Is it possible to identify a true Christian from a false one

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Slayer

Active member
Jul 23, 2018
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#21
The bible says we will know them by their fruit. Do they display the fruits of the Spirit? But all sin and fall short, so if they are not as perfect as Christ you can't assume they are not genuine. The bible says if they are living in sin (not just visiting) they are no longer in Christ (but can repent and come back like the prodigal son). Living in sin, or willful sin, is premeditated, continual, without goal and effort to stop.

A true christian will grow in Christ- which means they will become more knowledgeable in the scriptures, and they will sin less and less as time goes by. I know someone who has been in the church fifty+ years, and for fifty+ years has been a secret drunk. She puts on an act in church, everyone thinks she's so sweet, then she leaves the church and goes straight to buy alcohol- the money for which she gets from prostitution. She does horrific things to her children and grandchildren. She exercises false humility around the right people. She has not grown in Christ. And what does not grow, dies.

Unfortunately, you would have to know someone outside of church services to really know them. You would have to see them in situations where their patience is tested. And in the same way, you could know of a church member's sins of which they repented, and not know that they truly live as a Christian during the week. When I was a teenager I stopped going to church, and people gossipped about me. They didn't know I was kidnapped and held captive in a basement for years. We cannot judge people cause only God truly knows. But He let's us judge between right and wrong in ourselves and others.

There is much to understand- like your brother may be at a different stage of growth than you- just as physical siblings can be different ages- one is two, another fourteen, another twenty seven, etc. As you said, Judas was a Christian, Paul (Saul) was not. Judas will not go to heaven, Paul will. Only God knows for certain, but that cannot hinder us from sticking to scripture best we can, holding others accountable, and judging between right and wrong where they are currently. We can judge their words and actions, but only God can judge their soul. We can say "What you did was wrong." But we cannot say "You are going to hell!"
The pastor of a Church my friend used to attend left his wife and children to go and live with a much younger woman. Nobody believed that he was capable of doing such a thing, he was having the affair for quite a while before it was discovered then he left his family and the Church and he now lives with his girlfriend and preaches in another Church.

He came across as a genuine man of God and a great father and husband, so everyone was shocked to the core.

We have a guy in our Church who spent over 20 years in prison, he has a very powerful testimony. Most of his family and friend had written him off as lost forever, but from all accounts he is a true Christian.

So we never know who God will save, the thief on the cross was saved in the final moments of his life. It's very easy to look at some peoples lives and think there's no hope for them, or they are so deceived by false religion that they will remain blind for the rest of their life. but all things are possible with God so we must treat everyone as if they are Gods people no matter how sinful their lives are.
 

Slayer

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Jul 23, 2018
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#22
I know in the Bible it says "by thier fruits you shall know them" but you can still have salvation and not be living for the Lord in different areas of your life..so..id say its not for us to judge since its the motives of our hearts that often directs our paths and Jesus is the only judge of hearts
What about if someone blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, can we say they are truly lost then?
 

Slayer

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Jul 23, 2018
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#23
I believe the Disciples saw Judas as a typical Jew in those days and it never crossed their mind he would betray God. I don't believe Judas had any idea he was going to betray God until the message being preached was about peace, not about going to war against Rome (they had an idea the Messiah was about war - He is - just not first time around).

But to answer your question, people trying to do right and filled with good intentions can make mistakes and appear like a bad person. This is not saying there are no wolves in sheep clothing, because that is obvious!!

And to point something out concerning sinners growing old and becoming believers, the person on their death bed who sincerely seeks forgiveness is as saved as all of believers. Best example is the thief on the "CROSS." And to make matters even muddier, the thief on the cross never was water baptized and still promised to be in Paradise that very day!!

Discernment is a big key, but to spend your time searching for bad individuals, is not the Will of God!!
I have been taken advantage of by people in the Church, I'm an Automotive Technician, they use me to repair their cars and sometimes they don't pay me. I seem to get sucked in by false Christians, I don't mind helping people in need but some of these "brothers" are quite well off so it's not like they can't afford to pay me.

I'm weary of everyone now, I have a guilty till proven innocent attitude which is not healthy.
 

Slayer

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Jul 23, 2018
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#24
The Parable Of The Wheat And Tares
Matthew 13:24-30 King James Version (KJV)


24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

King James Version (KJV)
So this parable tells us that we must patiently wait for the Lord of the harvest to judge the false brethren. It's a hard lesson to learn for us in the 21'st century where everything is instant, we want to see instant justice and results.
 

