“There is no comforting truth than this; that I am now saved by God’s grace. And one day I will see Him, the God and captain of my salvation, the “Lord Jesus Christ”, for salvation is of the Lord. (Jonah 2:9, Hebrews 2:10).”
“Christian” is one of the words that people used mistakenly by identifying themselves as one. The word Christian is referring to the disciple of Christ (Acts 11:26). Now do you consider yourself as a disciple of Christ? Are you truly saved through the righteousness of Christ and not of your own? How can someone know that He is truly saved? This blog might help you understand what it means to be a Christian, a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now according to Matthew 7:21-23, on the judgment day, many deceived Christians who thought of themselves that they are bound to heaven will be cast out to hell, and surprisingly this professing Christians are those we can consider as “religious” in the sight of men, as they professed, “have we not prophesied in thy name”? in Matthew 7:22.
“Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (ESV)
These passages from the scripture is the “most tragic” as Pastor John Macarthur referred to, and yes I have to agree to that, as many were deceived by their own illusion of “Christianity”, believing that they are on the way to heaven. This scripture can be considered as the “Judas tragedy”, as Judas knowing as one of the disciple is hell bound from the beginning despite of his good works. That is why, the Bible is commanding us to check our heart if we are in the faith, or else you are just one of the so called “self deceived hell bound Christians” believing that their eternal destiny is in heaven.
“2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (KJV)
So the question is this, are you a reprobate? Or are you in the real faith of Christianity? Are you heaven bound? Or are you hell bound? Now here is some of the check list that might help you see if whether or not you’re in the faith (this list is based on John Macarthur’s sermon “Saved or Self Deceived”? (Matthew 7:21-27)).
The following are the people who have a great chance that they are self-deceived hell bound Christians, thinking that they are on their way to heaven.
- Those people who seek for the byproduct of Christianity instead of seeking Christ himself. This are the kind of people who open their Bible every Sunday or every prayer meeting, expecting that by attending such, they will have the favor of God which is by giving them wealth and other lustful, materialistic desires that an unregenerate man would want to have.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:16 (KJV)
1 John 2:16 is basically the contrary of what God would want for His children to attain, which is the conformity to the image and likeness of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, to be conformed to His righteousness as children of light and not of darkness.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 (KJV)
“But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.1 Thessalonians 5:8”
So as a children of God, we are commanded to live a life as if we are on a spiritual warfare who needs to be nourished continually through God’s word in the scripture and be sober, faithful to the word, love for God that yields obedience to His words, and our hope for salvation. So we do not have our “Best Life Now” in this world as Joel Osteen says, but we have our eternal and best life in heaven someday. So do you have this hope my friend? Check your heart.
- Hell bound people are more committed to church activities and ministries than the word of God, thinking that their own self- righteousness can save them, thinking that ministries can save them even if without a personal relationship with God. These people do not even have the passion to go to the church to be filled with the word of God and be change with it, but would rather be applauded by men through their self- earned self righteousness by being involved in the ministries. I’m not saying that being in the ministry is not the will of God, but being in the ministries because you want to be admired by men, doing it for your own self idolatry instead of doing it for God’s glory (of course you cannot glorify God without having a personal relationship with Him). The scripture says in James 2:17 that faith without work is dead, so true faith is accompanied with good works. However, we should also examine our heart if whether or not we are doing it in the name of our faith in Christ and not of our self, of our benefit, as the Bible says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Colossians 3:23”(KJV). Now do you have this truth in doing your ministries? Who are you serving for? Yourself or God? Check your heart.
- Hell bound people are more involved in theology for academic purposes rather than pursuing it for holiness, for application to oneself and be conformed to the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. These are the kind of people who knows every theology, but the theology that they’ve known is not evident in their life, in their testimony, as they are not regenerated in the first place despite of having a good theology. They are the kind of people whose life is not being controlled by the truth of the Bible. Surprisingly these people participated in every Bible studies, and may even be enrolled in seminaries, but still holiness in their life is not evident.
- Hell bound people believes that they are saved because once in their life they recited a sinner’s prayer, or even baptized and declaring them to be saved as some ministers do. With this “deceiving practices” that are still present up until now, this will make everyone believed that they were saved without the marks of a true saved person that is evident by brokenness for their sin, repentance, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, obedience of God’s word, continuing in holiness, repentance and sanctification.
