Question: Why is it that churches are full of historical believers?
Your question is striking. Especially as I read the other day that one of the greatest curses of a church is the great number of historical believers.
They have no heart for God and also not for their lost neighbours because they have really no living heart for themselves. Sin doesn’t bother them as long as it doesn’t endanger their reputation. As a fact, it are the ‘historical believers’ that often are the cause of the all-to-true charge that ‘most Christians’ are hypocrites.
A church full of historical believers are churches that have a name to live but there is no power of true godliness because there is no true union with Jesus.
Why is this often the sad case with established churches?
1. Ultimately is is the fulfillment of one of Jesus’ remarkable sayings: Many are called but few are chosen. (Matt. 20:16)
2. That truth is an explanation but not an excuse. Mere ‘historical believers are unbelievers in a religious coat.’ It are the ones Jesus pictured in the parable of sower
with the ‘thistle infested ground.’ The cares (business) of this world, riches and pleasures of this life choke the impressions, snuff out the callings, deafen the ears, chill the heart and eventually all you get is ‘a stalk, leaves, perhaps even an ear’ but no ear (fruit) is brought to perfection (Luke 8:14).
In other words, the word doesn’t bring forth real fruit that bring heart changes. According to the Lord Jesus, that isn’t the fault of the sower, of the seed but of the
hearers. They make choices that hinder the growth and fruit of the Word.
Let it be recognized that this is not something ‘new.’ The Lord Jesus did speak in Matthew 13 of His Church as being ‘chaff and wheat.’ The saved and unsaved
will exist next to each other in the visible church. Efforts to eliminate this situation by limiting full membership to the ‘truly saved’ may have good intentions but
doesn’t solve the problem. In the NT early Church we had already quickly the presence of historical believers and that reality will continue to exist till the end of time.
There will not be a mixed multitude in the heavenly glory or in the new heaven and earth.
What a prospect! Will you and I be part of that Church?