The most common false convert is the person who justifies personal sin. Some, as I noted yesterday, use their religious activity as a cover for their secret sins, perhaps assuring themselves that the work they do for the Kingdom offsets their besetting sins.
Sure, they’ve repented of outward manifestations of sin, but they excuse thoughts and attitudes that only the Lord sees. Additionally, they justify socially acceptable sins like anger, envy and gossip, often putting a spiritual spin on them to convince themselves and others that they’re using those emotions righteously. I may write about these false converts in future essays.
But today I want to concentrate on false converts who don’t even attempt to hide their affinity with sin and worldliness. Much of the time, they don’t even perceive a contradiction between how they live and their Christian profession. They enjoy sex outside of heterosexual marriage, use blasphemous language, disrespect people in authority and approve of homosexual behavior while claiming to love Jesus and believe the Bible.
Please, I’m not talking about newly saved Christians who haven’t yet been exposed to God’s Word and good Biblical teaching. Of course young believers (especially if they haven’t read the Bible or been in sound churches prior to salvation) will retain worldly ideas early in their walks with the Lord. They mustn’t be expected to instantaneously understand all the implications of their new faith. For that matter, people like me who have walked with Jesus for decades still have much to learn about following Christ.
Rather, I’m talking about people who make professions of faith, get baptized and maybe even become active in church, but never really sense their need to repent. They call Jesus their buddy, and sometimes they even read Scripture for a few minutes each day (usually applying it out of context), but their lives never really show any concern for personal holiness or God’s glory.
Basically, these false converts imagine Jesus as a tolerant and inclusive God Who freely dispenses grace without demanding anything from them. Within this category of false converts, there are different variations and an interesting spectrum of beliefs, but the common thread is an embrace of worldly values.
Tomorrow we’ll continue looking at professing Christians who embrace the world by examining Christ’s words regarding entering His Kingdom. For now, let me encourage you to read Matthew 5-7 (the Sermon on the Mount) to get a glimpse of Jesus’ commitment to holiness. We’ll start from that point to see why a mere profession of faith doesn’t equal genuine conversion.