Fake or Genuine?

27th April 2017

I like the new pound coins.  Do you?  I like the bimetallic 12-sided design and art work.  I  like the “£” symbol which changes to a “1” when viewed from a different angle.

Now, I’m no numismatist, but I do have a first day issue pound coin from back in 1983- now worth maybe £2.  I’m probably best concentrating on getting my old paper fivers and taking them to the bank, before they are no longer legal tender.  Break open the piggy banks- return the old £1 coins and fivers before it’s too late.  You have been warned.

Why do we need new pound coins in the first place?  It’s because 1/8 pound coins in circulation were fake.  That’s a lot of fake coins!  Now, the royal mint boasts that we have the “most secure coin in the world”.  We can all sleep safely in our beds from now on.

The links market has just left Kirkcaldy and so I’ve no pound coins left, genuine or fake.

The Bible is a book which has a lot to say about the difference between the fake and the genuine- not with coins but with people.  There are many fake Christians, who might look like Christians from the outside, but on closer inspection are, as it were, forgeries.  Jesus makes this clear in several parables.  The sheep and the goats all seem like a flock of sheep from the distance (especially in the near east, where sheep and goats look more similar than they do in Scotland).  However, they need to be separated by God (Matthew ch 25).  The genuine sheep go to the right, and the goats to the left.  The goats seemed to blend in, but they were not walking the walk, just talking the talk.

This is a solemn passage of Scripture, asking us to consider where we will be spending eternity.  We want to ensure that we are sheep and not goats.  When Jesus returns as Judge, what criteria does he use to show the genuine Christians?

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

The Christians are a bit confused.  WHEN did we do these things for you Jesus?  Jesus replies: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

In other words, Jesus is saying that how you and I treat Jesus’ people (other Christians) reveals what your stance is towards Jesus himself.  Our attitude towards other Christians is a window into our attitude towards Jesus.

We know that we cannot be justified before God by doing good, or earn our way to Heaven.  If we were, then why would Jesus have needed to die on the cross?  He died for our sins.  It is by grace that we have been saved, through faith.

However, as James says, faith without deeds is dead.  And if we want to ensure that we are genuine Christians then we have to take Jesus’ teaching on loving other Christians seriously.

Let’s let J C Ryle have the last word: ““The last judgement will be a judgement according to evidence.  The works of men are the witnesses which will be brought forward, and above all- their works of charity.  The question to be ascertained will not merely be what we said, but what we did: not merely what we professed, but what we practised.  Our works, unquestionably, will not justify us: we are justified by faith without the deeds of the law;  but the truth of our faith will be tested by our lives.  Faith which has not works is dead, being alone.”