<span id=printer_friendly>Printer-friendly version</span>Printer-friendly versionSend to friendSend to friend

When we do door-to-door evangelism, we sometimes find ourselves caught in certain awkward situations. When we began introducing ourselves as Christians, the person suddenly became angry and refused to carry on the conversation. On further probing, we learnt that they had had bad encounters with Christians, either having been hurt by them or having witnessed poor testimonies of Christians. They made it clear that if being a Christian meant becoming like them, they would rather not believe in Jesus. From what has been said, we have to admit that there are instances when we do meet Christians who indulge in all sorts of worldly and sensual sins. So, are they the black sheep of the family or are there any other possible explanations?

The Lord speaks of these people in Matthew Chapter 7:

“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. … Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. ... Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Only a good tree is capable of bearing good fruit. This is the nature of life, just as how a type of tree bears a particular type of fruits, the type of life a person has is revealed in his daily living. A Christian who possesses the regenerated life of Christ will live a righteous and holy life; a person who has the sinful nature will live a life of corruption and sin. We cannot expect a person who has not been born again to live a righteous life, because he does not have the life of Christ in him and thus he is powerless to do so. Only the true believer who has inherited the life of Christ is capable of doing so.

Let us not be too quick to believe what another person says because anyone can claim to be a Christian. These evildoers are false believers. Many of them are ignorant; they do not know how they became Christians and what it means to be a Christian. Some of them are attracted to the good reputation that comes with being a Christian and they try to seek the approval of others by claiming to be believers even when they are not. Whatever the reason may be, they are sinners who have not come to the faith, have not been saved, and have not received the life of the Lord Jesus. Though they have taken on themselves the title of a Christian, they do not have the life of a true believer and continue to live a sinful life. The passage reminds us, “did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?” Clearly, even leaders and teachers of the church could be false believers. How can we then put the blame of the sins committed by these false believers on Jesus and Christianity?

Jesus makes a clear separation from these people saying, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” It does not matter how many things they have done in the name of Jesus; the Lord does not make any association with them for the Lord has never recognised them as His disciples. All they did were to exploit the name of Jesus. They are labelled as “evildoers” and the Lord tells us that by their “fruits” we can identify them. If a person claims to be a Christian but continues to indulge in sin, he is a false believer; he is like a bad tree that cannot bear good fruit. At no point in time did this person ever belong to the Lord, nor did the things done by him have anything to do with Jesus, hence we should not add his sins onto the Lord Jesus.