What is the difference between the atheist who doesn’t believe in God, vs the member who doesn’t believe in doing the works of God? What is the difference between the skeptic who reads the bible and rejects it, vs the Christian who neglects to read it and obey it? What is the difference between the wicked who think the bible was not divinely inspired, vs members who seek to change it and redefine it? What is the difference between sinful people who love and care for the world, and the member of the church who lives and acts like the people of the world? The answer to all these questions is: NONE!
The lukewarm church member is more objectionable than the atheist. They have no chance of being saved if they die in that condition. The lukewarm Christian give off the misconception that they can have their cake and eat it too. This is a dangerous misconception. God will not accept a half sinner/ half Saint. “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:19-20). God doesn’t require of us to have great wisdom, great strength, or great wealth, but demands the best of what talents we do possess. The strongest argument for Christianity is the devout and dedicated Christian. Conversely, the greatest hindrance perhaps is the sluggard on the inside because they are a traitor to the cause they once vowed to obey.
Worldly Church Member
The worldly church member has a different, but equally disastrous effect. People are disgusted by his hypocrisy and often decide that if this is a sample of Christianity, they can well do without it. Believe it or not, most people in the world, however worldly their lives, know that Christianity is not something you put on Sunday morning and put off after the worship service is over. Christianity is a 24/7, 365 days per year occupation with no time outs until we die.
If your life is not different from the world, you are not a Christian. If you have to tell your daily associates that you are a Christian, it is a safe assumption that you are not a practicing Christian. Christianity is a state into which God by grace calls all confessed believers to repentance and baptism; (Acts 17:30 f; Acts 22:15) Yet believers are called to sanctify themselves consistently with their calling (2 Tim. 1:9), cleansing themselves from all defilement, forsaking sin, living a holy manner of life (1 Pet. 1:15; 2 Pet. 3:11) and experiencing the fellowship of God in his holiness. The saints are thus figuratively spoken of as an Holy Temple” (I Cor 3:17).
Do those who smoke tobacco and marijuana and take illegal drugs resemble the Saints of God to you? Do those who curse and swear, who tell dirty jokes remind you of the Saints of God? To those who wear skimpy bathing suits in the public look like the Saints of God to you? Do long haired men and short haired women look like the Saints of God to you? 1 Cor 11 If one looks like a sinner, and acts like a sinner, and talks like a sinner, then they’re a sinner!
Godly Church Member
It’s easy to distinguish a sinner from a saint for they are peculiar to the world. 1 Pet 2:9 The saints of God are always spending their time doing God’s work. You will readily find them each Sunday morning and afternoon worshiping God. Acts 20:7 f; Heb 10:25 The Saints are obedient to faithful elders of the church who are subject to God’s Word. Heb 13:7,17 You will find them reading and studying God’s Word. 1 Tim 4:13 ff; 2 Tim 2:15; Ps 1:2 You will see them teaching and preaching, contending and defending God’s Word. 2 Tim 4:2-5 ff; Jude 3; Philip 1:15-18 You will see them when the opportunity arises assisting all who have need, but especially fellow brethren. Gal 6:10 You will see them being persecuted for the cause of Christ, for which they are not ashamed. 2 Tim 3:12 f; 1 Pet 4:16 They are the poor of the world, but rich and in faith. Jam 2:5 They are obedient to the laws of the land, and give honor to rulers for God’s sake. They fear God and keep his commandments. Eccl 12:13 f; Jn 14:15 They seek first the kingdom of heaven and his righteousness. Mt 6:33
Conclusion: If one wants to know the difference between the sinner, the lukewarm member, and the saint, it is quite simple. Jesus said, “You shall know them by their fruits.” The sinners do the works of the world. The saint do the works of God. The lukewarm member attempts to love both the world and God. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for he will either hate the one and love the other, or hold to the one and despise the other. No one can serve God and wealth”. Mt 6:24 Jesus warned the lukewarm church of the Laodiceans by saying, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — “ Rev 3:15-17 John said, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 No matter how one tries to pervert God’s Word: 1/2 sinner + 1/2 saint = fully lost.