Six Signs of a False Conversion

Help! I think I might have fallen for “easy-believism”. Can I know for sure? Yes, you can. Here are six signs that you might not have really believed in Jesus Christ when you think you did. All of these signs are discussed in the parable, which Jesus told in Matthew chapter 13 known as the “Parable of the Sower”. This parable is unique, because Jesus not only told the parable, he also told the disciples the meaning of the parable. Before we learn the six signs of a false conversion, read the “Parable of the Sower” from Matthew chapter 13.

 

3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.

4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop — a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

9 He who has ears, let him hear.”

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:

19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what as sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.

21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.

22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (NIV)

 

Now for the six signs of a false conversion. These are all taken from the “Parable of the Sower”.

 

Sign #1 – Immediate Joy That Doesn’t Last

Jesus says that a sign of a false convert is a person who is immediately filled with joy upon hearing the gospel message, but followed by a quick fading away. There are two problems inherit with immediate joy that doesn’t last. First, the joy is immediate. Second, the joy doesn’t last. Let’s examine these two things more closely.

First, the joy is immediate. There is no sorrow that precedes the joy. A person who has truly come to faith in Jesus Christ has faced the conviction of their sin. This conviction of sin shows in a person through a broken and contrite heart. Many people who hear the modern gospel message only hear about the joy of eternal life, and they accept it gladly. They have never heard and come to understand the need to repent of their sins. They don’t know the wrath of God that they have been saved from.

Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (NIV)

Joel 2:12-13 “‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” (NIV)

Second, the joy doesn’t last. This person may exhibit spectacular growth for a while, but over time the joy fades, and the person falls away. This is the person who hasn’t “counted the cost”, who hasn’t weighed all the issues.

Luke 14:26-30 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'” (NIV)

Sign #2 – No Roots

False converts have no “roots,” that is, no foundations in faith and Christian learning, so they “dry up” like a plant with no roots. The Parable of the Sower, as recorded in Luke, states that these plants wither because they have no moisture. Roots are designed to gather in water and nutrients. Without these, the plant cannot live. Similarly, we as Christians must also have “roots” that seek out what we need to make us thrive as Christians – things like prayer, Bible reading, Biblical teaching, and fellowship.

Sign #3 – Unwillingness to Face Persecution

Notice in the Parable of the Sower that it is the intense heat of the sun which causes the plant to wither (verse 6). Jesus tells us that this intense heat in our lives is the heat of troubles, persecution, and times of testing. These things drive a true believer closer to Jesus, but they cause the false convert to wither and fall away. In either case, the worst thing that can happen in a person’s life is never having to face the intense heat of troubles and persecution.

Sign #4 – Preoccupation with Worry

The Parable of the Sower tells us that there are people who hear the gospel message and initially respond to it, but then fall away because they are more preoccupied with the worries of this world than with pursuing the kingdom of God. When our attention is fixed on the worries of this life, the gospel gets choked out of our life like thorns choke out good plants.

Matthew 6:31-34 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NIV)

Sign #5 – Preoccupation with the World

The Parable of the Sower tells us that there are other people who hear and respond to the gospel message, but then fall away because they are preoccupied with the pleasures this world has to offer. They are deceived by the glitter of wealth, possessions, and fame. And these things, which seem pleasurable for a season, choke out the gospel message.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NIV)

Sign #6 – No Fruit

The true believer must bear fruit in his or her life. What exactly is this fruit that we should expect to see? The Bible answers this question for us quite well.

First, there is the fruit of repentance.

Matthew 3:7-8 “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (NIV)

Second, there is fruit of good works.

Colossians 1:10 “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work” (NIV)

Third, there is the fruit of praise and thanksgiving to God.

Hebrews 13:15 “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name.” (NIV)

Fourth, there is the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (NIV)

Fifth, there is the fruit of righteousness.

Philippians 1:9-11 “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.” (NIV)

What does the Bible say about the so-called “Christian” who bears no fruit? The Bible says that they will be cut down and cast away into the fire.

