(1 Tim. 1:5–7 KJV) “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.”
Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, warns Timothy about the dangers of turning aside from faith unfeigned. But what is faith unfeigned or unfeigned faith? What does turning aside from unfeigned faith actually mean?" The opposite of unfeigned faith is feigned faith or fake faith. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines feigned as, “to invent or imagine, to form an idea or conception of something not real. To make a show of; to pretend; to assume a false appearance; to counterfeit.”
One example of feigning that we find in the scripture is found in Luke 20:20. It is a reference to men who were “sent forth as spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words.” What were they doing? They were pretending that they were “just” men to deceive the people.
Peter warns of those who through covetousness shall “with feigned words make merchandise of you.” With a warning that people would use pretend or fake words and pretend to be something that they are not, we realize there is a serious problem that comes from this feigned behavior, feigned words, and feigned faith. The problem is that people are deceived.
If feigned faith is pretend faith, then it is not faith at all. It is fake. It pretends to be faith, but it is not. As Paul clearly indicates in 1 Timothy, feigned faith is vain jangling – empty or worthless noise. Why is it empty and worthless noise? Because those that profess this feigned faith do not understand what they say or what they are affirming – declaring positively.
When is professed faith, not faith at all? Is faith believing in anything you want? The Apostle Paul said, (Rom. 10:17 KJV) “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So then obviously faith is based upon hearing the word of God. What has God said that you are supposed to have faith in? And yet here in lies the problem. Generations of Christians have failed to rightly divide the word of truth because their teachers have failed to teach them to do so. Paul stated very clearly what was necessary to study the word of truth so that you would not need to be ashamed – rightly dividing.
(2 Tim. 2:15–16 KJV) “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”
So, instead of faith in the word of truth rightly divided, Christians have been trained to place faith in things that God has said, even if not written or given to them. This feigned faith in the word of God is something Christians should be ashamed of. Paul describes it as profane and vain babblings. And rather than being a demonstration of a real trust in God, their feigned faith increases to more ungodliness because God is not in it. It is by very definition ungodly. This false faith pretends that God told you to do or believe something he never told you.
Let me give you an example. God says, “Make thee an ark…” (Gen 6:14). If I started building this huge boat in my backyard because God said it’s going to rain and you would ask, “What are you doing?” I would loudly proclaim, “I’m doing it because I believe God, so I’m building this boat because God said so.” You would not view me as a great man of faith. Why? Because you should understand that God did not tell me to make an ark in Gen 6:14, he told Noah to make an ark. My building the boat would not be an act of faith, but of foolishness. No matter how loudly I proclaim my faith, the reality is my feigned faith would be nothing more than vain jangling, profane and vain babblings pretending to be godliness, but God is not in it.
The root of this problem has been generations of Bible teachers, since the time of Paul, ignoring Paul’s instruction to rightly divide the word. This results in false teaching by having to homogenize the scriptures to make it fit the feigned faith. To help God out, many Bible teachers have sought to rid the Bible of any discrepancies and contradictions by teaching that it is in total agreement with itself. Unable to field the objections of those who claim there are contradictions in the Bible, they simply get louder and preach to the choir. Anyone who questions the Bible is then taught that doing so is unbelief, so they just need to believe, even if they do not understand. However, the teaching of Paul on how to properly study the word of truth does not require the believer to check their brain at the door. Biblical Christianity is not the enemy of thought, reason, and logic.
The real danger is that this feigned faith misrepresents God, much like Job’s friends did. (Job 42:7 KJV) “And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.” How many non-believers have turned from the truth because professing Christians misrepresent him? Because Christians have been taught to claim promises by faith that God has never given to them, non-believers or new believers become disillusioned when they think that God may have failed to keep those promises. But God did not fail because he never made those promises to those who by feigned faith claim them. The Lord has always been against those who claim to represent God and say God has said, when the Lord has not said. (Ezek. 13:6–8 KJV) “They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken? Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD.”
Generations of Christians have been trained by their teachers to claim the promises. We have entire collections of promises collated into books that are sold to the Christian masses under the pretense that you can by faith claim all these promises. However, no one takes the time to examine whether these promises are ever made to you as a Christian as a member of the body of Christ.
Let me give you one more example. I have read posts on social media by professing Christians claiming they have faith in God that he will keep them from getting Covid-19. That God would keep them from getting sick. Is this faith or is this foolishness? Has God promised the believer as a member of the body of Christ that they will not get sick? What does the word of God say?
(Ex. 15:26 KJV) “And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”
Clearly, the Lord had promised Israel that he would keep them from the diseases that the Egyptians experienced if they diligently listened to the Lord and did right. But is this a promise that a member of the body of Christ can claim by faith? No! Remember, God did not say this to you. What do the words of Christ, as revealed to Paul, say to the members of the body of Christ?
In 2 Tim 4:20, Paul left Trophimus at Miletum sick. He instructed Timothy in 1 Tim 5:20 to take a little wine for his stomach sake and often infirmities. Even Paul himself suffered from an infirmity in the flesh. Are we to believe that these folks, including Paul, were simply not right with God? So how can a member of the body of Christ pretend to have faith in God that they will not get Covid-19? They cannot, it is feigned faith. It is self-deception. It is no more faith, than if I were building a big boat in my back yard. God did not say that you as a member of the body of Christ will not get sick. (3 John 1:2 KJV) “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” You may wish for health, but God has not promised it.
