Essential “C’s” of the faithful
When considering the “faithful”, are there words that can help identify them?
There are four main words that can properly describe those who are seeking to be the faithful. This is according to the Bible and from today’s perspective and these words start with the letter “C”. They help to identify those who are seeking to be the New Testament people of faith and obedience to God. Do some of these words quickly come to your mind? Let us examine each one to see what makes the faithful truly faithful.
We find in Gal 3:6-9 it says; “just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." (7) Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. (8) And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." (9) So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.”
The true COG is a Spiritual organism, as you will find explained through various ways and pieces of material on this website. It is not just a man-made organization or corporate body that claims to be the COG, as the faithful are scattered today but they will have these four C’s as a common factor of life. Christ said many would come claiming that HE, Jesus is the Christ—but would be deceivers of the many. (Matt.24:5) However the previous verse to Christ’s own true disciples, was a warning not to be deceived by what the many may profess; V.4 "Take heed that no one deceives you.” (NKJ—unless noted other-wise.)
So it is important not only to be able to recognize those who have and strive to maintain all four “C’s”—but the fruits can be seen and will become visible in their lives as well, if we are looking for them. Some are clever and subtle enough to deceive even the true Christian for a time, but God will make the truth come out eventually. People even deceive themselves into believing they are Christians—even when they know they are not really following the word of God—hence the worlds brand of “Christianity” does not actually follow Christ and the teachings in the Word of God. Now I know that no one is perfect and we all slip from time to time and have to repent, but even that is a part of our Spiritual growth when we recognize it and take the proper action. God grants repentance and forgiveness, as these verses signify; Acts 5:31-32 "Him (Christ) God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 "And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." (See Rom.2:4 & Eph.1:7) So let us begin to examine these 4 C’s, and I start with the first being “conviction”.
Those of faith must come to the conviction that God’s ways are always right, and then strive to go that way!
That means they will have come to being convicted of their own need for forgiveness. The dictionary definition of this word means “being convicted” & “a firm opinion or belief”. There are two opposing mindsets that become evident when the Word of God is rightly applied to the obvious choices and deeds people in our society have to make in everyday life. People will either choose to follow what they think is right or they will compromise with it, even though some will make a pretense of being Christian, but with excuses or reason around the Word of God, to justify their actions. This is not true and heartfelt conviction of being wrong and sinning. Those with any real conviction come to know they need to believe and obey God (His Commandments) and His Word — you will see it in their pattern of life and in the choices they make from then on. Christ said in John 3:20-21 "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
We find examples in Scripture, that when people who really come to believe the Bible will also become “convicted” by it that they need forgiveness and change. James 2:8-10 “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well; (2nd Great Commandment) 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” So it is the Law of God that convicts a person of sin. (1John 3:4) A true servant of God will also use the Word of God to convict those they are trying to help. Titus 1:9 “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”
So those who become the faithful will first be called of God (John 6:44) and then taught by Him through the Word (V.45) because they have come to the conviction they are sinners and need His direction and help to change. (2 Cor.7:10 “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted;”)
Another example of conviction is in John 8:9 “Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” We find this recorded in 1Thes 1:5-6 (NIV) “because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” To come to and have the conviction that goes along with being a person of faith, a person will try to always be mindful of what the Word of God says and how we should conduct ourselves by it, once coming to know the truth contained in it. Christ said; "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The truly repentant will become convicted they are wrong, sinners that need forgiveness. This brings us to the next all important “C” of the faithful, which is;
Once anyone becomes truly convicted that they are actually disobeying God and are perhaps ignoring or living contrary to His word, the need is to repent right then and there and begin to change from that wrong pattern of living and acting. For anyone just learning or seeing themselves in this light should Go to God in prayer and seek to be forgiven, then converted, which is a process that all the faithful have already gone through in this life. So the second of these 4 “C’s” stands for Conversion which is necessary for anyone to be a true Christian and a person of faith. Christ gave this example in Matt 18:2-3 “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, (3) and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
A truly converted person, one who has at least begun the process of conversion, has already come to the conviction they need to learn from and obey the Word of God. They will go about seeking an understanding of how to apply the Scriptures to their everyday decision making process and things that come at them from then on. They will not suddenly be perfect at this but they will begin to recognize Satan the devils tactics and evil ploys through society and other humans, who may unwittingly try to deceive them. However, there are also those who pose as true Christians and these may go unsuspected for a time until their true fruits become clearly seen. So this C is for striving for true conversion, not the false conversion that so many cling to today. We need that Holy Spirit to guide us “into all truth” (John 16:13) and help with discernment of wrong spirits and attitudes.
