{This post is an offshoot of thoughts concerning one of my  Pastor’s sermons:  “Operation Liberation”}

Father & Son

Father & Son (Photo credit: jeroenadema)

Many people claim the name “Christian”, but not all of them have a real relationship with the Father.  I struggled with this for much of my life, wondering how you could really know the difference.  I don’t wish to judge something that is a matter between God and that person, so how do I discern the real from the fake or the “I think I’m real” person?  As always, the answer is right there in the Bible.

 

John 8 shares a confrontation between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day.  The first part of the passage (1 – 12) talks about the woman who was taken in adultery and brought before Jesus for stoning.  Jesus, of course, turns the tables and frees the woman — from the consequence of her sin and from the bondage of her sin.  For the religious leaders, this is one more nail in the coffin for Jesus in their eyes.  Their eyes were blinded to the beautiful picture of grace in this passage.  Even His follow-up statement (12) “I am the light of the world…” didn’t penetrate their dark hearts.

 

In the rest of the passage, the confrontation continues.  Jesus amazes in how He  turns their words back on them every time, thus building their frustration and their envy.  In my earlier years, I used to keep books in the bathroom.  No, not to read in the usual way.  I kept them there for something to do when I was locked in to keep from getting killed by my brother till the parents got home.  You see, I was often his babysitter (4 years difference), and I could out talk him till the cows come home (not amount of talk, but come backs…).  He would get so frustrated that he would go after me with whatever was available.  Once it was a hammer!  He told me years later that he knew he was never going to win a war of words, so he would get physical.   {He never won anyway 🙂  I was fast and had an escape plan; if parents arrived home first–he got a spanking; if sister arrived home first–he got the snot beat out of him–no dysfunction there, right?} The religious leaders also turned to violence when words failed.

 

But I digress!  The religious leaders tried again.  {You would think they’d learn not to mess with Him!}  In verses 13-18, they question Jesus’ qualifications and He trounces them one more time.  In verse 19, Jesus lures them in for another trouncing and they bite.  “Where is thy Father?”

 

[37] I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. [38] I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. [39] They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. [40] But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. [41] Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. [42] Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. [43] Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. [44] Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

 

Jesus leads them by asking who they belong to (who’s your father?), pointing out that their actions and attitudes point to a different father than the one they claim.  He tells them their lack of love for Him and the truth, plants them firmly as the children of the devil.  As these were considered the most godly men of the time, this must have shocked the socks off of them!

 

How do your actions and attitudes measure up?  If Jesus asked you, “Who’s your daddy?”  How would you respond?  Would your life give testimony that your father is God or would it tell a different tale?

Anyone can talk the talk and manage to seem “Christian”, but God can see into their innermost parts.  He knows those who belong to Him.

Do you?  Can you discern when someone is truly a child of God? 

I find the closer I walk with God the easier it is to discern when someone may not be genuine.  Since I can’t know the heart, I can’t be sure, but by piling up the evidence, I can make a determination as to how much trust to have in this person.

God wants us to know we are children of His.  He also wants us to be able to discern the spiritual parentage of others in our life.  He may want us to witness to them, or He may want us to beware of them.

 

World’s view:                                                                       God’s view:

Highly religious                                                                           Empty service for man’s approval

Kept the law (attempted to)                                                     White-washed graves

Tried to make sure others kept the law                                 Legalists seeking to bind others

Dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s                                      Didn’t love Jesus or God’s truth

Saw themselves as righteous (and above others)                Saw their self-righteous pride

 

 

 

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