Some believers cannot fathom that God would allow them to experience anything bad. So, they emotionally and irrationally hang onto the idea that God will keep them from bad things happening to them. But has God ever promised believers in the body of Christ that nothing bad will happen to them? The reality is bad things happen to Christian people. Paul was beheaded, Stephen was stoned to death, etc. Read Foxe’s book of Martyrs for a sampling. I personally know of a Christian woman who was raped and murdered. It may not be comfortable to think that God would allow such horrific things to happen to those who have put their trust in him, but is it really faith to pretend that he will always keep you from bad things? Clearly it is not. What does the word of God say to the members of the body of Christ? “All things work together for good…” (Rom 8:28) that is what we are promised. This does not mean that only good things will befall us. But it does mean that no matter what befalls us that it will work together for good, not that it would be good.
In Hebrews chapter 11 which is often referred to as the Hall of Faith, we read of those who did things by faith. (Heb. 11:36–38 KJV) “And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” Clearly, they did not get the memo that only good things will happen to people of faith. When you pretend to believe that God will not let anything bad happen to you, you are not acting on faith because God never said that. That is feigned faith.
Is it faith (for a believer in the body of Christ) to claim the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14? “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Contextually, this is the Lord’s answer to a prayer of Solomon, King of Israel. Outside that context it makes no sense at all. “Will heal their land.” What land is the believer in the body of Christ promised that needs healing? Can this be claimed by the Chinese Christians, the Russian Christians, or the North Korean Christians? Yet, repeatedly I see Christians posting this verse on social media. Christianity has been trained to use the word of God and then pretend to believe it. This is cloaked by many teachers of the word of God to be a “spiritual application.” Truly the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul would make a “spiritual application” of a portion of scripture on occasion, but we must remember that their words were scripture as they were led by the Holy Spirit. However these teachers of feigned faith take it upon themselves to apply scriptures where they do not apply. They have no authority from God to do so and they have misled many to wrongly apply scriptures. The Lord has never told the body of Christ that he would heal their land or even that they have a land. To claim this promise is merely feigned faith.
In Matthew 17, Jesus said to his disciples, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Was Jesus teaching his disciples that if they believe something, they could do it? The mustard seed is said to be an exceedingly small seed and faith the size of only a grain of mustard seed would allow you to move mountains simply by speaking to them. Are there any records of anyone moving a mountain by just speaking to it? Is there any record of even Jesus speaking to a mountain and having it move to yonder place? The answer is obviously no. To understand the lesson that Jesus is teaching his disciples you must know the context. Prior to Jesus saying this to his disciples, a man had brought his devil possessed son, who was a lunatic and sore vexed, to Jesus’ disciples for healing. However, they were unable to do so. His disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to do so. He says to them, “because of your unbelief.” This is what prefaced his lesson on faith. So, again I pose the question, Was Jesus teaching his disciples that they could do anything if they merely believed? The answer is no. In Matthew 10, Jesus “gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” And he then sent them forth to do so. Here is the important lesson to learn, if God empowers you to do something, then it only takes the tiniest amount of faith to do it. Why? because it is God’s empowerment that is going to do it. You see how faith is tied to what God has committed himself. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. So, if God tells you that through him you can move a mountain by speaking to it, then you can rest assured it will only require the tiniest amount of faith on your part because it’s God’s power that’s going to get it done.
There is a wonderful promise found in (Heb. 13:5–6 KJV) “5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” This promise is consistent with what Paul teaches the body of Christ and his own testimony in (2 Cor. 4:8–10 KJV) “8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” The problem, we discover, is not in the claiming of this promise, but in the understanding of it and if you do not understand it and know what it means, how can you have faith in it? Too many Christians like to quote this promise when there is a possible threat of something bad happening to them. Is this faith or is it, feigned faith? It depends on what you think it means. If you think it means that God will not let anything bad happen to you, then it is feigned faith for the Lord has not promised you that. You may sound spiritual when you proudly proclaim the promise, but that is just a pretense. Again, read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. The reality is the Lord never left or forsook Stephen while the Jews where stoning him to death. He never left Paul as they stoned him and dragged him outside the city and later decapitated him. I have known Christians who have died from brain tumors, leukemia, cancer, car accidents, etc., and the Lord never left or forsook them. To make the impression that because you trust the Lord nothing bad will ever happen to you, is bearing false witness of God. But to claim I will not fear what man shall do to me, because no matter what they do, God will always be with and not forsake me even in death, that is true faith in what God has revealed.
Sadly, far too many believers have been trained to put on a pretense and claim they have faith in promises that God has never made to them. And even sadder is the number of people who have become disillusioned because of the feigned faith that they have witnessed which has them thinking that God has not kept his word. Feigned faith misrepresents God and has him saying things that he did not say. Bible teachers who fail to rightly divide the word of truth have every reason to be ashamed for perpetuating a system that wrongly claims things that God did not say to them. These profane and vain babblings have increased unto more ungodliness. Not because someone was smoking a cigarette or drinking a beer, but because someone is pretending to have faith in something that God has never promised or said to them. They are being false witnesses of God no matter how spiritual they pretend to be.