By Dr. Donald Whitchard
“Just as there are fake diamonds out in the world, there are those that have been hurt and deceived by what I refer to as ‘cubic zirconia’ people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, but when put to the test, their walk and talk are just so much spiritual costume jewelry, fit for the trash bin in the end.”
“Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”
- Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)
“He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: “This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”
- Mark 7:6 (NKJV)
“But why do you call me, “Lord, Lord”, and not do the things which I say?”
- Luke 6:46 (NKJV)
“They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.”
- Titus 1:16 (NKJV)
Charles Spurgeon, the great servant of Christ in 19th century England, was reported to have said that if the LORD calls you to preach His Word, don’t stoop to become a king. In other words, he believed that once a man received a call to preach, it was to be his main area of service to the Lord Jesus for all of his life. Certainly this was the case for Mr. Spurgeon and the thousands of men who have felt God’s pull upon their hearts and lives to enter full-time vocational ministry and all that goes with it. I believed shortly after my conversion and calling to service that this was to be my lot in life according to His will and plan for me. What I believed, however, and what was given to me during my years of service, showed me that God’s call for people to be saved extended beyond the confines of a church, and that there was a huge mission field that a lot of folks would not have thought of unless God opened their eyes to see the potential.
Part of my service to Christ involved what some believers would define as “secular” work. However, the reformer John Calvin taught that every Christian’s occupation and skill was their “ministry” because honest work was a way of serving God and being biblically sound.
Scripture commends physical work (Genesis 2:15; 3:19; Exodus 20:9; Leviticus 23:3; Psalm 104:23; Proverbs 13:11; 14:23; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:12). We will be given work responsibilities in the millennial kingdom when the Lord Jesus comes back to rule and reign after He has rid the world of the effects of evil and the deception of the devil (Luke 12:37; John 14:1-3; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 3:4; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 20:6, 21:1-7). Whatever we do or say as a believer is to be done for the glory of God.
Part of my personal work history has been in the field of fine jewelry. For several years I was a sales representative of a major jewelry chain and was to manage the store in which I worked until my diagnosis of bipolar disorder made it impossible to carry on with that responsibility. Part of my job included training and expertise in diamond and gemstone authenticity and grading, as well as sales techniques and general knowledge of repair basics. I did very well in this job and averaged around $20,000 per month in sales, so the money was good and I enjoyed working with my fellow associates to the point of where we were more like a family. As with any job, there were both high and low points. Let me give you one such example that will be a lead into the main point I will be presenting in this article.
One Saturday afternoon a lady came into the store and asked if I would take a look at her diamond cluster ring and check to see if the prongs for the diamonds needed attention as well as clean it while she looked around. Part of my job was to not just look for any problems with the merchandise, but to inspect the authenticity of the stones. She had told me that her husband had purchased the ring from another chain at what seemed to be a very good price, considering the number of diamonds on the ring that seemed to be of a high quality and showed no signs of perceivable flaws that are found in a majority of retail variety diamonds, which make up at the most 2-5% of all diamonds mined in the world. The other varieties of diamonds are used in industrial fields such as drill bits for oil rigs.
Now, however, there are jewelry companies that specialize in what are known as “laboratory” gemstones, where scientists have been able to replicate the structure of genuine stones from the earth, process them in laboratory settings, and cut them into varied shapes to be used in the manufacturing and sale of rings, bracelets, pendants, and necklaces with these stones that are genuine in chemical and physical structure, but are a product of artificial development to meet the demands of the market. This is not a means of deception, but since there are just so many stones coming from mines, the need has arisen to create gems from alternative sources. The quality and color is nearly identical to the genuine now more than ever and are just as real.
There are also artificial diamonds known in the industry as cubic zirconia, which are used primarily in costume jewelry and cheap imitations for those consumers who want the look but not the expense of the real thing and will often buy such jewelry from merchants on the varied TV shopping channels as an example.
Unfortunately, there are those unscrupulous merchants who will put artificial stones in diamond jewelry and pass them off as the real thing, or repair specialists who will substitute a stone or two for the genuine in order to make a quick profit. You probably know where I’m going with this, so I’ll cut to the chase. I carefully checked each stone on the customer’s ring using an electronic device that tests a diamond’s authenticity by the heat it absorbs. I went over several stones a few times and had to break the sad news to her that the ring that seemed to have too good a price was made primarily of cubic zirconia as well as genuine stones. To say that she was upset was an understatement. I showed her every step I took and the reading given by the testing tool to assure her that I was not jesting.
