Perhaps you'll think before you say that God is dead and gone
Open your eyes, just realize that he's the one
The only one who can save you now from all this sin and hate
Or will you still jeer at all you hear? Yes! I think it's too late.— "After Forever" by Black SabbathWritten by Terence Michael Joseph ("Geezer") Butler, from Master of Reality, 1971
Buon giorno. I have two sections to this article. Stick around and you'll learn something.
"Got an attitude today, Cowboy Azriel?"
You betcha. But then, that's one reason people come here, don'tcha know.
I have been reading and hearing about false Christians. There are three schools of thought of which I am aware:
- People who made a profession of faith (and possibly still consider themselves Christian), but fell away and live like nothing ever changed for them. They were probably never actually saved, but simply had an emotional event.
- Backsliders, or "carnal Christians" (Rom. 8.6 KJV) who said that they committed themselves to Christ but drifted (like I did for about fifteen years). These, too, may or may not refer to themselves as Christians.
- People who are active in their church or religion, but have never actually committed themselves to Jesus. They are condemned and do not know it because they are unlikely to hear the actual message of salvation. This is similar to saying, "America is a Christian nation", but people are Christian in name only, and not actual followers of Jesus.
Now tell me, since Black Sabbath did some songs with Christian themes, does that make them a Christian band? When I was about twelve years old, I wanted to believe that. "After Forever" had a strong message. Added to that, "Lord of this World" took the point of view of Satan singing to the listener, including this message:
Your world was made for you by someone aboveWhat more could a wishful-thinking young teenager ask? Of course, I was very disappointed when their next album had lyrics like "don't need no religion". I tried to make excuses in my mind, but failed. Anyone listening to the Black Sabbath live reunion album would not be able to even pretend that Ozzy is a Christian, what with all of the strong profanities.
But you choose evil ways instead of love.
You made me master of the world where you exist
The soul I took from you was not even missed.
OK, time to move on from Ozzy and company.
I received this in my e-mail from "Evangelist", about "your friend (Evangelist) in India". While I have made contributions, I do not have direct friends that are evangelists in India. It said:
Hope you are doing well and our warm greetings to you in the mighty name of Jesus Christ to you and your family. Now I bring to your kind notice that we have the 50 orphans and 40 widows in our place so I have been praying and hoping in God that I do something (to present new clothes and supply of food on the Christmas day) for them to the Christmas so it allows me to share the love of God with these beloved ones for this we need 500 $.(Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:7). I kindly requesting you if possible please do help us to purchase the clothes and food items for the widows and the orphans. I need your help. Kindly please loan me 500 $ urgently to help us to purchase them.
I will appreciate any amount you can quickly arrange and send to me via Western Union with the details below.Uh, sure, Bubbles. The check is in the mail. Again, you know them by the lives they lead: Matthew 7.16.
Name: George. Velpula
NANDIGAMAKrishna DistrictAndhra Pradesh-521185India.Please remember to send me full details of the transfer or scanned copy of the transfer receipt so that I can get he money here without any delay or problem.
Waiting for your kind reply
Happy Christmas and Blessed New Year in Advance.
Now, briefly, I will mention another point about "false Christians". Sometimes, it is a buzzword for atheists to use whenever they can find a fault (real or imagined) in someone that they have targeted. (I have been called something along those lines by an atheist before I had recommitted my life to Christ, and was making no pretense at being a Christian!) While it is true that you can know people by the lives they lead, it is irrational, illogical and just plain ridiculous to expect people to live up to some arbitrary standard. In the case of an obstreperous atheist, it is impossible to be "good enough". Especially since us Xtians is people, too. Even if we were perfect, we would not be good enough in the minds of some people.
The same goes for judgmental Christians, too! I'm going to do an article on the "Soldier" Weblog on this, but essentially: Just because someone does not live up to your standards, and is not as "holy" as you are, does not mean he or she is not a real Christian. We have different levels of growth, and we also make mistakes. Or, you could even be wrong about a requirement that you expect! As I stated above, Christians are people, too.
So, are you understanding what I am trying to say? Yes, there are false Christians in the world. They are pretty much "used to be" or "never was" (1 John 2.19) types, and their lives (and speech, Luke 6.45) are strong indicators of their spiritual status. Also, just because someone does not live up to a standard that someone has in their mind to judge over every little thing does not mean someone is a "false" Christian, capice? It is worth noting, however, if you call yourself a Christian and your priorities and affections are misplaced, perhaps you have a great deal of compromise in your life, you should examine yourself (2 Cor. 13.5). Perhaps you are not actually a follower of Jesus? You had better attend to that matter (Matt. 7.21-23)!
And now, for your listening pleasure, is a Christian metal band's remake of "After Forever":
"Deliverance", from the 1991 album What a Joke.