up stones to throw at Jesus.

Now, can we imagine Jesus saying that today, to people who claim to believe in him? Many are making claims that they believe in Jesus, but I’m convinced the moment you release truth, address their sin, and speak about allowing the word to have a place in their heart, they will soon manifest and pick up stones to stone you and that is because they are of their father the devil and they love to do evil things he does.

Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does.

He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me!

—John 8:42-45 (NLT)

At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

—John 8:59 (NLT)

Notice, Jesus didn’t attempt to flatter them with words of inspiration and empowerment and attempt to establish streams of spiritual bipartisanship with the hopes of world unity among all people, while at the same time compromising and mangling the truth. Too many Christian leaders are affirming “false believers” to think that they are disciples of Christ, while they constantly fight against the truth, and they refuse to allow His word to have a place in their heart. They cannot hear the truth when it’s presented to them; therefore, they live and serve in deception, believing their religion will save them.

Here are some basic questions you can ask yourself to see if you are living with a false conversion:

• Are you offended when you hear “the truth?” [John 8:32, 33, 44]

• Do you get upset when sin is exposed or challenged? [John 8:34]

• Do you get offended when you are instructed to allow the word of God to take place in your heart? Are you faithful to His word? [John 8:31]

• Do you find yourself getting angry and mad at God’s apostles and prophets for speaking the truth and then desire to stone them? [John 8:40, 59]

• Do you have a hard time comprehending, receiving, and believing the truth? [John 8:43, 45, 46] They will reject the truth and chase after myths. [2 Timothy 4:4 NLT]

• When you hear the truth coming from God’s servants, do you say they are possessed with the devil? [John 8:48]

• Do you gladly listen to and receive truth? [John 8:42, 56]

• Do you love doing evil and practicing sin? [John 8:44]

These few questions can help us evaluate if we are “truly His disciples.” We shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.

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—20 Characteristics of a True Believer in Christ