Can A Narcissist Be A Christian? It’s All About Fruit vs. No Fruit

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“Can A Narcissist Be A Christian”? is one of the frequent search terms for people finding their way to this blog.  It is a very understandable question, along the lines of “How can X be a Christian and act like THAT?”, or “How can X claim to follow Jesus and treat people in the opposite way to how Jesus might”?

In John 15, Jesus makes it clear that the answer to this question is all about whether or not the person demonstrates any (and, as we shall see later, genuine) fruit.

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John 15:1-14

15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 

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Jesus is very clear.  If a branch does not bear fruit (as a result of not being truly connected to the vine), God removes it, throws it away and they are burned.  These people are not Christians and – as unpopular as it is to discuss in today’s world – truly face the fires of Hell.   If a branch bears fruit, God prunes it in a way that will result in  more fruit – and bearing a lot of fruit proves a person to be Jesus’ disciple and brings glory to God.

This principle is also referred to in Jude……

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Jude 4 and 12

For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ……

12 These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted;

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…..and the flip side of the coin – a genuine Christian bearing increasing amounts of fruit – is referred to Colossians 1:5 & 6:

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Colossians 1:5-6

because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;

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Therefore, the basic distinction between a Christian and not-a-Christian is no fruit vs fruit:
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Some fruit may not be obvious – such as praying in secret and giving in secret.   But, people that pray in secret and give in secret will certainly show fruit in other areas of their lives.  And conversely, Narcissists can do things that look like fruit for absolutely the wrong motives – i.e., out of selfishness rather than love – and as a result it is not genuine fruit.  This is made clear in I Corinthians 13:1-3:
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1 Corinthians 13:1-3

13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

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While it is mostly obvious who is a genuine believer, and who is not, ultimately, only God knows the true motives of men’s hearts…..
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1 Corinthians 4:5

Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

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…… and, as a result, while we can have an indication of people’s status before God based on observable fruit done out of love, in the end it is God who truly knows those who are His.

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2 Timothy 2:19

19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

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