The sad fact is that her husband had been ripped off by someone who wanted a quick buck and he had not been as careful as he should have when buying the ring. In what was undoubtedly a loving act on his part turned out to be a loss not just of money, but almost soured them on any other purchases in the foreseeable future. They did end up buying a new, genuine ring from me and were thankful that I had taken the time to help them. Just as there are fake diamonds out in the world, there are those that have been hurt and deceived by what I refer to as “cubic zirconia” people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, but when put to the test, their walk and talk are just so much spiritual costume jewelry, fit for the trash bin in the end.
Christian celebrities and prominent preachers that were once thought of as solid and reliable in their respective areas of service have been proven by either their own words or exposed in scandals as to be nothing more than fakes and frauds who used faith as a means to wealth, influence, or as a way of presenting teachings and “revelations” that appeared to be biblically grounded but were upon careful discernment and examination to be misleading if not downright blasphemous, harming all who had embraced their respective works and ended up walking away from any semblance of faith in God due to the deceit thrust upon them. There are outright frauds who will be exposed to the light of God’s judgment, but this same judgment is also reserved for those who thought that all was well with them spiritually because of their lifestyles, repeated “sinner’s prayers”, works, dependability, service, self-assumed “goodness” and trying to love by rules of religiosity that might impress their peers, but the Sovereign God sees right through the deception and false sense of security.
Holding on to a “pet sin” and not repenting of it as well as rebuking and walking away from it, for example, may be a symptom of false conversion. I’ll be the first to confess that I have had to deal with this problem throughout my life, and it is understandably hard to confess the problem to God because you might have asked repeatedly for forgiveness only to go back to it often, especially if you’re not continually walking with Him and focusing on those things that are pleasing in His sight (2 Peter 1:10; 1 John 1:9-10; 3:22). We need to thank the LORD that His Spirit will convict us and set us right (John 16:7-8, 13) when these times occur.
If you’re not feeling remorse or sorrow over a sin and have a desire to seek forgiveness and restoration, you may be a “cubic zirconia”; a fake, false, and deceived person who truly needs to be saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. Let this be a firm but compassionate warning. Nobody likes a hypocrite that attempts to explain away their sins or blame others for their own faults. You will be exposed (Luke 12:2; Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 John 1:6, and Revelation 20:11-15). Let that truth sink in and convict you if needed.
We have GOT to be genuine in our confession of faith before the Lord Jesus Christ and the watching world. The days of grace are coming to a conclusion and any moment we could be meeting the LORD in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; John14:1-3; Titus 2:11-13; Revelation 10:11-21; Acts 1:1-11). There will be many who will be left behind to face unspeakable horror and the unrelenting wrath of God for seven years, only to end up in the Lake of Fire for eternity. Jesus and His apostles told us to let our light shine (Matthew 5:16; Ephesians 5:8; 1 John 1:7, 2:10, 15-16). We are to be holy, not “holier-than-thou”. Our lives need to be as brilliant and fiery as is a masterfully cut and mounted diamond, where the work and life we live for Christ in this ever-darkening world draws the sinner out of the darkness and into the light that is our Lord Jesus Christ. Be real and be ready, for our redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28).
Don was born and raised in the true Cajun Country of Louisiana. He holds a Bachelors Degree in History from Louisiana College, a Masters Degree in Christian Education from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Theology from Andersonville Baptist Seminary in Georgia. Don has served as a pastor, interim pastor, high school teacher, and hospital chaplain over the past thirty years. He currently serves as a volunteer chaplain (2008-present) with St. Francis Hospital and also served as the pastor/teacher from 2013-2016 at the Gospel Rescue Mission, both of which are here in Muskogee. He was called to Meadowbrook in February 0f 2017 and began his ministry in March of that year. He has also served as President of the Muskogee Baptist Association’s Pastors Conference, which is a weekly meeting that presents speakers and ministry ideas and concepts to church leaders in the greater Muskogee area.
Don’s top priority is to see that the good news of Jesus Christ is shared with our lost and hurting world and that the people of God are taught sound doctrine and preparation for our Lord’s soon return.