We find that Peter mentioned becoming converted in Acts 3:19, which says; "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” ---That presence is Christ living in us through the Holy Spirit! (Gal.2:20-KJV) So we should understand from this that there is a definite starting point for true conversion. We have already mentioned that God grants repentance and of course that is only to those who are genuine and sincerely want to do the right thing from that point forward in their lives. The dishonest and unstable mind will not receive the Spirit of God, because it has not fully repented. That desire for conversion leads to being baptized by immersion and then the “laying on of hands” to receive the impregnation of the Holy Spirit. Peter refers to this as being “begotten again” (1Pet.1:3) and in this case is Spiritual in nature for those desiring to please God and put His kingdom first and foremost. (Matt. 6:33)
Once this conversion process begins, it must continue to play out, as none of us have reached perfection and we must always seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. This is not only the keeping of the Commandments (Ps.119:172) but many other points found spelled out in the Word of God. That includes the entire Bible, not just some parts of it, as no one desiring to have all four “C’s” working in their life can reason around or dismiss parts of the inspired Word of God for their own purposes or simply with their own interpretation. (2Tim. 3:16-17) This brings us to the third “C” that all true Christians will have. Once a person is really convicted their way of life is wrong and have come to the point of true conversion beginning, they should also become committed to go the way of God to the best of their ability for the rest of their lives. So we now come to;
The Holy Spirit, once again, will guide into all truth (John16:13) and the true of heart will become committed to living by that truth. (Matt.4:4 & Luke 4:4) They will learn it is not God’s way to be deceptive and dishonest for gain and other selfish motives anymore. They will be learning not to covet physical things nor harbor malice toward any other person, seeing that is the sinful way of living. They will begin to have a sense of justice and loyalty to the direction of life given in the Bible. They will learn and believe that there are priorities to God’s ways that take precedent over physical things and even their own physical family members not yet converted. Luke 14:26 Christ says; "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate (love less by comparison is the meaning) his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”
So the convicted and converted individual will begin to commit themselves to being a disciple of Christ. Christ is the head of the true Church, just as the man is the head of his wife and true Christians will strive to live by the order set in the Word of God. They will begin to set right priorities, if they are now being led by the Holy Spirit, to live the way God has given, even through various trials and tests that are sure to come. Even if they still have a lack of understanding, they will begin trusting God and believe His Word. This world today is being filled up with evil and sinful ways, increasing rapidly in the wrong thoughts and ways the majority continue to follow. It is called the “get” way of life (or the way of self-gratification) that any true Christian should have determined to leave behind at Baptism. This world’s wrong mindset is also having an influence on the COG realm today, bringing about lukewarm and compromising ways in the many. Many times people of the world grow up never knowing true right from wrong because no one teaches them. For example the more religious of our society here in the USA go to Church on Sunday and do all their own pleasures or work on the true Sabbath of the Bible, which breaks the fourth Commandment. However, there are many today who know that Saturday is the true Sabbath, but they have no commitment to keep it the way the Bible says to. Others find ways to compromise in other ways of subtle disobedience, perhaps to try and gain something for themselves, instead of being content with what God has given them already or will supply in the future. They may even commit at the moment to things and yet never follow thru, so they are also missing this “C” of the truly faithful, as well as not really being converted or having any real conviction. This should not be true of those who are in the COG, but yet in many cases it is.