Matthew 3:10 “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (NIV)

John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (NIV)

 

See also:

Lawless Gospel

Ten “Christians” God Will Not Allow in Heaven


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29 thoughts on “Six Signs of a False Conversion

  1. Pingback: Were Led Through the Wrong Door? « Revivalandreformation's Blog

  2. I must respectfully disagree with this post. I believe you have listed signs of the life Christians are to lead AFTER salvation, we should all want that. But some of us will not have these because we ultimately love the world more than the Lord. I do think in these times, it is prudent to evaluate if we are truly saved with or without these evidences of discipleship in our lives.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Tabitha,

    True these are characteristics of a believer. Non-believers will not display all the characteristics of a believer because they are unable. Only believers can display those through the help of the Holy Spirit.

    “But some of us will not have these because we ultimately love the world more than the Lord.”

    If you love the world more than Christ can you be a believer? Believers love the Lord more than the world. Unless we are exhibiting more and more the evidences of the Christian life, we need to reevaluate if we are truly saved or if we’ve just had an emotional response. We should be growing into Christ-likeness. We won’t be perfect but there should be continual evidence of growth.

    What would you use to evaluate yourself?

    Emotions?

    Feelings?

    Religious fervor and activity?

    Assurances from others?

    Or what the Bible says evidences a true believer?

    Ten Tests of True Christianity

    Berean Wife

    Camille Reply:

    Tabitha,

    I agree with your comment about continual evidence of growth. Also, the sincerity in our hearts allows access to the holy spirit, which will help us to bear good fruit (according to God’s will).

    Camille

  3. Just found your site and this post today. I just spent 50 years of my life as a falsly converted Christian who wondered why my life never really worked out, where my joy was, reading words in the Bible I really didn’t understand until a real shepherd plow up the stony ground of my heart, showed me that I was the worst of the sinners and led me to real repentence unto God. May God bless you.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Mr. Doug,

    Welcome to the site. 🙂

    I’m sure you could write about the differences between a false profession and a true profession of faith better than I can. The one thing that is hardest to do is explain to one who has a false profession how different true salvation is. Thankfully though the Lord just calls us to share with others, He will open their eyes to the truth in His own timing. It can be frustrating when we have our eyes opened to wonder why it took so long. However, the Lord can use your 50 years of false profession for His glory even if only to have you share with others the difference it has made in your life.

    I pray you have many opportunities to share what the Lord has done for you and that you are a faithful witness.

    Berean Wife

  4. I concur with your post about false converts. I think the key is that we are all imperfect, and that it is only by God’s grace that we have been forgiven of our sins, and have salvation… Not by anything we have done to deserve it. Also, by the power of the holy spirit, we are able to transition with authority to true conversion.

  5. One fault committed in a moment of weakness can bring a Christian to an identity crisis. This post brings assurance to Christians as we continue to run the race…

  6. We also forgot to mention that saved people feel the Holy Spirit inside there hearts. They feel Him impressing upon them to tell the truth or some other thing.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Cindy,

    It is true that a believer has the Holy Spirit to guide them and open up the Bible to them. However, there is no instructions given or method to judge whether or not a person has the Holy Spirit. In the post Ten Tests of True Christianity the Lord through John gives us at least 10 things to look for in ourselves and in other believers to judge by. They are not vague, subjective ideas but measurable criteria.

    The problem with saying you “feel” the Holy Spirit in your heart is that it is subjective. It could be just emotionalism, the taco for lunch or even self-induced. Many false teachings look for a subjective “heart prompting”. Mormons look for a “burning in your Bosom” which is a concept from the Book of Mormon not from the Bible.

    Berean Wife

    Cindy Reply:

    I understand that our feelings can be very deceiving, but when God saved me afterwards there was a prompting to tell the truth, one time when I was doing something that would hurt me, the Holy Spirit literally told me to Stop. Different impressions I would receive. Granted all that was within the first couple of months, and I don’t “feel” the impressions as much, but that’s what I mean by “feeling” the Holy Spirit living in you. When I grieved Him, I felt His grief, things of this nature aren’t made up, as I never felt them before God saved me, but I do understand what you mean and we do have to be careful.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Cindy,

    I’m not saying that there is no inner prompting or guidance. Just that is not a quantitative measurable thing that can be used to judge one’s salvation. Matthew 7:21-23 clearly shows that those people believed they were serving the Lord and yet the Lord says He doesn’t know them. The Ten Tests of True Christianity based on 1 John give more tangible ways of evaluating Salvation – do we obey the Lord, do we love our brothers, and do we assemble together with believers, etc.

