2 Timothy 3:5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
What do I mean by Paper Christian?
When I first became a Christian in 1971, in evangelical circles, when one referred to a Christian, you were referring to someone who had been born again of the Spirit of God, someone who had been regenerated by the Holy Ghost and had trusted in Jesus Christ by grace, through faith.
When one heard the term Babylon, we all knew who it was referring to.
Babylon was false religion.
THis referred to obvious cults such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Theosophy but it also referred to main stream religions like, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, Bhuddism, Hinduism, Islam etc.
The Anglican, protestant church on paper had the truth but was also riddled with cultural Christianity.
It is not difficult for a Christian with some Bible knowledge and understanding, to recognise false teaching, when it is checked against the scriptures.
However, when a religion has the fundamentals of Christianity in their statements of faith, it becomes more difficult to determine who the real Christians are.
For example, the Church of England has a statement known as “The 39 Articles”.
If you read this statement, you would probably agree with almost all of it. Yet in reality, adherents to the Church of England probably do not.
The Roman Catholic Church holds to certain fundamental doctrines such as the Deity of Christ and the virgin birth but it also contains much heresy.
On paper, they have the right doctrine but it is denied in the experiences and lives of many people in those denominations.
Today, it is more and more difficult to determine who make up the true Body of Christ.
The Bible speaks of a great apostasy (a falling away) in the last days, before the second coming of Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you,
2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
Now, the fundamental question here is, who are the ones that fall away?
We know from scripture that a regenerated, born again believer will never be lost.
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
John 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
Romans 8:37-39 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.~
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Here is the proof of a finished work: All in the past tense. Our salvation is a completed work.
Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Therefore, if someone knows what the truth is and falls away, then it must be, that that person, even though they knew the truth, in fact never acted on that truth and that truth was never appropriated in their life.
In other words, they held the truth in contempt, they were never regenerate, never truly born again.
We know from scripture that Jesus said, "you must e born again".
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
They were “Paper Christians”. Or, to put it another way, Christians on paper only.
If a man and a woman marries, signs a certificate of marriage but never consummates that marriage but just live together and do not have a true marital relationship. Then they are married but only on paper. In the law, that marriage can be annulled. They have never (in the Biblical sense) known one another, (become one).
There is a difference between someone that professes Christ and someone who possesses Christ.
Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
This is appropriation. Believing in the heart, not just confessing with the mouth.
To appropriate Christs death in our lives, means that the truth of that fact is not just head knowledge but it enters our heart. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgement and we are regenerated and born again. We then can confess with our mouth that Jesus is the Christ.
Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
To believe is to put ones trust in, to rely upon, to have faith in.
Salvation is not head knowledge, not just knowing on paper but trusting in.
Ephesian 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
When the Apostasy comes in the last days, those that will fall away and follow the antichrist, will be the unbelievers, those that do not belong to Jesus Christ. These are made up of those in Egypt (typifying the the world) and those in Babylon (typifying False religions).
It will not matter what they claim, they are not amongst the elect.
Matt 7:22 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?’
23. And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Remember the ten virgins, five were wise and five were foolish.
All were virgins, all had lamps, however only the five wise virgins had oil, (a type of the Holy Spirit).
The five foolish virgins looked very much like the five wise virgins, However, although they were waiting for the bridegroom and had lamps and very likely would have been dressed like the others, there was one great difference, they had no oil.
These five foolish virgins represent the professing church, their lamps are of darkness, they have not seen the light, they are not walking in the light, and their dress looks like the correct attire but is of self righteousness and not the righteousness of Christ. More importantly, they had no oil, the Holy Spirit is not in them.
When the bridegroom came, the five foolish virgins weren’t ready and they did not get to go to the wedding.
When they knocked on the door, the bridegroom said I never knew you.
So, we see, there is true Christianity and there is Cultural Christianity.
So we see here, two sets of people, one group that appears to be in the faith, maybe doing and saying all the right things and from all appearances, look like Christians, they talk like Christians and act like Christians, but are not true Christians.
Just as our text says: 2 Timothy 3:5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
The Greek for form her is: morphōsis
From G3445; formation, that is, (by implication) appearance, semblance.
An appearance of godliness.
These are the ones that depend on their own efforts. They may have been baptised (christened), they may be church goers, born into a Christian environment or a Christian family but they have not got a real personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This is why when they knocked on the door, the bridegroom said the tragic words, “I never knew you”.
They were professors, not possessors.
Read Blog: https://jeffreyunsworth.wixsite.com/teleiosbibleblogs/copy-of-100-the-ten-virgins
Those that have been truly saved, born again are one with Christ. They are in a relationship with Christ, they are part of His body.
This marriage is not only a marriage on paper but a real marriage.
Jesus said, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me”
John 10:14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.
Jesus sheep are those that have heard the truth and not just heard but have come to the knowledge of the truth.
The word is not just on paper but it has been written on our hearts and minds.
Hebrews 10: 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First He says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord. I will put My Laws in their hearts and inscribe them on their minds."
17 Then He adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”…
This is a quote from Jeremiah and it goes on to say: .
I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.”
This is in contrast to those that read the scripture, know what it says but it is never made it real in their lives.
2 Tim 3:7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
This is why the Apostle Paul said to the Corinthians.
2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.