When you begin to see, even among those who claim to be the COG—some seemingly picking and choosing which Scriptures they will really put any effort into trying to obey, or even believe; how can they really have the conviction, depth of conversion and the commitment of someone truly trying to follow Christ? (Some even compromise with various Commands of God, by saying “you shall” or “you shall not” are only sometimes Commands. One such place of compromise is in the Eating of Unlb “for seven days”!) They are “Christian” in claim and name only and not by deeds and application of these three C’s. The apostle Paul wrote this; “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor.11:1-KJV) The definition of a true Christian is one who follows Christ and the examples of the entire Word of God with COMMITMENT.
There have always been people who have circulated among those in the COG and yet have no real convictions to believe and obey the entire Word of God, especially when it does not suite their interests at the time. They may claim conversion but their fruits show otherwise when they do not keep their commitments or covenants made to God or others. (This is one of those instances of picking and choosing what Scriptures to believe and follow. There also may be a bit of Ingratitude involved as well, which is a common sin among the worldly.)The apostle Paul says in 1 Cor.6:1 “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?” He goes on to explain; V.5 “I say this to your shame. (Paul speaks to those who congregate in the Corinthian COG and this still applies today) “Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother (Or sister) goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!” (When this happens in marriages in the COG between two who are supposed to both be converted, it is even more despicable and sheds a bad light on the Church itself for letting this go on. However, the ones wanting or initiating divorce may not be true brothers or sisters in Christ, considering their actions that clearly go against the Word of God. (Divorce is just one example where people (in the COG) are ignoring the admonitions of the Scriptures for their particular roles (Male & Female) and cannot be led to do what they do by the Holy Spirit.)
When we can observe in the lives of people who claim to be Christian, that there is no real conviction to seeking truth, justice mercy and faith, no depth of conversion to try and live by every word of God and no real commitment to even believe what the Bible actually says on some points, let alone live by them—then there is only one conclusion that a true Christian can honestly come to. That conclusion has to be that these people do not really even have this third “C” and are not really Christians at all, even though they may claim the title and be in a COG organization. This brings us to the fourth “C” which is of course, Christianity itself, but only as it applies to those struggling to be faithful followers of Christ.
CHRSITIANITY (all who claim Christianity are not all true Christians.)
I conclude this article with the last “C” being Christianity in its true form. We should already know by now that a true Christian is a follower of Christ and seeks to obey God in everything, even if they have to suffer for those choices, as Christ did. They will keep the Ten Commandments and all the commanded Holy Days and follow the other Biblical instructions to the best of their ability as a way of life. When they recognize any one of these four C’s missing (Or fading because of negligence) in their lives, they will try and regain the missing action of that “C,” after some heartfelt repentance and prayer. When you, as a true Christian, see others who deliberately ignore parts of the Word of God as a way of living and even reject the truth or twist it for their own purposes—that is a person who may not have any of these four C’s internalized and should not be trusted as a faithful Christian. (See the article titled “SIGNS” or listen to the series on the same subject, found at the Gospel link below.) Paul wrote this as a warning for those who are striving to be true Christians and who are a part of the Spiritual organism that makes up the true COG. Rom. 16:17-20 “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience has become known to all. (It manifests itself in the fruit of your doings) Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”
We know from history and Biblical prophecy that those who may claim to be “brethren” will persecute and even have put to death some true Christians! (John 16:1-4) Sometimes it takes true Christians awhile to learn not to be so gullible and trusting of those who may also claim to be Christians. Sometimes a true Christian will overlook certain signs in a person in hope that they will become more converted, but their true fruits do show eventually, one way or the other and God will reveal them. God will destroy those who cannot ever come to see their own sins and repent of them and He does not want His true converts to be partnered with them. We are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. (2Cor.6:14) There will be no liars and deceivers in the kingdom of God. God speed the day when there will be no more clever deceptions and agents of Satan who claim to be Christians, still lacking these essential C’s of the faithful! Just as the faithful start out by the conviction they need forgiveness, to go on to change through conversion and developing commitment to become true Christianity, the true COG; you can do the same and should, if you want to be among the called, chosen and faithful at the return of Christ! (Rev.17:14, last part.)
(Editor for TCOGMSO)