The Real Stuff. Radical Grace from the Book of Romans (Rom 6:1-2)

Real or fake?

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" (Rom 6:1-2, NIV2)

Diamonds don't just happen. They are formed a hundred miles under terra firma and are brought up to the earth's surface through volcanic eruptions. What makes them unique is that they are composed 99.9% of carbon. The pressure they are going through beneath the earth's surface, as well as the extreme heat, forces the carbon atoms to bond, turning them into beautiful diamonds. No wonder they are so expensive!

There are many fake diamonds out there as well, ones that pretend to be the genuine thing but really are not. How can we distinguish between the real stuff and the fake ones, especially since they look identical to the naked eye?

There are some steps that can be taken to determine if a diamond is a fake or the real thing. First of all, diamonds are one of the hardest natural substances. The only thing that can scratch a real diamond is another diamond. This is why diamonds are called diamonds, as the original Greek word for it is "adamas", which means invincible or indestructible. A fake one, on the other hand, can be scratched by something as innocuous as sandpaper. Fake ones cannot withstand the pressure of another object!

Another test to distinguish the genuine ones from the fake ones is the fog test. You can breathe on a diamond, as if trying to fog a mirror. If the "diamond" remains fogged for two to four seconds, it is a fake. The real one dispenses the heat evenly.

Some like to use the transparency test, where we flip the diamond upside down on a piece of newspaper. If we can read the newspaper through the "diamond", it is a fake!

If we have a sharp magnifying glass we can also look for the sharp facets of the diamond. If they are rolled instead of sharp, the diamond is a fake!

Naturally there are a few other tests that can be made to distinguish the real stuff from the fake ones, but these are more for the experts. However there are lab-created diamonds that contains the same identical structure and physical properties of real diamonds. A professional would not even be able to tell the difference without extensive testing using specialized equipment.

The biggest diamond scientists have discovered so far, cannot be found on our planet. It's a star named Lucy after the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". It is essentially a diamond of ten billion trillion trillion carats! Wow! No way could anyone wear that!

Christians, who are worth far more than diamonds in God's eyes, also have counterfeits. Not everyone who proclaims to be a Christian truly is one. These are the ones who give Christians a bad name. However, we cannot compare diamonds with fakes. They are completely different. Those who pretend that sin is OK are fakes, as no one loving our Lord and Master, Jesus the Christ, would refute His sacrifice that cost His life so that we could be truly free! "Why, they've re-crucified Jesus! They've repudiated him in public!" (Heb 6:6b, MSG)

The same is true with "Christians" that proclaim that Jesus' sacrifice was not enough and that human efforts is a must to obtain heaven! "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV)

Either we have been transformed gradually into God's image or we are reflecting our true nature: followers of the evil one. There are no other choices. After all, didn't Jesus say: "By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit." (Matthew 7:16-17, NIV)

What kind of fruit are we bearing?

Rob Chaffart

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