Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ From Fear of Counterfeits to Faith in the Real Thing

          There is a real danger in thinking that we need to be so different from the counterfeits that no one would ever suggest we were, you know, “one of them”. What we forget is that the world, the flesh, and the devil have conspired very strategically to be as close to the real thing as possible without actually being real.

          This means that, the real thing is also going to be very much like all the counterfeits in one way or another. As real money is very much like the best of the counterfeits, so the real truth of God is going to be very close to the best counterfeit versions of God.

          As soon as we start thinking that we need to be as far removed from counterfeits as possible so that no one associates us with “them”, we have fallen into the very trap the counterfeiters have set for us. When a fear-response moves us far away from the counterfeits, it also moves us away from the real thing, the true Lord Jesus Christ, and the true gospel of salvation.

          Our aim is not to act so different from the pretend Jesus that we are also acting different from the real Jesus, or to act so different from the counterfeit gospels that we are also living different from the real gospel. Our aim is to be so much like Christ that those who know Christ will know us in Christ. Our aim is to be so tuned to the truth of the gospel that those who are saved to worship God in spirit and in truth will walk with us in fellowship without regard for all those who say we look just like those “other” guys (whoever those other guys are).

          Paul gave us this picture that helps us stay true to the truth of Jesus even when naysayers, watchdog groups, and religious hypocrites threaten us with branding as cults, chameleons and counterfeits: For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.[1]

          There are always going to be those who are being saved, and those who are perishing. There will always be sinners repenting and putting faith in Jesus to the same gospel that causes religious hypocrites to turn their noses up at this Jesus who is a friend of sinners, calling him a counterfeit. There will always be “sinful” women weeping over Jesus’ feet in love and thankfulness that these feet carried such good news of forgiveness to their hearts, while the religious elite sit across the table with hearts too full of prideful disdain to realize that this one they think is a blasphemer is actually the real Savior for their world.

          Our aim cannot be to be so different from the counterfeit Jesus that we no longer are like Jesus. We cannot steer so far away from the counterfeit gospels that we turn away from the true gospel. We cannot recoil from counterfeit churches to such a degree that we leave Jesus’ true church just because of what people think we “look like”.

          Instead, we must seek to be filled up with the Holy Spirit of the Living God in all the realities described in the living words of God, and let those who are being saved discern the aroma of Christ in us as the fragrance from life to life. There are enough counterfeits leading people on the wide path of destruction. Let us be those who pursue the narrow way of “spirit and truth”, and “truth in love”, even if we are labeled as counterfeits for doing so. Being “real” in Christ will reap a real reward when Christ comes in his glory. As his word says, “But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his.’[2]

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)


[1] II Corinthians 2:15-16
[2] II Timothy 2:19

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