Tests of a Christian, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 25, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Over the past three weeks, I have been talking about the basics of Christianity. But in every congregation, the enemy seeks to plant false converts for the purpose of infecting, infiltrating, and ultimately destroying the church from within. There is a very common phrase out there that says, “Only God can judge the heart.” There is truth to that, but most people who say that are really saying, “Be quiet and let me sin in peace.”

The Apostle John wrote his first epistle as an elder of the church at Ephesus seeking to address many of the false teachings and false converts which had infiltrated their ranks. He gives nine tests of a Christian in this letter for the purpose of showing the true Christians that they are indeed saved. I have heard numerous sermons on this letter, namely by Paul Washer but also by Todd Friel and others. While I do not want to merely parrot their sermons, do take note that what I say here is influenced by them.

The first test is found in 1 John 1:6. If you claim to be a Christian and yet walk in darkness, you are a liar and you are not a Christian. If you claim the faith and yet as a style of life you live and love your sin, you aren’t saved. Remember, the Apostle John is known as the “apostle of love.” He does not mince words about calling people lying who claim to be Christian and yet live a life totally contrary to what Scripture states.

A Christian loves the light, which means he will love being in a position where his sin can be exposed before God. In Psalm 139, David cried out to God to search him and try him and seek for any sin so that it may be exposed and thus dealt with. The faker loves his sin and hates any light that would dare expose it. The faker walks in darkness so his sin will not be seen and exposed. The faker would rather shade the light rather than expand it.

The second test is found in 1 John 1:8. If you think you are just fine and have no sin to deal with, you are deceiving yourself. The Christian is constantly aware of his own sin. As Paul grew in his faith, you can notice a change in his tone. He started out bold and courageous shouting victory over sin, yet as his time grew to a close, he became ever so aware of his current and past sins. He called himself the chief of sinners. He knew what he did prior to Christ and the movie “Paul: Apostle of Christ” suggests that the thorn in his flesh was a constant reminded of the blood on his hands from those days.

One of the ways my pastor addresses this test is this: “Can you sin and get away with it?” Are you able to sin and not experience the guilt and shame of offending the King of Kings? If so, you should examine yourself to find out if you are indeed saved. God always disciplines his children. True children appreciate discipline and do not despise it because they know it is for their betterment. Wicked children despise discipline because they hate having their sin addressed. No one likes discipline as we go through it, but those who are of God would rather go through the pain of discipline than the broken fellowship with God. Psalm 51 so well illustrates this. David hated his sin. It was always before him and at times it beat him down, but he longed to be free of it and always in the presence of his God. A Christian knows his sin is always around but never justifies it nor seeks to keep it around. The faker dismisses his sin as even being significant and always tries to minimize what it really is.

The third test is in 1 John 2:9-11. Do you love the brethren? Do you love being with other believers, or does Christian fellowship bore you? Does being in the presence of others talking about God fill you? Many people see church as one of two wrong reasons. One is that it is simply their Sunday social club. For many years, going to church was simply what you did on Sundays without a second thought about what it was for the rest of the week. The other wrong reasons is that it is a place of pain. The church is frequently one of the places of some of the greatest pain is experienced. Church-hurt is no laughing matter, and as a result many despise the church setting. Yet, Paul states in Romans 3:1-4 that if someone claiming to represent God fails to do so properly, do not let that color your image of God.

Finding believers in a hostile environment is a great joy. Many have to hide because of intense persecution or being bullied into silence. When I come across another believer in my public school setting, it gives me great joy. I don’t always get to spend time with them sharing about my faith and such but when I see another believer, it excites me. One of my greatest joys is watching a youth “get it” about Christianity and walk in faith. I love being around other believers. I love listening to a good sermon and someone speaking the truth of God. Do we love other believers? Or is the only reason we care about them because of what we get out of it?

The fourth test is in 1 John 2:19. Here John specifies false teachers in how they were among the brethren and eventually left. But the concept is also true about the congregants. John is not talking about leaving individual church congregations. I left my home church in Colorado and then left another church I attended for five years before going to the one I am in now. I did not leave the body; I was just relocated by God. John is addressing those who talk the talk and supposedly walked the walk and then left, abandoning the faith entirely and living in sin.

I hear the testimony of many “ex-Christians” and I can tell immediately they never were a Christian. Not only do they demonstrate no knowledge of even the basics of Christianity, but John is suggesting that if they left the faith, they never really were of the faith. Hebrews 6:4-6 is often a hotly debated passage on whether one can lose salvation or not, however it is impossible for one to be saved, get unsaved, then resaved again because that crucifies Christ multiple times and he died once for all. It is possible for one to get disillusioned, but if one walks away from God and he belongs to him, God will bring him back. He will not let his children stay away for long. In reality, however, if one walks away from Christianity, chances are extremely high he never was born again, it was just a religion, and he never knew Christ.

Next week, we’ll address tests 5-9 in 1 John.

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