The other day I ran across a website that featured Rolex Watches. There were some very exquisite timepieces on exhibition. At first, I could not find the price of these quality watches anywhere, but finally, after a little digging in the site, my jaw dropped. “Unbelievable!” I thought, “How can they sell these things at those prices?” I know what you’re thinking, “It’s a Rolex!” right? So was I. That’s why I was so shocked when I saw the price; a Rolex Daytona-rl67 priced for $155.00. This watch normally sells, I found out later, for $12,775.00 and up. I continued to look at the watch and began to check out its features. It didn’t have a battery, never needed winding; it was kinetic. After some research, I found that this masterful timekeeper was a replica. I immediately replaced the word replica with garbage, and closed the browser window; then, to my surprise, I heard, “You’re a replica.” “Ok!” I thought, since there is no one around I am certainly daydreaming. In the deepest caverns of my mind, it’s wide-open spaces in there, the thought clarified “You’re a Christian, right?” Indeed, I am, and the search was on.
What does being a Christian have to do with being a fake? Nothing, but as I began to do some research I found out that a Replica, by definition, is not really a fake at all. Webster defines the word replica to mean, “an exact reproduction (as of a painting) executed by the original artist; a copy exact in all details <DNA makes a replica of itself>.” Hmmm, I’m interested, now what? I was faced with the realization that I am not Jesus Christ. I am a Christian, but not Christ. What makes me a Christian? Surprisingly, it is not my ability to never sin, or my propensity to be the perfect man. Actually, I come up short in both of these areas. How can I be a replica? In reality, my association with Christ makes me a replica Christian. Righteousness is imparted to me through faith in Him (Romans 3:22). Thus, I am made perfect through Him (Hebrews 10:14).The term Christian, first used in Antioch, is translated from the Greek “Christianos” it means follower of Christ; some say “Christ-like”. Thus, while Christians are not Christ, they are the exact reproduction executed by the original artist; Christians are the replica made perfect through Christ.
The Replication Process
To understand the replication process, we first must understand the raw materials that go into the reproduction. To be an authorized replica we must, as Jesus commanded, be born again (John 3:7). Jesus said, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).The replication process is the new birth. Jesus died, was buried and rose again. In like fashion, the reproduction of Christ dies to sin through repentance, is buried in His likeness through baptism, and resurrects to new life through the infilling of the Holy Ghost. This new birth experience was introduced on the Day of Pentecost when Peter told attendees what they needed to do to be saved. He said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). It is important to note, there are not several ways to be born again; there is only one born again experience reaffirmed consistently throughout the New Testament. This born again experience is powered by the battery of faith. Who would obey the Gospel of Christ without first believing that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)? Thus, we find that by grace we are saved through faith; that is to say, the unmerited favor of God is directed toward us through our ability to believe, (Ephesians 2:8). Salvation is God’s gift to all of humanity; all we need to do is accept it and follow His command. He does the rest, not because we are worthy, but He is faithful who promised (Hebrews 10:23). We repent by turning from our sins (Acts 2:38); He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). We are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 19:3-5); He looks at baptism as our burial with Him (Colossians 2:12). We are baptized with the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5); the same Spirit that raised Christ will bring resurrection to our life (Romans 8:11).
The seal of Approval
Every good replica is approved by the original manufacturer. The replica is not cheaper made, it is made often times by the same materials as the original. The replica is duplicated simply because the original is out of reach, or is no longer available at the time. Thus, the manufacturer approves replicas to be made to insure that everyone has access to the quality that the original represents. The born again experience is our seal of approval (Ephesians 4:30). Our power comes from the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:1). The Spirit in us guides us into all truth (John 16:13). The Spirit even prays through us when we don’t even know what to pray (Romans 8:26). Through His Spirit we represent the original to the world through actions, love and truth. There is, however, another replication of the original that the world needs to be aware of; a fake that the world must watch out for.
The knockoff is a lot like the replica in many ways. It mimics the original, but is not made of the same materials. It is made cheaper and is designed to generate a profit. The knockoff is not authorized by the original manufacturer, and thus it does not have the manufacturers seal of approval placed upon it. Often times those who pedal the forgery do so by making it look appealing to the consumer. It looks the same, but the attributes of the original are nowhere to be found. These attributes are missing because it is a fake, a forgery; a cheap counterfeit that only lasts for a while then fades away with time. Jesus said that there would be those who would supply cheaper versions of salvation to the masses, but he warned His follower to be aware of them. He said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). These are those who say, “Just make a confession of faith and you are saved.” They change the Word of God to make it fit their beliefs rather than presenting the full Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:25). It is no surprise that the knockoff version of Christianity seems real, feels real and looks real, but there is no real power in its application to life. Most of the time the fake experience is followed by excuses. The seller says, “It used to be that way, but things have changed over time.” “We no longer need that experience, because it was done away with.” “Would God condemn anyone who was trying?” “The original Apostles taught those things, but they didn’t mean for people to be so literal about their application.” These are all excuses used by the knockoff peddler to make what he is selling more desirable.
Spotting the Fake
It can be hard to spot a fake, but there are signs that you can look for. If the seller tries to tell you, the original has been discontinued, for this new shiny model; have them show it to you in writing. Remember, the Word of God is made up of many scriptures, not just one. Look for signs of compromise. If you are told that you can do anything you want and still be saved because you can’t lose your salvation; ask, “Why the Bible says be ye holy for I am holy”(I Peter 1:16)? A fake Christian experience is always about you, but true religion is about serving Him. Fake Christianity promises a fire escape and delivers a watered down experience. A true replication promises a relationship and delivers a life changing involvement. The knockoff delivers a feeling of security, but the authorized replica brings true peace.
Jesus is the real deal. His dedication to our salvation is unprecedented. He gave Himself completely so that not one soul should perish. His love toward mankind culminated at Calvary. As he prepared to return to the Father, He authorized replicas to be made that would allow the world to experience His mercy throughout every generation. The message that Christ preached during His earthly ministry is still being proclaimed today. It has not changed at all. The same experiences that the Apostles experienced are still being experienced today. People still speak in tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance just as they did on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was first poured out. The knockoff promises a much cheaper version of salvation that satisfies the conscience, but does little for the soul. The Rolex Replica still had a pretty hefty price tag on it, but it was authorized for resale. The price was a bit steep, but the quality was on par with the original. You can get a decent looking knockoff for around $25.00, but it won’t give you lasting value. True salvation is worth buying into, it will give you lasting joy, and you will never regret your decision.