There are a lot of times when I feel like a pretender, and I'm afraid someone's going to find out all about me and realize I've been faking this whole Christianity thing. I'm just guessing here, but there are probably a lot of Christians who feel the same way, like they're barely scraping by in life without doing something drastically and publicly evil. And there's a fear that, if others found out they felt this way, their world would explode with shame. They're fearfulâ€”as am Iâ€”of being caught as fake Christians.
If you're one of these people, I've got bad news for you. And good news.
The bad news is, you've got Christianity all wrong. Your version is a fake. You're worried that people might think you're a fake because you don't want to live the way you know you ought to live. You worried about being caught as a hypocrite at the deepest level, where your heart and mind struggle against God's law. You think Christianity is about living a good life, and you know you don't match up. So you're afraid or depressed or sneakyâ€”you really are a fake.
The good news is, you've got Christianity all wrong! If the way to be right with God is through your right living, and you know you don't live right, then sure, you're in trouble. But the way to be right with God is through acknowledging your hypocrisy, allowing yourself to stand exposed in the light of God's word, and trusting that Jesus lived the life you couldn't hope to live. Jesus was the only Real Personâ€”the rest of us are the Fakes. His life was the only unhypocritical lifeâ€”the rest of us are pretenders.
If your sense of being a fake Christian causes you to fear because you think God won't accept you, then your view of Christianity is false. God only accepts those who know they're fakes. He only accepts those who hide in Jesus, not those who try to hide behind a thin veil of pretend good works. It's almost funnyâ€”he rejects hypocrites, but welcomes those who admit to their hypocrisy. Don't be afraid of being found out as a sinnerâ€”be afraid of being found outside of the Sinless One. Don't worry about being honest with your faultsâ€”we're all just like you, so we can't condemn you!
If you want to be a real Christian, you have to be honest. Honest with yourself, that God already knows your secrets. Honest with God, that you need his mercy in order to be right with himâ€”there's no other way! And honest about the Gospel, that your secrets don't prevent Jesus from loving and saving you through his life, death, and resurrection.