Slayer

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Jul 23, 2018
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#25
It is possible, although some false Christians are not as obvious as others. To the 11 disciples, Judas Iscariot looked like the real deal, but Jesus knew his heart and said, he is a devil!
I'm pretty sure the Bible says that God knew Judas would betray Him all along and He chose Him knowing that He would betray Him. It think it says that he was born for that very purpose, which adds credence to the belief that God predestines everyone to be exactly as they are. He chose the elect before the foundation of the world, and like wise He made others who would never come to believe.
 

Slayer

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Jul 23, 2018
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#26
That's it. Christians have not been tasked with assessing others, since that is God's prerogative. However, the Bible does provide us with specific indicators as to who is a Christian. Study the first epistle of John.
Being a pastor is a very hard job, he has to make decisions like accepting and rejecting application for Church membership. He needs to judge a persons heart and motive, he has rejected a gay couple's application because they didn't want to cease living as practicing homosexuals.
They said he wasn't demonstrating Gods love by rejecting their application, they tried to say that Jesus accepted prostitutes and all kinds of sinners. He tried to explain that Jesus didn't affirm them in their sin, but rather He told them to cease living in sin. So It's not easy being a pastor in our day and age, where the Church is forced to accommodate all kinds of people. I'm sure that couple found another Church which is only too happy to accept them as they are.
 

Blain

The Word Weaver
Aug 28, 2012
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#27
Being a pastor is a very hard job, he has to make decisions like accepting and rejecting application for Church membership. He needs to judge a persons heart and motive, he has rejected a gay couple's application because they didn't want to cease living as practicing homosexuals.
They said he wasn't demonstrating Gods love by rejecting their application, they tried to say that Jesus accepted prostitutes and all kinds of sinners. He tried to explain that Jesus didn't affirm them in their sin, but rather He told them to cease living in sin. So It's not easy being a pastor in our day and age, where the Church is forced to accommodate all kinds of people. I'm sure that couple found another Church which is only too happy to accept them as they are.
wow..... I mean if I was pastor sure I wouldn't marry two people of the same sex but to reject from entry of the church? I don't remember Jesus rejecting anyone from hearing his words and even though it fell on deaf ears he even tried to teach nicodemus when he came to him in private.

I don't think a pastor should reject such people from the church I think he should invite them into it after all is that not what we as Christians are to do? I think if a pastor was to be used by God he could very well change these people.
 

Slayer

Active member
Jul 23, 2018
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#28
This is actually a good question to ponder and I would encourage people to ponder it deeply. We have those who believe that only God can truly distinguish the two because only God knows the heart but on the other hand God did not teach us to be ignorant either. There is a good reason he uses the wheat and the tares to represent us because on the outside they both are so similar that it's hard to know the difference however to the trained farmers eye the difference is noticeable otherwise his crops will wither and die. There also a fruit that appears like a clone of a cherry and if your not trained to spot the difference between the two it can be fatal. They both seem the same but the difference is slightly rougher outer part of this counterfeit that you can only notice with a close up inspection and rubbing it between your fingers. The juice in this berry is very poisonous and will make one bite a week of throwing up and headaches.

In the distinction of a true believer yes it can sometimes be difficult to discern the difference of the two and for those who do not have the discernment should not attempt it unless God himself prompts them too but a single counterfeit in the church is like a cancer that you don't even recognize what it's doing to the body until you see the major signs and it's already done severe damage and to assume that we cannot discern is dangerous. Not everyone is gifted with such discernment and this discernment also ties in with how well you know God's voice and what fruits to look for or not.
Yes there's a very fine line between judging and discerning someones fruits.
 

Slayer

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Jul 23, 2018
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#29
wow..... I mean if I was pastor sure I wouldn't marry two people of the same sex but to reject from entry of the church? I don't remember Jesus rejecting anyone from hearing his words and even though it fell on deaf ears he even tried to teach nicodemus when he came to him in private.

I don't think a pastor should reject such people from the church I think he should invite them into it after all is that not what we as Christians are to do? I think if a pastor was to be used by God he could very well change these people.
Sorry I didn't explain it properly, they weren't denied entry into our Church services. They attended every week for around two months before they asked for membership, and that was denied to them because they weren't prepared to stop practicing homosexuality.
 

