In the Image of Christ
“Are you a child of God, or are you just religious?”
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7:21-23)
“That’s strong language!”, you might say. But it was the Lord Jesus Christ who spoke these solemn words. Anyone who calls Jesus “Lord” should examine himself in the light of these verses. The only thing sadder than dying in your sin and ending up in the lake of fire for eternity, is the person who calls Jesus “Lord”, yet ends up in that same lake of fire. Can you imagine the horror of his soul as his eyes close for the last time in this life thinking that when he opens them again on the other side of eternity, he will be “better off”, because he’ll see the glories of heaven, and to his horror and surprise he awakes in the torments of hell? His relatives who are still alive console themselves saying that father or mother or brother or sister is better now, happy now, etc. Little do they know!
We need to observe and consider several things as we read these verses. First we see that the people that the Lord is referring to are religious folk. With their mouth they call Jesus “Lord”. They claim to be Christians, and that they are involved in God’s work. To substantiate their claim they point to spiritual things like prophesying, casting out devils, and many other good works. Some will say these are people who once were saved, and yet somehow lost their salvation, that is, that they WERE Christians once, they once believed in earlier years, but something happened and they “fell away” or “gave it up”. Yet we should pay attention to what Jesus said, “I never knew you”.
Another thing to notice is the size of the problem, the quantity of people who will experience this painful problem. Christ said that in that day, “many will say…”. He didn’t say a few, just a handful, but rather, “many”. That is a big problem, it affects a lot of people, people who, sadly, do not suspect that this is their problem. Great multitudes will find themselves in this horrifying situation. The saddest thing about this, is that once these people are awakened to the deception in which they lived, it will be to late to do anything about it. A stitch in time saves nine, but a stitch too late can’t alter your fate! Therefore, two good questions to ask yourself are, who are these people, and, is it possible that “I” am one of them?
I have met many people in my lifetime that claimed they were children of God and are convinced that when they die they will be in heaven. Yet these people can’t even claim the good works that the people in the verses above can. Their lives manifest a love of the things in this world rather than the things of God (1 John 2:15-17). When they stand before God they will not be able to say, “Lord, look at what I have done for you”, because they have done nothing for the Lord. Yet these people claim they belong to him. If the Lord tells the people who did so much in the above verses that He never knew them, what chances do these people have?
Don’t take me wrong, I am definitely not saying that we are saved by good works. The Word of God teaches us that we are saved by faith, not by our own works (deeds), and that a saved person is created for good works. (Ephesians 2:8-10 Titus 2:14 3:4-7). In other words, we can’t do good works in order to be saved, but once we are saved, we do them because we’re saved. They are the effect of salvation, not the cause. If you are in Christ you will bear fruit (John 15:1-6) If you claim to be a child of God and yet there is no fruit in your life, perhaps it is because you are not really in Christ. If you claim to be a child of God, yet your life is full of the pleasures of sin and void of the things of God, you have deceived yourself, my friend. In the book of Titus we read these words
“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Titus 1:16
Notice that there is a profession and a denial in this verse. The profession is with the mouth and the denial is with the deeds, the lifestyle. In God’s eyes the denial speaks louder than the profession, just as we say, “actions speak louder than words”.
Dear friend, I have met many people that fit the verses above, and not only this, but also I myself used to be one of them. I made a profession of the Lord Jesus when I was eight years old and was baptized. I attended church and was involved in many of the activities held there, I read my bible, and even prayed from time to time. At about the age of twelve all the spiritual activity in my life stopped. I started a love affair with the things of the world. I loved the pleasures of sin that this world had to offer, and pursued those pleasures with great zeal. At twenty years of age the Lord started working on me. My brother gave me a book to read written by a Christian. I refused to read the book for many months. It was by my lamp stand and every night as I turned the light off I would see the book just sitting there. One night I picked the book up and started reading it. About half way through the book the author asks this question, “If you were to die tonight where would you be spending eternity?” I had heard or read this question many times in the past, and without hesitation said to myself, “heaven of course”. Yet when I read this question that night the Spirit of God convicted me. It was the first time in my life I really gave this question more than a second of thought. How could I claim to be a child of God when right across the room I had grocery bags filled with pornography exposing the ungodly lust of my heart? My mouth for years was filled with obscenities and my heart filled with prejudice and hatred toward others. As I examined my life, I realized for the first time that I was not a child of God, and that I was in big trouble with Him. If God was going to let me into heaven He might as well tear down those pearly gates and let everyone in. It was that night that I repented and bowed my knee to the Lord and asked Him to save me from my sin and from the penalty of my sin. I knew that I deserved the wrath that God has for unrepentant sinners. I also knew that God offered a pardon for my sin, and that this was a based on one simple requirement. The condition was, receiving His Son the Lord Jesus Christ and believing on His name. If I would receive The Lord Jesus Christ, then God would not only deliver me from His wrath, but also He would make me His child (John 1:11-13). Dear friend, if you examined your life and find that you are in the same condition that I was in then I would plead with you to do as I did, repent and call on the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:9-13). Right now it is not yet too late. I pray that you will not be one of the many that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 7:21-23 that deceived themselves until it was too late. Call on the name of the Lord now, while there is still time. “Now is the day of salvation.”
Visit our web site for more articles and information at http://nlbchapel.org