Summary: Types of Counterfeit Faith
Types of Counterfeit Faith (Rom. 3:27-31)
Illustration:Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.
Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of faith is to see what we believe.
1. What do you suppose are the types of counterfeit beliefs that try to imitate genuine saving faith? A counterfeit is an imitation of something genuine that attempts to deceive someone.
It is a sad thing to have to say, but there are many counterfeit Christians who are pretending to know the Lord, but lack genuine saving faith.
Even the best counterfeit faith that comes closely to resembling the kind of faith that justifies one before God is inadequate for getting someone into heaven.
Imposters are eventually exposed because their faith does not produce good fruit. Let us examine some of the different types of counterfeit faith so we can learn to distinguish between what is genuine from what is an imitation.
2. Paul talks about the type of faith that is based on good deeds. When writing to the Ephesians Paul makes it clear that a faith that relies on doing good is inadequate to meet God’s standards. He wrote, "For by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through your faith. And this salvation is not of yourselves (of your own doing) it came not through your own striving, but it is the gift of God." (Eph. 2:8,9)
Make it clear to anyone who is relying on their efforts, good works or personal sincerity is probably not a Christian. Only a person who has a faith that receives Christ’s free gift of forgiveness is true Christian.
Ask the Lord to help you show people how to stop trusting in their good deeds, their morality or their religious experiences to become righteous in God’s eyes.
3. Another type of counterfeit faith believes in right doctrine but not in redemption through Christ’s righteousness alone. Many denomination teach the necessity of faith plus additional requirements for salvation. James writes, "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble." (James 3:19)
Some people have an intellectual understanding of correct Biblical doctrine, but they may lack a conviction that brings one justification through Christ’s atoning blood. Faith that leaves out the conviction of the soul in Christ’s finished work on the cross is ingenuous.
Ask the Lord to help you show people how they can get beyond mere intellectual understanding to develop personal convictions about Christ’s redemptive work for their personal sins.
4. Counterfeit faith is also seen in some who say they believe and yet fail to show work through love. James wrote, "Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead." (James 3:17) If a person professes to believe in Christ but has no labor of love, their faith is counterfeit. Christ’s love in us causes one to demonstrate love through our good deeds. John also wrote, "But whoever has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart from him how does the love of God abide in him?" (I John 3:17)
Ask the Lord to help you give daily evidence through works of love to assure your hearts of your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
5. Counterfeit faith is also seen in foolish people who talk about faith yet it does not change their lifestyle. James wrote, "Are you willing to be shown proof, you foolish, unproductive and spiritually deficient fellow, that faith apart from good works is inactive and ineffective and worthless." (James 3:20) Unless a person’s faith is yielding qualitative and quantitative fruit, the faith is defective.
An idle, ineffective and insipid faith is merely an empty claim that yields no fruit. Too many people are deceiving themselves that their faith is actually alive when it is dead.
Nobody really wants to live an empty and meaningless existence.
Ask the Lord to help you bring people to the realization that their faith may be unproductive so they can lay hold of the saving faith that produces good fruit.
6. Paul also talks about a counterfeit faith that is based on faulty pride. Solomon once wrote, "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before stumbling." (Prov. 16:18)
When a person thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.
Pride is an over-exaggerated opinion of oneself that results in haughty behavior.
Many of Jews were so proud of their religious heritage they did not feel they needed this saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Do not let pride send you to hell. Humbling yourself before the mighty hand of God is a sure formula to be lifted up for all eternity. Ask the Lord to help you encourage others with the words of Peter, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourself before the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in the proper time." (I Pet. 5:5,6)