Counterfeit currency. It looks real. It might even be accepted as real, at least for a while – but it’s not real. Eventually, that fake bill will be recognized for what it truly is and destroyed. The same can be true with our faith. We can create this flawless outer appearance: we look the part, we act the part, and to the untrained eye we appear to be the perfect Christian. But at the heart level, we’re simply fake.
Jesus spoke about this concept through a parable. Only instead of currency, Jesus used wheat and tares. For the agricultural community listening, everyone knew that tares were a weed closely resembling wheat. Still, the disciples asked Jesus to clarify. You can read the full parable in Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.
So what does this parable represent? The wheat farmer is Jesus. And because Jesus is sowing the Gospel of salvation, that He died on the cross for our sins and rose again, anyone who chooses to put their faith in Christ, are like the wheat. But blending into the wheat are the tares – the counterfeit Christians who might act like and sound like true a believer, and yet, in their heart of hearts they have not given their heart and lives to Christ. Sometimes a counterfeit Christian might even be in church leadership.
The parable says that the wheat and tares remained together in the field until the harvest when the wheat was gathered into the barn for safekeeping and the tares were burned. Jesus is explaining why the difference is not revealed until the end of time. For the TRUE followers of Jesus, eternity will be spent in Heaven, in the Kingdom of God, with Jesus. The counterfeit Christians and everyone else will find themselves in Hell.
It’s a heavy topic, but one that we can’t tip-toe around; because the harvest IS coming. Revelation chapter 14 offers great insight into what these final days will look like and it’s a pretty sobering picture. Thankfully, Jesus continues to sow the redemptive Truth of the Gospel in hopes that everyone might experience God’s grace and mercy. So, as God looks at your heart and life – are you wheat or tares?