How can one know a false Christ?
Similar article: Test criteria, saved or lost?
There is also a video with audio for this article: How do I recognize a real Christian?
Distinguishing Features of True and False Christians
The Son of God Jesus Christ warned his followers, the real Christians, against being misled by the false Christians. When his disciples asked what the signs of Jesus' return were, Jesus replied: Be careful that nobody seduces you! Because many will come under my name and say: I am the Christ! And they will seduce many. Matth. 24.4-5
God's Word urges Christians to distinguish between real and false
Through God's Word we can learn to distinguish real Christians from fake ones. It is about a distinction according to divine standards, not according to human standards. You can also read our article on this topic: How do I recognize a Christian?
The more we learn the scriptures, the better we learn to distinguish real from false Christians. Those who do not want to recognize the Bible as God's word and do not read the Bible themselves will not learn to distinguish between real and false Christians.
The main question is: which belief, which Christianity is based on realistic, verifiable facts and which is not? Which Christians are rightly named and which are wrongly called Christians? Which belief leads to eternal life and which does not?
Paul, too, called by Jesus Christ as an apostle (= messenger) to preach the Gospel among non-Jews, repeatedly admonished real Christians to be vigilant against false Christians: For you were once darkness; but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light! For the fruit of the Spirit is all goodness and righteousness and truth. So examine what is pleasing to the Lord, and have no fellowship with the sterile works of darkness, but rather uncover them; for what is done secretly by them is shameful even to say. But all of this becomes manifest when it is revealed by the light; because everything that is revealed is light. That is why it is said: Wake up who sleep and rise from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you! Eph 5: 8-14
In this article, we describe some typical characteristics used to distinguish true and false Christians. The list is far from complete. It shows some key differences between real and false Christianity.
Comparison of characteristics of real and false Christians
Real Christians belong wholeheartedly to their Lord Jesus Christ. Because only he who really belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ is a real Christian.
False Christians do not belong to Jesus Christ with all their hearts, but rather, for example, churches, organizations, faiths, associations etc ... They justify their Christianity by belonging to an organization instead of Jesus Christ. They are wrongly called Christians because Christ is not their Lord.
We recognize real Christians by the fact that they speak with great love and preferentially of their Lord Jesus Christ. Because they know that he bought them dearly with his blood.
False Christians do not speak of Jesus as their Lord, as their everything. Other things, often very pious and noble-sounding, are in the foreground with them. The Lord Jesus Christ is not the focus and the driving force of your thoughts and actions.
Real Christians know that Jesus Christ is the way and the truth and the life (Jn 14: 6), so that contact with Jesus and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for their sins is the only possibility of saving souls that God has given us.
False Christians do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior. They have not yet recognized faith in him as their only chance for the forgiveness of their sins and for eternal life.
Real Christians know that they cannot be saved on their own, e.g. by living a decent life. They know that they are sinners and will only be saved by God's grace.
False Christians see no need to recognize sins and have not confessed them to the Lord Jesus.
Real Christians are born again by God's Spirit. Jesus Christ said: whoever is not born again cannot see the kingdom of God. (Joh 3,3-7)
False Christians do not know the new birth (life reversal that follows conversion to the real Jesus). They either follow a false Jesus and / or think that there are other ways to God without conversion to Jesus Christ. Hence, they do not live by the guidance of the Spirit of God.
True Christians know that without their Shepherd, Jesus Christ, like all human beings, they are ungodly, weak, blind, and forever lost. Hence they look to their Shepherd and follow him wherever they go.
False Christians are without a shepherd, like all who do not belong to the Lord Jesus.
Real Christians are eager for the healthy milk (= teaching) of the Word of God and like to read it.
False Christians sometimes use the Word of God for religious purposes or rituals, such as is done in the Catholic Papacy, for example. However, they deny (misjudge) its power and truth. Only he who believes and does what is written in God's Word with the help of the Spirit of God is a true Christian.
Real Christians live by the standards of God's Word because they love the Lord Jesus. Continuing to live in sin is not possible for them.
False Christians do not live according to it, since this is not possible without the new birth through God's Spirit (result of faith in Jesus).
Real Christians live from the word of God, which is valid for the present day, for the children of God. You are adhering to the teaching about church in the New Testament.
Some false Christians misleadingly urge Christians to keep the commandments of the Old Testament (e.g. keeping the Sabbath), God's covenant with the people of Israel. They look down with disdain on genuine Christians who are not misled by this.
Real Christians know that they are saved, not through their achievements, piety, or works, but only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for their sins.
False Christians have no assurance of salvation. They hope that the distant God (often called "the good Lord" for example) in whom they believe will be gracious to them and that they are good enough not to be judged by God. They overlook the sinful nature and absolute forlornness of all human beings in the face of the living, holy God. Many of them also do not believe that there is an eternal hell and do not know why God created hell.
Real Christians follow the real Lord Jesus Christ. They love Jesus Christ more than anything, so they listen to his commandments.
False Christians do not follow the Bible but the guidelines, teachings, rules etc .. of people, organizations (e.g. a certain church doctrine or religious doctrine). Therefore, they often ask real Christians about their church affiliation and wonder when the answer is, "I belong only to the Lord Jesus Christ".
Real Christians are often wrongly accused of fanaticism and fundamentalism (which is usually associated with violence). It is exactly the other way around: the real Christians are the most peaceful people there are, because God's spirit (God is love) is in them. Therefore, they love not only their friends but also their enemies and would never resort to violence, as this is contrary to the will of the Lord Jesus.
In some cases among false Christians there are violent fanatics who are incited by religious (godless) zeal.
Real Christians are often persecuted for their belief in Jesus and accept disadvantages (afflictions) for the salvation of their souls. So it is also promised to the true followers of Jesus in the Word of God.
False Christians are rarely persecuted, but in some countries they are.
Real Christians obey the rules of state authorities and live practical charity for their fellow human beings. If they are led to sin or if they are compelled to sin by law, they pay more attention to the word of the Lord than to the opinion of people.
False Christians can at first sight lead a good, blameless life. Yet they are lost because they lack the forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus.
Real Christians confess their sins to the Lord Jesus Christ and he washes them clean of all sins.
False Christians do not have full knowledge of sin. Some satisfy their conscience through religious rituals such as confession and pious prayer techniques or keeping commandments which, according to the Bible, do not apply today. Most false Christians think they are good enough before God if they live well enough in their own eyes.
True Christians live with the perspective up, in anticipation of the glorious eternity of the kingdom of God. They are not earthly minded, i.e. in their striving and thinking they are not primarily attached to the condition here on earth.
False Christians have no view of eternity. Above all, they live in the now and here, they strive for earthly improvements (possibly world improvement) and good earthly experiences. They are earthly minded.
Real Christians are ready to accept disadvantages for their faith, such as being persecuted, despised, hated, excluded, and in danger of death. They know that their body belongs to Jesus Christ.
False Christians would not risk their lives for the faith because their life and limb belong to them, not to Jesus Christ.
Real Christians recognize false, mystical, occult or unbiblical religious assemblies and churches by testing against the Word of God. They leave such meetings and meet other genuine Christians to pray and strengthen their faith.
False Christians do not realize that most of the great churches that exist do not belong to the Lord Jesus and therefore take part in their meetings and rituals without a guilty conscience.
True Christians do not follow their own will, but rather submit their will to the will of the Lord.
False Christians put their own will above the Lord's will. God's will can only be known by reading the Bible and living the word of God.
John 3:36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; but whoever does not believe the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
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