The media is lashing out at them, organizations refuse to invite them to their gatherings, some groups in which they have had membership in the past are ending their associations with them. Who are they? They are people who say they love God, Jesus, and claim to be Christians, although by the New Testament’s description of a Christian they are not. They are, for the most part, those who claim to love Jesus, but their claim is false because they believe in the doctrine of salvation by grace or faith only, when Jesus plainly said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). In 1 John 2:4 the apostle wrote if one says he knows God but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar. Jesus denies those belong to Him who claim they are saved by faith without works, but who instead cry in a voice lacking obedience, “Lord, Lord” (Matt. 7:21). He will tell them to depart from Him because He never knew them (Matt. 7:23). Those who are suffering for their false claims to be Christians do not believe Jesus declaration that one must be baptized to be saved and added to Him in His one church (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, 42,47; Eph. 4:4, etc.).
The sad condition of those who falsely claim to be Christians is made even sadder when they are isolated for claiming to be something they are not. Their punishment is twofold. They are punished by men who believe they are what they claim to be but or not. Second, because their claim is false, they will lose their souls on the day of judgment for not being New Testament Christians and members of the Lord’s church.
The above being said, is there not some truth to the idea that we should be ashamed that those who are not members of the Lord’s body are suffering at the hands of infidels for those things which members of the church should be—but are not—suffering for? It is the case that we live in a time when God, His Word, and faith in Him are under severe attacks, yet we seldom hear of one who is a member of the Lord’s church suffering publicly at the hands of men as do the impostors. As we consider the situation, we need to recall what Paul wrote to Timothy, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). If in these days pretenders are being uninvited, cast out, ridiculed, and even sued for damages, why aren’t we?
When Jude was constrained to write that we are to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3), he did so at a period of time when brethren were persecuted, cast into prison, and put to death for their faith in Christ. While it is true, we are not in quite as severe a time as they were in the days of Jude, we are not far from it, and we are close enough that if we were making the truth heard as loud as men are making error heard, we would be suffering far more than we are.
We need to raise our voices, let our lights shine, display the candles, wage the war against sin, and preach the truth in such a public way we will be called upon to defend it, and when we do, suffer for it.