Love and obeying God and belief are all united. When a person who is saved says, “I believe in God,” it means something totally different than when a false convert says, “I believe in God.” The actual believer means that they love God and their highest goal is to obey Him in love. That’s actual belief.
On the other hand, the false convert says he believes in God, but doesn’t actually have Christ inside his heart reigning supreme. The false convert doesn’t actually want to obey the Bible simply because his love for Christ is the highest authority in his heart.
So true believers and false converts both say, “I believe in God.” The difference is that if you actually search deep into their motivations and desires and hearts, you will find that only the true believer actually believes and loves and obeys God because he knows God and is forever indwelt the Holy Spirit. Therefore the true believer will persevere until the end, and always grow stronger from persecution and struggles and failures and weaknesses.
Meanwhile, the false convert doesn’t actually believe or love or obey God from a heart forever ruled by Christ. That’s why under persecution and struggle and failures and weaknesses, the false convert falls away and recants his belief in Christ and the Bible, and abandons the truth, and eventually seeks out a lifestyle that makes sense to him – like the world and sin.
It’s something else, you know, when you meet those people who say, “I believe in God too” or“yeah, I’m a Christian too.” And inevitably they follow up with the self-exposing words, “but I don’t go to church” or “but I don’t read the Bible” or “but I don’t pray.” I’m like, “Really? You’re a Christian who doesn’t follow Christ?” That must be some new form of Christian that the devil invented.
When a person claims to be a Christian, yet lives a sinful lifestyle that is totally void of any actual fruit and love and obedience and belief in God and His Word, and his life is characterized by the world, worldly lusts, worldly desires, worldly motives…. then, chances are that person is full of bologna.
Follow up with a few statements from the Bible, and see if their attention suddenly drops. Quote Christ a few times, and see if they suddenly lose their interest in the conversation . Ask them their testimony and see if they even have one. Ask them the Gospel and see if they even know it. Ask them who Christ is and see if they say God. It usually doesn’t take long to discern that they desperately need a full-on Gospel presentation and that their wild lifestyle isn’t merely circumstantial, but rather a direct result of their choices and desires to follow sin instead of Christ.
There is a reason people don’t know the Bible, and it is usually because they have spent their whole lifetime choosing to read anything else, and the Bible is the least important thing to them. Be discerning people, there are lots of false converts out there, and instead of teaming up with them, we should be evangelizing them and avoiding their misdirection. We need to be discerning and test our friends, family, loved ones and peers. We shouldn’t be naive, but rather we should be diligent and wise and prayerful and sober-minded.
If people are complicating the Bible, and complicating their lives and missing church and missing Bible study and missing fellowship and missing accountability and missing enthusiasm to obey Him, then it’s likely not just a coincidence, but rather a giant redflag about them.
People who don’t actually like something or love something, over-complicate matters and make excuses and miss meetings and have a hard time showing genuine enthusiasm. Contrastly, when people do actually like something or love something, then they make it simple and take responsibility and show up early and get excited to participate and even seek out additional related things.
Like, a person who wants to go to the store might say, “It’s just a block away, we’ll be there and back in no time. Let’s go.” See, easy. There’s like 1 step involved and plenty of enthusiasm and simplicity.
But, a person who doesn’t want to go to the store might say, “It’s dark and dangerous outside, and it’s raining, and the store is all the way down the street, and we have to put on our shoes, get dressed and find our raincoats, and find my wallet and keys, and then get into the car, and maybe dirty up the floorboards, and maybe stop and get gas, and then hope that they aren’t closed, and…” See, difficult. Complicated. Lots of steps involved. No enthusiasm. No simplicity.
I always ask myself when I’m dealing with a person who claims to be a believer, which one of these people do they become when I am talking to them about God. Which person are they when extra events are introduced into the conversation. What about Bible study, and fellowship groups, and opportunities to serve, and evangelizing strangers? Are they at least trying to find way to obey and serve Christ, or are they making things complicated and trying to increase the number of steps involved? My question is, what are their actual desires about God and the Bible and belief and obedience and love? Because those things come in a cluster. If you love, you also obey, and also believe. So without all of those, then a person isn’t really believing at all. They are just saying they believe They’re lying to themselves and others.
If I told you I believe that my house was on fire, but I just sat in the house calmly and didn’t do anything about it, then it would be hard to convince you that I am telling you the truth.
But, if I told you that my house was on fire and I jumped up and ran outside fast as lightning, then WOW! You’d really be convinced that I believed that.
Same concept applies with actual saving belief in God. If a person actually believes, then God’s Word, the Bible, won’t be a table decoration. The person who actually believes because he is filled with the Holy Spirit and ruled by Christ, knows God and is highlyconcerned with Him and obeying Him and learning about Him. Anyone who is actually saved knows exactly what I am talking about. True Christians are hyper-aware of their sin and they have a genuine desire to please God, because they know that the Almighty GOD is reigning and orchestrating every single detail of life!
True Christians KNOW that the all powerful God is able to answer prayer and control everything in the universe and they are aware and conscious of Him and therefore, because they actually know that to some extent, they are overwhelmed by that truth and are forever changed by that heart-piercing reality. You can’t meet God and then be the same afterwards. It’s impossible to be transformed, given the Holy Spirit, born again, and then like… I don’t know… somehow forget God is right here watching and listening to everything you do. That’s not something that you can walk away from the same as you were before.
It is the most important and supernatural and extraordinary thing that has ever happened in your life. It’s more important than your wedding, the birth of your children, your graduation, your first kiss, anything. There is nothing more amazing then having your eyes opened to the truth of God and your own depravity, and being filled with the Holy Spirit, and loving and believing in God for the first time. It is the single most important and radical thing that has ever happened. So, how can a person say they “believe in God” and yet have nothing to say in terms of a testimony or the Gospel or some change in their heart or anything?
It’s just crazy what some people will accept in a profession of faith. How many people are out there who call themselves Christian, and yet are the farthest thing from it? Too many. And many have even been baptized! They have never admitted their helplessness or repented of their sins or believed in Christ with saving faith or understood the Gospel or submitted and committed their lives to God. They have never truly loved God or believed in Him, and they will walk away from God as easily as they supposedly chose Him. They call themselves Christians and believers, for all the wrong reasons. They are Hellbound and in desperate need of the true Gospel. Be discerning, brothers and sisters. There are many false converts out there saying, “I believe in God” and claiming to be Christians.