I know a little about what it is to be an imitation Christian because I was one for the first 43 years of my life. I am convinced that there are numberless individuals who are imitation Christians like I was and that there are multitudes of imitation churches that try to teach imitation Christians how to behave like the real thing. Often imitation Christians behave more like real Christians than the real Christians do. To my shame, when I myself was an imitation Christian I sometimes behaved more like a real Christian than I do now that I am a real Christian. I tried awfully hard to convince myself that I was a real Christian. Some imitation Christians who knew me before and after see no difference. Real Christians who knew me before and after do see the difference. I write this in the hope that some other imitation Christians might learn the truth about themselves. I shall try to describe what it was like for me when I was an imitation Christian.
I never had any assurance that my sins were forgiven. Sometimes I thought they might be and other times I feared that they were not.
Romans 8:16: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
I never had the witness of the Holy Spirit in my spirit that I was a child of God. Now I have that whenever I need it. The Bible was uninteresting and unhelpful to me. Now it is far and away my favorite book and far and away the most helpful book.
Psalms 119:97b: O how love I thy law!
I had never received Jesus into my heart. I was part of churches where no one ever told me that I needed to receive Him. In fact no one in those churches ever told me that they had received Jesus. I never heard a message on John 1:12 or John 3:3 in any of those churches. They are two of the most important verses in the Bible regarding salvation.
John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 3:3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
I never knew that I was not a child of God. I never knew that I needed to become one. Becoming a child of God is simply a different way to describe what it is to become born again. I had not been born again, I could not see the kingdom of God and I could not see that I was not a part of it. I was the same person after attending the imitation churches that I was before attending them.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
My life and behavior were the same after attending those churches as it was before. I never walked in newness of life because eternal life (new life) was not yet in me.
Romans 6:4: Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Like the Apostle Paul I love to tell others about the changes Jesus has made in me and my life and I love to hear about the changes He has made in other real Christians. Before I received Jesus I did not believe or enjoy the testimony of real believers. Do you believe and enjoy them?
2 Timothy 1:4-5: Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; 5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.