    Berean Wife

  7. I discovered your site by accident a few weeks ago. I had just returned from the Storms of Reformation Conference in Muscle Shoals and searcing for something about the conference on line your review came up. Since then, I have subscribed to your blog and I come to the site periodically to read what you have, with the intention of someday reading every page. I wholeheartedly agree with everything I have read so far, and this page especially is right on the mark. So many people are deceived. I was an easy decision false convert for many years before God opened my eyes. Thank you for sharing Truth.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Lisa,

    We enjoy the True Church Conference. Our church takes a group every year for the conference. My husband also regularly attends Steve Lawson’s Expositor’s Conference in Mobile. There are a few years of conference notes on the website from the conferences he has attended.

    We’ve been in churches who taught an easy believism and actually encouraged folks to not question their faith and salvation when doubts arise. Oh, it is so much better to test ourselves and see if we are in the faith and pass the test. (2 Corinthians 13:5) Better to question now than to find out too late in the end. (Matthew 7:21-23)

    I hope to just encourage others to dig into the Word for themselves for the treasures there.

    Berean Wife

  8. The Bible tells us of the perseverance of the saints. We must constantly check ourselves to Scripture and make sure we are abiding in Him. And be the seed that perseveres to the end….

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Lisa Carey,

    Hello. 🙂

    Thankfully the Lord preserves His own, because if it was up to us we would all fall away. When we examine ourselves we are making sure we are truly a child of the Father and not the children of Satan. Satan encourages all manner of folks to think they are children of the Heavenly Father but on that last day, as Matthew 7:21-23 shows, many will be surprised.

    Berean Wife

  9. All conversions are false conversions because nobody can be 100% certain of something that has no evidence for it. You are all deluded. Please educate yourselves in the field of science and disprove religion for yourself.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Pub,

    Funny how you can say “all” conversions are false, yet then say no one can be 100% certain of anything.

    So are you 100% certain all conversions are false?

    Of course we all know that Science is 100% accurate! Science claimed the earth was flat, that the solar system revolved around the earth, or that hand washing wasn’t necessary.

    Maybe you should read the post again. 🙂

    Berean Wife

  10. I AM A PERSON WHO FELL AWAY SHORTLY AFTER THE FAITH. I SINNED GREATLY AND GOD WARNED ME OFEN YET I WOULD LISTEN FOR A WHILE AND THEN GO BACK TO SIN. I EVEN GOT SO HARDENED I STOPPED ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS NOW THE SPIRIT HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM ME AND I HAVE DEMONS. I AM FADING AWAY. ARE THERE WAYS TO TALK TO YO BY PHONE OR EMAIL?

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Clarissa,

    You may email me at [email protected].

    Berean Wife

  11. Thats whats up… God alive if we come to him in truth he gives us what we need, people really don’t care or belive God. They like to feel God is or feel they have hope or feel they saved…but refuse the light of God. Jesus said posses your souls! Repent and take up the works of your God….

  12. You have done considerable thinking on this. I too wish to follow the Lord more closely.

    To get a better perspective on it, could I suggest to rewind things a bit.

    Christ was pretty harsh with Nicodemus. “You must be born again.”

    Nicodemus knew there was spiritual death in the garden. So, he also should have known that one had to be “quickened” to have the ears to hear.

    That is, the natural man does not receive the things of God, nor does he seek them. They are foolishness to him.

    Faith is a spiritual “gift” from God. Only the spiritual man can receive it.

    So, a person believing, where did he get this “belief” from. From faith, but where is this “faith” from. From the Spirit to one who has the Spirit. How did that person get the “Spirit.” God regenerated him — He called him — He quickened him — He gave him a new Spirit so that he might have the ears to hear and believe.

