This is the beginning of the series Forms of False Christianity.
In this and subsequent posts, we will explore some different types of Counterfeit Christianity, and at the end discuss and define True Christianity.
Many of these pseudo Christianity types are frequently seen working conjointly.
We begin with Vague Christianity.
Jesus has a wonderful plan for your life if you just “accept” or “receive” Him.
Let Jesus into your heart and your life will be “better”.
The problem is, because the gospel presentation in America is so weak – pray this prayer, ask Jesus to come into your heart, you’re saved – so many people think they’re saved, but their heart, their desires – everything – has not been changed ever. And so you get them into a discipleship program, and you try to force them to walk like a sheep when they’re still a goat. It doesn’t work. So the first thing is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The evidence that you’re a Christian is not that you confess faith in Jesus or that you’re a part of some Christian ministry or anything. It’s that your affections have changed. They’re Godward. You love Jesus Christ.
In Hell’s Best Kept Secret (by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron), an analogy is given about a parachute and two airplane passengers, which describes well the deadliness of this form of “Christianity”.
Two men are seated in a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put it on as it would improve his flight. He’s a little skeptical at first because he can’t see how wearing a parachute in a plane could possibly improve the flight.
After a time he decides to experiment and see if the claim is true. As he puts it on he notices the weight of it upon his shoulders and he finds that he has difficulty in sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with the fact that he was told the parachute would improve the flight. So, he decides to give the thing a little time.
As he waits he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him, because he’s wearing a parachute in a plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated. As they begin to point and laugh at him and he can stand it no longer, he slinks in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fill his heart, because, as far as he was concerned, he was told an outright lie.
The second man is given a parachute, but listen to what he’s told. He’s told to put it on because at any moment he’d be jumping 25,000 feet out of the plane. He gratefully puts the parachute on; he doesn’t notice the weight of it upon his shoulders, nor that he can’t sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without that parachute.
Let’s analyze the motive and the result of each passenger’s experience. The first man’s motive for putting the parachute on was solely to improve his flight. The result of his experience was that he was humiliated by the passengers; he was disillusioned and somewhat embittered against those who gave him the parachute. As far as he’s concerned it’ll be a long time before anyone gets one of those things on his back again.
The second man put the parachute on solely to escape the jump to come, and because of his knowledge of what would happen to him without it, he has a deep-rooted joy and peace in his heart knowing that he’s saved from sure death. This knowledge gives him the ability to withstand the mockery of the other passengers. His attitude towards those who gave him the parachute is one of heart-felt gratitude.
Now listen to what the modern gospel says.
It says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness.” In other words, “Jesus will improve your flight.” So the sinner responds, and in an experimental fashion, puts on the Savior to see if the claims are true.
And what does he get? The promised temptation, tribulation, and persecution. The other passengers mock him. So what does he do? He takes off the Lord Jesus Christ, he’s offended for the word’s sake (Mark 4:17), he’s disillusioned and somewhat embittered, and quite rightly so. He was promised peace, joy, love, fulfillment, and lasting happiness, and all he got were trials and humiliation. His bitterness is directed toward those who gave him the so-called “good news”. His latter end becomes worse than the first: another inoculated and bitter backslider.
Saints, instead of preaching that Jesus improves the flight, we should be warning the passengers they’re going have to jump out of the plane. That it’s “appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). And when a sinner understands the horrific consequences of breaking God’s law, then he will flee to the
Savior solely to escape the wrath that’s to come.
And if we’re true and faithful witnesses, that’s what we’ll be preaching. That there is wrath to come; that God “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Why? “Because He has appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness” (vs. 31).
You see, the issue isn’t one of happiness, but one of righteousness. It doesn’t matter how happy a sinner is, how much he’s enjoying “the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25). Without the righteousness of Christ, he’ll perish on the day of wrath. “Riches profit not on the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death” (Prov. 11:4).
Peace and joy are legitimate fruits of salvation, but it’s not legitimate to use these fruits as a draw card for salvation. If we continue to do so, sinners will respond with an impure motive lacking repentance.
Now, can you remember why the second passenger had joy and peace in his heart? It was because he knew that parachute was going to save him from sure death. And as a believer, I have, as Paul says, “joy and peace in believing” (Rom. 15:13), because I know that the righteousness of Christ is going to deliver me from the wrath that’s to come.
When we believe in Jesus and follow Him, life on this earth tends to get more difficult. We endure trials and persecution.
If we try to market Christianity – with promises of a “wonderful plan” or “better life” (on earth) for the lives of Christ’s followers – many will end up disappointed and upset. “Jesus didn’t work for me.”
Satan (the father of lies) has no problem with this false gospel message. He’s okay with Vague Christianity. “Try Jesus out. He’ll improve your life. If you’ve got marriage problems or a broken heart or financial struggles, you need Jesus.”
The reality is, even if we’ve got everything this world has to offer, we still need Jesus.
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
No one is righteous apart from Jesus.
as it is written,
“There is none righteous, not even one;
He was sinless, but He became sin on our behalf. He took all our sins upon Himself. He suffered and died in our place.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21
The price of sin is death, but Jesus “paid our fine” so that we could be set free and be made righteous.
The price of our sin has been paid, so that if we believe in Jesus we will have eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Only when we realize what we are escaping from (sin, death, judgment in our sins) can we fully appreciate what we are going to – life, salvation, freedom, and Jesus the Savior.
Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.
We have escaped slavery which ends in death.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.