When I was a young man, I swore off religion. Completely. Why? I was raised Catholic and served as an altar boy. One day, as I looked at the congregation, I thought to myself, “If all this stuff about Jesus is true, why aren’t the people in the streets telling others about it?” It was evident to me that their minds were a thousand miles away from where they needed to be. Why were they there? They were hypocrites.
Then I looked at the priest and thought, “If this stuff is true, why isn’t HE excited about it?” Of course, he wasn’t. He was simply earning his paycheck. He was like the rest. Hypocrites.
The brutal truth is that most people who call themselves Christians aren’t excited about Jesus. Oh, they may be very religious, but they aren’t excited about Jesus. They may be quick to point out your sin yet turn blind eyes to theirs. Hypocrites.
Jesus says, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) What does that mean? When asked, most will say they are not. Many others will say that they are, but they don’t look any different than the rest of the world. Sure, they may be good people, but there are also lots of good people who don’t believe in Jesus.
You probably know someone who is born again. How would you know? This person is dramatically changed. There will be a story of deep repentance and a dramatic change in the course of their life. They will talk about Jesus and what he has done for them. They will study their bibles. You will notice a sense of peace, especially if you had known them before.
They will also share the gospel. What is that? It’s the story of Jesus and includes the dreadful condition of our sin as well as the only means of escaping the wrath to come: faith in Jesus. Beware of those who only tell you part of the story. Hypocrites leave out important parts of the story. True Christians understand the full story and are unashamed to share it.
Who Do You Trust?
Pay no attention to hypocrites who call themselves Christian. Ask them, flat out, why they haven’t warned you of the wrath to come. This should terribly break a true Christian. The hypocrite will talk all around it. You’ll know. Please don’t misunderstand; a true Christian will still have sin in their life, but it will be extremely troublesome to them. Ask them about it. Don’t be afraid. Ask them about their struggle with their besetting sin. If they laugh it off and say, “Everybody sins,” then you know your dealing with a hypocrite. If it looks like they are going to weep, well, then you know you’ve touched onto something deep. The conversation could get very interesting.
What do you do if you do get into a conversation with a genuine, born again Christian? Pay attention. Listen to what s/he has to say. They have a message that is far more important than anything else you have going on today. One day, perhaps even today, you and I will stand before our Creator and give account for what we have done on earth. No amount of good deeds will make up for our unbelief. In fact, our good deeds will be considered filth rags in the eyes of the Lord. Faith in Jesus is the only means of salvation. And, faith is evident by one being born again.