Just Pretending

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ – Matthew 7:21-23.

When I was growing up on the farm, I remember hearing an amazing thing about one of the bankers in the area.  The man had bought two new tractors, but he was not going to actually farm with them; instead, he bought them to depreciate their value. Somehow, he had found a way to improve his tax situation. He was pretending to the IRS that he was using those tractors to farm. Since then, I have heard about others who really don’t farm as we would think of it.

There are others who have an acre or two of land, and try to use that to claim falsely to the IRS that they are farmers. We would not think that these people were real farmers – would we? I think we could call these people pretend farmers. I wonder how many young people, who actually want to farm – how many of them plan to grow up to be pretend farmers? None of them. Of course not! If you’re going to farm, you plan to really farm. Spiritually, there are people who are similar to the pretend farmers.  We could call them pretend Christians. These pretend Christians say they are Christians, but they never do any of the things that real Christians do. They rarely if ever come to church, they don’t read their Bible, they don’t pray, they don’t witness, and they don’t serve.

Now there are some exceptions, because the pretend Christian will come to church, will read their Bible, will pray, and will witness, and will serve – If, someone they want to impress is watching.  Kind of like the relationship of the pretend farmer, and the IRS.

What does the Bible say about pretend Christians?  Jesus is talking about them in Matthew 7:21-23. In one of the most famous sermons ever preached, Jonathan Edwards at Enfield, Connecticut (July 8, 1741) used as his text Deuteronomy 32:35, and I think he was talking about pretend Christians. At least it was meant for the Israelites who were God’s people, and who were not living like God’s people. “Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them (Deuteronomy 32:35).” Edwards had these words that he spoke quietly to the people gathered there: “In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, who were God’s visible people, and who lived under the means of grace; but who, notwithstanding all God’s wonderful works towards them, remained void of counsel, having no understanding in them….” Edwards went on to say, “Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell on a rotten covering, and there are innumerable places in this covering so weak that they will not bear their weight, and these places are not seen. The arrows of death fly unseen at noon-day; the sharpest sight cannot discern them. God has so many different unsearchable ways of taking wicked men out of the world and sending them to hell….they have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it…the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them….” Edwards completed his sermon by saying, “Therefore, let everyone that is out of Christ now awake and fly from the wrath to come.”

If you have just been pretending to be a Christian, I would say to you as Edwards did, “…let everyone that is out of Christ now awake and fly from the wrath to come.”

(If you have just been pretending to be a Christian, I would say to you as Jonathan Edwards preached in 1741, “…let everyone that is out of Christ now awake and fly from the wrath to come.”)

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