Blain

The Word Weaver
Aug 28, 2012
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#30
Yes there's a very fine line between judging and discerning someones fruits.
Yes this is very true but there are those who don't know the difference
 

Blain

The Word Weaver
Aug 28, 2012
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#31
Sorry I didn't explain it properly, they weren't denied entry into our Church services. They attended every week for around two months before they asked for membership, and that was denied to them because they weren't prepared to stop practicing homosexuality.
Oh I see my mistake :)
 

Slayer

Active member
Jul 23, 2018
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#32
In the end what matters is God knows.
Turn on the television and we are apt to witness thousands of people gathered at different church locations thinking themselves in the presence of a true Christian.

Peter was a true Christian. He denied Christ three times. But his story is a blessing because it renounces the idea that we can do something that will cause God to cast us out of his grace. So there is that.

Live your life in Christ. Be the example of the faith that saved you. That's what we're responsible for in the end. Though we're not to ignore blatant falsehoods when they make themselves known to us. In the end though, what God knows is what matters. And when we're no longer matter and get to Heaven we'll know who among those we did know in this life really were true. Or not. Because the untrue could be one of us.

. I've read enough posts on forums where sisters or brothers post they doubt if God knows them or if they are truly saved. God knows. That is literally in the end all that matters.
I agree 100% that God knows who every single true believer is and who the false ones are. But I'm not sure if it's possible for the individual to be 100% sure of their salvation, that's a hard question because we don't really know if we will remain faithful till the end. Even if we feel sure in our faith, my greatest fear is the possibility that we may fall away at some point in our life.
 

mcubed

Senior Member
Dec 20, 2013
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#33
How can we distinguish between a true believer and someone who claims to be Christian but are not truly converted.

None of the Disciples knew that Judas was a Devil, they thought he was a true Christian.

There are some who live as true Christians for most of their lives, only to be exposed as false believers by committing some grievous sin that no true believer would commit.

There are also those who became Christians at an older age after living very sinful lives, they also have a strong testimony but we can't be sure that they are genuine either.

I don't think it's possible to distinguish the true believers from the false, only God knows who they are. So I believe we need to treat everyone as brothers and sisters until they prove otherwise.

We cannot that is why only G-d can judge who is saved and who is not. But we judge the fruit as in "who" we want to hang out with.

I have had times in my Christian life if I would have died I would have gone to heaven because I was/am saved. The first year after my divorce I hooked up with a man that sold pot. My best friend (Christian) told me if you have people in your life like this we can not be friends. She was right. I did not want to be alone after almost 15 years of marriage and was willing to take the sudo.

Because she had enough guts to say, because of your actions we cannot be friends, G-d worked with me, we split, has just been me and G-d since.... Which is alll go with me!!!!

She left Biblically. But Messiah NEVER LEFT!!!!! Who do you think was incharge of the whole thing!?!
 

rlm68

Active member
Jul 23, 2018
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#34
I have been taken advantage of by people in the Church, I'm an Automotive Technician, they use me to repair their cars and sometimes they don't pay me. I seem to get sucked in by false Christians, I don't mind helping people in need but some of these "brothers" are quite well off so it's not like they can't afford to pay me.

I'm weary of everyone now, I have a guilty till proven innocent attitude which is not healthy.

What matters is that God knows what is happening. I knew a preacher who whenever he went some place with others expected them to buy his food, cover his costs, etc. When my grandmother passed away, he just tagged along. He was fed by my family and his accommodations were taken cared for. I saw him ripping us off. I finally asked him, what was his problem? He answered, I am anointed of God and deserve to be treated as such. About 18 months later, he died horribly from cancer and was alone when he died.

God knows and that is all that matters. If we are done wrong, we give it to God.

And I agree (like the man I mentioned), if they truly were of God and anointed, they would be a blessing unto us, not a curse. But don't take matters into your hands, give it to God. He will settle the score!!
 

KALYNA18

Senior Member
Oct 25, 2016
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#35
The pastor of a Church my friend used to attend left his wife and children to go and live with a much younger woman. Nobody believed that he was capable of doing such a thing, he was having the affair for quite a while before it was discovered then he left his family and the Church and he now lives with his girlfriend and preaches in another Church.

He came across as a genuine man of God and a great father and husband, so everyone was shocked to the core.

