How to Discern if a Professing Christian Is Genuine

What is being a Christian like in actual experience? Just great? Harder than you thought? Confusing?

How to Discern if a Professing Christian Is Genuine

Postby Paul » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:34 pm

How do we know when we are dealing with a true Christian? Not all who call Christ Lord will enter the kingdom, and a person who seems to be a Christian may suddenly fall away.

Matthew 7:21-23 --
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
I John 2:19,20 --
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction (anointing) from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

On the other hand, the Lord does heal the backslidden.

Jeremiah 3:22 --
Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.
Isaiah 49:15 --
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

And we all sin, but the Lord forgives us, as long as we are seeking to be led by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 7:14-20 --
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow (understand) not: for what I would (want to do), that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto (agree with) the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Romans 8:1,2 --
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

We may be surprised in the end to see who is and who is not in heaven. The key to understanding who are the true people of God seems to be in the discernment of how the Holy Spirit is working in a person's life. A person may be sinning, but still looking to the Holy Spirit for forgiveness and help to overcome sin. And when people give up on God, it does not mean he has given up on them.

Note Titus 2:11,12 --
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

By God's grace we are brought into salvation, and the Holy Spirit keeps working with us in a learning process to overcome the ungodliness and lusts of the present world. The question to consider on whether someone is a genuine Christian is not, does that person practice sin in living, but can we discern the Holy Spirit working with what is going on. If the Holy Spirit always seems to be a part of what is happening in the person's life, always seems to be arranging things to bring about a certain conclusion, then it does not matter how bad the sin may be at any one time, when it all leads to a final and Christ-like transformation.

Therefore, to discern if a Christian is genuine, ask what is going on between that person and the Holy Spirit.
Paul
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