    Believe what. The gospel proclamation: Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day.

    This salvation is a free gift from God, it demonstrates what God has done. Discipleship however, if one choses it, is costly. It emphasizes what man must do.

    It is toward ones being a “disciple” that these verses are used, not one’s salvation.

    Kindest regards,
    gary

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Gary,

    When you read Matthew 13:19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. That seems clear that this person has not become a believer. Otherwise God has allowed Satan to snatch away the gospel from a “believer’s” heart?

    Or maybe Matthew 19:20-21 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.
    21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.
    Can we really trust that this is a “believer” also? Or is not this one who for a time appears to be a believer and yet falls away to never come back?

    Berean Wife

  13. I appreciate the post. But, these six signs when applied to heroes of scripture — those we know are saved — don’t seem to “allow” them into heaven. Consider Solomon. His wives led him to adopt worship habits of his heathen wives. So, David, he conives and murders a man so he can steal his wife. So, Peter, he denies he even knows our Savior — not once, but three times. I think scripture shows its a mistake for us to try to put boundaries on God. Like, Paul, aren’t we all the worst, and in need of our God? Kindest regards, Gary

    Berean Wife Reply:

    GaryK,

    When we look at those lives in the Bible we are shown specifically what God would have us know about them. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”2 Timothy 3:16-17 We are to learn from what the Bible shows us in these men’s lives. Thankfully our lives are not spelled out for the world to see, because if so then whom of us would be consider a believer?

    Thankfully the criteria for being “allowed” into Heaven was paid for believers by Christ. Otherwise none would be there. This passage and many other passages show us what evidences there are for our Salvation, not how to get saved. We are to examine ourselves.

    Berean Wife

  14. Thank you for your concern and your post on this subject topic. This subject wouldn’t even be touched on, where I attend at, but that aspect is at some level or degree probably true in every church. Other than the parable of the sower and the seed is the tares and wheat. ..coupled with you will know them by their fruit. Tares are just mildly poisonous, through they look just like wheat, but if you eat enough bread made with tares, you’ll probably end up just a little ‘sick’. Most people who haven’t Truly been regenerated, Died by Taking up their Cross and following Cross into His Death by ‘going under’ and Rising in His Life, leaving their death ‘under’ (either water or the ‘world’)..and Risen in His life will probably never even think to search on the subject to begin with. Little do we hear os Divind Revelation leading a person to Christ nor being Forgiven through Repentance and the Baptsism. We might hear much about the outward actions but the Truth is Revelaed in the Inward Reality; ask a person to define what faith is and that might help determine such. A person who has gone to the Depths will know it’s the Faith of God in Christ that ‘makes’ us well’ in God’s eyes; I susepct ‘today’ He sees The B lood and knows the sheep from the goats. Those are both people I think that are ‘thought’ to be what we call today, ‘Christians’. To make an accusation though can be dangerous and won’t accomplish much, but on ly put a person on the defensive. I do read of people yet even still who are PASTORS of all things and only late in their ministry come to find that they themselves had not truly been Born from Above. I think it was St Augustine or another of the saints of old (probably a different one) that had been writing many things and papers, until That Day. From then on, his wrings ceased in his shame. In my experience, I suddenly had Realized, “I was an agnostic Christian!” After 50 years too. How or why would I have said that though? Because I believed in all kinds of things ABOUT Bod and Jesus..but was not Known By Him through Experience. It required that much Assurance so that I would Truly and Really be his and no longer my own. In being fully Owned their was no longer even a ‘mustard seed of Doubt”. I knew I could not continue living my life that way, it was just too miserable and it was ‘killing me’ to be like that. Afterward, I just couldn’t shut up about it. It was Beyond Real. This is The Reality of the Holy Spirit of God in Truth. I was calling it, “The Life Given spirit of Truth” and this is something else, ‘I had never really ever read the bible before but the book of john about 30 years earlier. Afterward? I wanted to read it, from the very beginning, much was learned in the first 3 chapters of Genesis. Back to the Garden we go. after passing through The Sword which surrounds The Tree of Life.

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