Friday, May 3, 2024

Imitation Christians

But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13 NLT)

When the iPhone was first released in 2007, Apple redefined the entire cell phone market. Phones had never looked that way before. And it wasn’t long until other companies introduced their own versions of the updated smartphone.

Whenever something is popular, there are always imitations.

Before the return of Jesus, the devil basically will flood the market with cheap imitations of the real thing. And it will be an effective ploy. In fact, some people will have a difficult time knowing the true from the false.

Maybe you’ve known people who were strong Christians and even influenced you to put your faith in Jesus Christ. But after some time passed, it became evident they weren’t the Christians you thought they were. Even worse, they were living double lives in complete contradiction of their professed faith.

Perhaps you thought, “Well, if they’re hypocrites, then I’m not going to be a Christian, either. I’m going to turn my back on this. They’re all just a bunch of phonies.”

And the devil would say in response, “Gotcha! You fell for my trap. You bought into what I was doing.”

That’s how things will be in the last days. People will be imitation Christians. They will appear to be something they really are not.

That is the idea Jesus conveyed in a story we call the parable of the wheat and the weeds. A farmer went out and planted wheat, but during the night, his enemy came and sowed weeds throughout the wheat. The problem was that if the farmer tried to pull out the weeds, it would uproot the entire crop.

So, the farmer instructed his workers, “Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn” (Matthew 13:30 NLT).

Likewise, there will be many people in the last days who believe, but there also will be many who fake their belief. They will sit side by side in the same churches. They will sing the same songs, read the same Bible, and say the same things to some degree. But in reality, these people won’t be Christians to begin with.

These won’t be believers who have gone astray. They will be people who never believed and were faking it from day one. In fact, the Bible says that will be one of the signs of the last days (see 2 Timothy 3:5).

That is how our world will be before the return of Jesus Christ. Both the best and the worst will be happening at the same time.

The good news is that God will be at work, and people will be coming to faith in Jesus Christ. The bad news is that Satan will be at work as well, seeking to undermine our faith. Until the Lord’s return, a spiritual battle will be raging. But God ultimately will have the victory over the devil and his kingdom.

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