I was shocked when I received the text. It read, "He was accused, and he admitted raping [her] with the excuse that she wanted it. She was drunk and he was high on drugs." I knew the man lived in extremely difficult circumstances and that he was struggling to live the Christian life as he fought old vices developed over decades, like smoking and gambling, but rape? Drugs?...I would never have guessed. My heart not only breaks for him and his victim, both of whom I have been sharing Christ with and helping with physical needs, but the Lord used me to bring the gospel into his life and I have been hoping that His accepting it was real. At times, he would seem to show evidence of being a follower of Jesus; and at other times, he would seem to act just like a person who does not believe or follow Him. Ultimately, only God knows, but I always hoped the best for him . . . and I still do. I must admit that things sure look bleak at the moment. I met him many years ago and he took to the Bible pretty quickly. He read more in the first several months that I knew him, than some other Christians read in years. I shared the gospel with him during that time and it wasn't long before he professed to believe it. He became a regular attender of our bible study and sunday worship services, even went on to take a several month long class on how to share his faith. In spite of flashes of being a young and immature believer, he seemed to be a believer none the less. Like with my friend above, I have shared the gospel with many people, and I have had the privilege of seeing some of them acknowledge faith in Christ. However, I am usually skeptical when someone claims to believe in Jesus and that they want to become a Christian. I'm not saying that they aren't, but I only feel confident that the confession of their lips is the reality of their hearts after I see a consistent pattern of following Jesus and obeying His commands over time. You see, it is through the trials and choices in our lives that the genuineness of our faith is demonstrated. Perseverance through trials and right choices gives confidence of a genuine faith to those who claims faith in Christ and to those who witness that confession.
Instead of praying for my friend's growth as a believer, I am once again praying for the salvation of his soul. I fear that he may be among the myriads of the surprised who hear Jesus say, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (Luke 9:46) or even worse, Many will say to [Jesus] on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then [Jesus] will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (John 7:22-23). The truth about my friend will be made evident in time. Some may read this and believe that the truth is already clear. Perhaps, but my question to you is, "What about you?" Is your faith real? Does your life demonstrate it? Which way are you headed? Will Jesus say, "I never knew you" or "Well done good and faithful servant."?