We have a guy in our Church who spent over 20 years in prison, he has a very powerful testimony. Most of his family and friend had written him off as lost forever, but from all accounts he is a true Christian.

So we never know who God will save, the thief on the cross was saved in the final moments of his life. It's very easy to look at some peoples lives and think there's no hope for them, or they are so deceived by false religion that they will remain blind for the rest of their life. but all things are possible with God so we must treat everyone as if they are Gods people no matter how sinful their lives are.
Amen, you shall know them by their fruits, but that is so not pure to do what people especially those you think would know better do. I listen to what it says, you shall know them by their fruit. If you look at these 9 fruits, it is hard, really hard to keep, it your roots in Christ are not rooted and grounded. Just take a situation, that needs gentleness, when you want to explode, love is unconditional, some don't know what that is.
 

KALYNA18

Senior Member
Oct 25, 2016
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#36
What matters is that God knows what is happening. I knew a preacher who whenever he went some place with others expected them to buy his food, cover his costs, etc. When my grandmother passed away, he just tagged along. He was fed by my family and his accommodations were taken cared for. I saw him ripping us off. I finally asked him, what was his problem? He answered, I am anointed of God and deserve to be treated as such. About 18 months later, he died horribly from cancer and was alone when he died.

God knows and that is all that matters. If we are done wrong, we give it to God.

And I agree (like the man I mentioned), if they truly were of God and anointed, they would be a blessing unto us, not a curse. But don't take matters into your hands, give it to God. He will settle the score!!
That is the problem, if we only read our bibles. It says, cursed is the man who puts his confidence in the arm of flesh. We don't replace a man, above God, Jesus, or the holy Spirit. The kingdom of God is within you, bv.
 

OstrichSmiling

Well-known member
Jun 17, 2018
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#37
I agree 100% that God knows who every single true believer is and who the false ones are. But I'm not sure if it's possible for the individual to be 100% sure of their salvation, that's a hard question because we don't really know if we will remain faithful till the end. Even if we feel sure in our faith, my greatest fear is the possibility that we may fall away at some point in our life.
Well said. Trials and travails . Such is the story of Job. Put there I think to give us assurance through the hardest times. If Job could remain faithful without question in all he endured, what does our life suffer in comparison that we cannot? Blessings. :)
 
Sep 3, 2016
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#38
So this parable tells us that we must patiently wait for the Lord of the harvest to judge the false brethren. It's a hard lesson to learn for us in the 21'st century where everything is instant, we want to see instant justice and results.
This is why we as followers of Christ must teach God's prescribe order of victory (Romans 8:2) with kindness and graciousness so we (Christians) don't enter into the sin of sectarianism; believing that if you are not associated with me, you are not saved, or else, at the best, a second-class Christian, as if there were such a thing (Luke 9:49-50). No effort is to be made to hinder anyone from attempting to do the Work of God even if they disagree.

JSM notes
 

Adstar

Senior Member
Jul 24, 2016
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#39
How can we distinguish between a true believer and someone who claims to be Christian but are not truly converted.

None of the Disciples knew that Judas was a Devil, they thought he was a true Christian.

There are some who live as true Christians for most of their lives, only to be exposed as false believers by committing some grievous sin that no true believer would commit.

There are also those who became Christians at an older age after living very sinful lives, they also have a strong testimony but we can't be sure that they are genuine either.

I don't think it's possible to distinguish the true believers from the false, only God knows who they are. So I believe we need to treat everyone as brothers and sisters until they prove otherwise.
Find out if they believe what Jesus said is truth..
Find out if they trust alone in the Atonement Jesus secured for their salvation..

So if they believe Jesus and trust in what Jesus did for them then they are a Christian..
 

Slayer

Active member
Jul 23, 2018
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#40
Find out if they believe what Jesus said is truth..
Find out if they trust alone in the Atonement Jesus secured for their salvation..

So if they believe Jesus and trust in what Jesus did for them then they are a Christian..
Most nominal Christians would say yes to all of those questions. But they will add things like, "you must remain obedient to he end" and all kinds of other requirements. They refuse to accept that Jesus did everything necessary to save everyone who believes in Him for the forgiveness of their sin.

I believe it goes even further than that, I believe God chose to save a certain number of people before He created the world. Not just a group called the Church, but individuals who He knew before they were born. So I take God at His Word when He said, that His elect were chosen before He laid the foundations of the world.