Genuine Believers

“…and the sheep listen to his voice,
and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he puts all his own sheep outside, he goes ahead of them,
and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
However, a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him,
because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
John 10:4-5 (NASB)

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.
Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?
So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.”
Matthew 7:15-17 (NASB)

“3 By this we know that we have come to know Him,
if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says,
“I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments,
is a liar, and the truth is not in him;…
9 The one who says that he is in the Light
and yet hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now…
the one who does the will of God continues to live forever.
1 John 2:3-4; 9, 17 (NASB)

Many years ago, I was acquainted with a clever bank teller who could easily distinguish counterfeit from genuine paper money. Numerous times over many years he discovered counterfeit money in customer’s deposits. Few people who do not handle paper currency daily are able tell the difference.

In other realms of life distinguishing real from false can often be done easily. For example, a bogus email most people readily recognize and delete it lest they inadvertently open it and corrupt their computer.

Sadly, too many Christians unwittingly refuse to accept the biblical marks of genuine believers and in certain circumstances substitute unbiblical proof instead. What do I refer to? Well, I am speaking about people who insist that someone who made a profession of faith but then wander far from the path of obedience to the Lord is still considered to be a Christian. As long as they prayed a “sinner’s prayer” or “made their decision” they are regarded to be in a state of grace. Nowhere in the Bible are we taught that someone, who is far from the Lord is to be considered a child of God because they “made their decision”.

Jesus gives us several marks of a true or genuine Christian as we see in John 10:

  1. His sheep listen to His voice

  2. His sheep follow Him

  3. His sheep know His voice

  4. A stranger His sheep simply will not follow

  5. His sheep will flee from false shepherds

  6. His sheep do not know (listen to) the voices of strangers

So according to Jesus the marks of genuine Christians are sixfold in this passage. Are you willing to ignore the very clear, crystal clear teaching of Jesus on this critical subject? Or will you substitute your own idea of the evidence of a true Christian and ignore Jesus’ teaching? Our modern version of biblical teaching that usurps the plain teaching of Jesus for our own ideas is desperately wrong.

In 1 John we read of many of the distinguishing traits of Christian character. Some marks of a genuine believer according to John include obedience to the Lord 1 John 2:8-9, love for other Christians v. 10, doing the will of God v.17.

Never in the Bible can we find even one statement to the effect that if a sinner’s prayer is offered then that proves the person is a Christian. Hear what Jesus and John say and, if necessary, change your mind on this very critical matter of the evidence of true Christian character.

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