The portrait of a genuine Christian part5

I pray that by now you realize whether or not you are a genuine Christian or just playing a part. The Bible is very clear on the subject and we should be as well. Many times, we want to make the black and white teachings of the Bible more of a grey color because it calms our conscious when we know that there are areas where we do not measure up. Instead of changing to meet God’s standards, we try to change God’s standards. We would never do that directly, so we seek for loopholes and stuff we can wrangle over to say, “well, it is just not that clear in this area” so that we can relieve ourselves of the guilt of admitting that we do not measure up. This article will contrast people who have a religion to calm their guilty conscious with those who are genuine Christians, those who have a real relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. This time we want to look at Philippians chapter 3.

I. Religious people without a real relationship with God

  • they are still evil (their religion has not changed the intentions of their heart, they still need a new heart and a new way of thinking)
  • they are false (they put on a show to look like the real thing but inwardly, there is no substance)
  • they are repulsive because you know that they are not genuine (Paul calls them dogs, a Jewish idiom)
  • they have a form of religion but it is powerless
  • they place their confidence in the flesh (earthly things)
    • religion
    • nationality
    • family heritage
    • position of authority
    • deeds
    • measure themselves against their own standards, not God’s
  • they are enemies of the cross of Christ (even though they are religious and devout, they deny the power of the cross to transform)
  • they live according to their appetites (the desires of the flesh, see Galatians 5:19-21)
  • they glory in their shame (take pride in their religion that cannot transform them and set them free from the lusts of the flesh)
  • their end is destruction (even though in life, they seem to have it all)

II. Righteous people with a genuine relationship with God

  • they are aware of the false believers
  • they worship in the Spirit of God (see John 4)
  • they glory in Jesus Christ (take pride in what Christ has done in them)
  • they put no confidence in the flesh (as Paul said, they know that nothing good dwells within them, they are who they are because of the power of God)
  • they count all earthly things (power, position, nationality, religion, etc) as loss compared to the value of knowing Jesus Christ intimately
  • Jesus Christ is their Lord (ruler, master)
  • They have faith in Christ
  • They receive true righteousness from God
  • They measure themselves according to God’s standards
  • They know Christ specifically
    • Power of His resurrection (sets people free from their slavery to sin, they now have the ability to say NO to sin and temptation every moment of every day, a power that no religion can offer anyone, see Romans 6)
    • They suffer with Him by living for Him
    • They are conformed to His death (their lifestyle of sin was put to death with Jesus on the cross, they now live a new life, they have been transformed)
  • They are constantly seeking maturity in the faith
    • They know that they have not made it and are a work in progress
    • They forget the past and strive on to know Christ
  • They follow God’s standard and encourage others to do the same
  • They build others up (usually, religious people try to put others down so that they can make themselves look better)
  • Live as citizens of heaven

Which camp do you find yourself in? As you can see, these two groups of people are totally different even though they may sit side by side each other on Sunday morning in Church. Do you boast in how righteous and pious you are because you are a religious person or do you boast in what God has done in your life through the power of Jesus Christ. When the false stands next to the genuine then it is easy to see which is which. That is why we need to compare ourselves to the real thing, the standard set forth in the Word of God so that we do not deceive ourselves thinking how good we are and how happy God must be that we chose to side with Him. May God help us be genuine Christians in all that we do.

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