Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3, N.K.J.V.)
Not everyone who carries the name “Christian” carries the name legitimately. While reports of how many professing “Christians” there are in the world consistently put the number at over 2 billion, that astoundingly high number cuts directly against two important facts. Fact #1 is: If there were truly 2 billion Christians in the world, the world wouldn’t be nearly as spiritually, morally, and ethically bankrupt as it is now. And fact #2 is: Jesus said the gate that leads to life (eternal life, spiritual life) is narrow, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:14).
Take my country, America, for example. Since abortion became legal here in 1973, we have aborted over 60 million babies in the wombs. Of course, those are just the deaths that have been reported. With abortion typically being a cash transaction, who could even begin to say how many babies have been killed “off the books”? This all happens in a country, mind you, that is supposedly a “Christian” nation, where virtually all of our Presidents and well over 90% of our Congressman since the birth of our nation have claimed to be Christians. Furthermore, the Supreme Court of our land, which was the Court that made abortion legal, has consistently been stocked since its inception with judges whose religious affiliation was listed as “Christian.” Obviously, something doesn’t add up in all this.
With so many people talking about love these days, let me share with you a simplistic thought about what real love looks like. In Romans 13:8-10, the apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of God, points out that the saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” by its very definition incorporates the commandment “You shall not murder.” That makes perfect sense to me. Does it to you? I mean, if we are going to talk about all the unloved in America, shouldn’t we start with the more than 60 million babies who never got the chance to draw their first breath before their hearts were purposely stopped? I guess their problem was that they weren’t consider to be anybody’s “neighbors,” right? Seriously, if all the professing “Christians” in America can’t even get in line with God’s thinking on abortion, how can we possibly hope to get in line with His thinking on anything else?
You see, the real problem, the source problem from which our other problems flow, is this: The number of authentically born-again Christians in America is profoundly lower than the number of professing Christians. Sure, we’ve got purportedly “Christian” people running around all over the place, but that’s not the same thing as having saved people running around all over the place. It’s not. It’s just not.
As for the demographics on these fake Christians — and in most cases these people are honestly deluded themselves as to their actual standing with God — we’re talking about people who are White, Black, Hispanic, Latino, Native American, Asian American, and any other ethnicity that could be put on the list. They are registered Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. They are rich, poor, and middle class. They are old, young, and middle-aged. They are conservative and liberal. Actually, the only thing they have in common is the fact that they are all religiously lost.
Harry Ironside, who was one of the greatest preachers that America ever produced, spoke of such people in his book, Changed By Beholding. Ingeniously, he illustrated the situation by comparing a chimpanzee to a human. His illustration is so perfect that I wouldn’t even begin to try to add anything to it. So, I’ll just offer it as the close to this post. Ironside wrote:
“A great many people make the mistake of trying to live the life before they receive the life. The hardest thing I know is to try to live the Christian life when you do not have it to live. There must be a Christian life first before you can exemplify and manifest it.
To try to live a Christian life when you have never been born again is just as hopeless as for a chimpanzee to try and live a human life. I have seen some chimpanzees that could copy things people do in a remarkable way. At a zoo in Philadelphia, they once said to me, ‘Come along and see a couple of your ancestors.’ I went along; there were two trained chimpanzees who had learned to mimic human beings to a remarkable degree. They wore clothes, sat at a table, ate, and drank, and in a clumsy way handled a knife and fork. When they got all through, they settled back and put cigarettes in their mouths, and a keeper lit them, and they looked to me exactly like a lot of our own people do when smoking cigarettes…
But although those chimps could do all those things, they did not know anything about real human life. They did not know anything of the principles controlling men and women. They were simply imitators. Many people imitate Christians and try to behave like them. They do not know anything of the power of the Christian life. They have never been born again. ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God’ (John 3:3).”