I hope the list helped you then, so what are the reasons as to why there are so many hell bound people who thinks they are on their way to heaven? What are the reasons for this deception? Again let me borrow John Macarthur’s list for reasons as to why this is still manifested in this generation despite of the active proclamation of God’s word.
- Shallow understanding of the word of God- People have a very shallow understanding about the truth, of the Gospel; hence they have a very poor understanding of what Christianity means.
- False reassurance by the ministers will bring more hell bound people today. Like for example, a minister will declare someone to be saved and now a member of the family of God even though his/her life is not mark(s) with holiness. Many were deceived because of false reassurance that by simply reciting a sinner’s prayer or a confession of the faith through baptism is enough.
- Failure to examine one’s self- Again the Bible is commanding us to examine our self if we are in the faith, or else we are not truly saved (2 Cor. 13:5). Examine if whether or not you’re living according to the standard of the Bible? Do you have a personal relationship with God? Do you have a continuous communion with Him in prayer and in Bible reading? Check your self…
- False doctrine of morality as a basis of being saved- Some people believe that they are a good person with a good heart, living a life of morality and values; hence they consider themselves as “heaven bound Christians”. But this once again is a result of a shallow understanding of the Bible, as the Bible says that all men are evil, we have no righteousness of our own apart from the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, and it’s through His righteousness alone that we are saved by being a sacrificial lamb crucified.
- Fixation on religious activity- This means that people believed that salvation is through the involvement in the ministry and attending church every Sunday, or even Bible studies. These kind of so called Christians have no personal relationship with the Lord despite of their “outer show off religious appearances” in the public, believing that they have heavenly credentials for their ministerial effort.
- People who identify themselves with the church who knew a little or nothing at all about the truth have the tendency that they are not yet saved. These people are those who can be seen only if there’s an occasion like Christmas party or church anniversary without a regular church attendance. If you have no passion and a personal relationship with the Lord, surely you will not seek for the company of the brethren in the church, you will not seek for the company of the wise in the church (if there’s any), you will not concern yourself for the things that God cares about, you will forsake the assembly as you are not save in the first place. In other words, you are not one of the people of God, as you are identified as one of the world.
Now which are you in the list? I pray you’re not on the list. Check yourself then.
So if you’re asking, so what are the evidences of a truly saved and not self deceived? Dear friends, there are Bible truths that we can check for if truly the Lord is working in your life, and you are truly saved. Now we can check these scriptures and see if whether or not this is a reality in your life, a reality of a genuine Christian and not a self deceived one.
- A true Christian will grow in his/her repentance and brokenness because of sin, as God will sanctify him/her with His truth (John 17:17). As you grow in sanctification, you will be conformed more and more to become like Christ as you grow in righteousness, and living a life according to the standard of the Bible. And mind you, this is not something that you have to force living with, for God will surely be working in your life, He will guard you with zealousness like a Father who disciplined His child (Proverbs 3:11), and even chastise you if you will commit a sin, for God promised that He will finished the good work that He begun in you until the Lord Jesus Christ will return (Philippians 1:6), for the Lord Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
- Holiness must be evident in your life as you will bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, for our old corrupt wicked self have now been crucified with Christ. Now what are the manifestation that the corrupt wicked self is not yet dead in you and still actively working in your life instead of the Holy Spirit working in you? The manifestations of the flesh are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murder, and drunkenness; (for this section, please check Galatians 5:19-24). Now if you think you are not bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit, then most probably you are not yet save.
- Longing to worship God in prayer and in Bible reading. Since God renewed your heart and implanted the affection and longing for His presence as you are now His child, then surely like the Lord Jesus Christ who have a deep communion with the Father most of the time, so we are as an adopted child of God will long for the Father as well, loving His law of righteousness and meditating it day and night, as the psalmist says, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalms 1:2 (KJV)”.
- As a true Christian, it is evident in our life that we will hunger for righteousness as we will grow in sanctification for the conformity to the image and likeness of our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. It is evident in a Christian that His life is marked with righteousness, for the Lord Jesus Christ is a righteous God, therefore those who are saved will be clothed with His righteousness as well as a result of sanctification. In His righteousness we will become a light and salt of the world for the glory of our Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16). The testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ must be within us.
So knowing these truths, do you see yourself as a real Christian? Are you ready to forsake everything that you have for the sake of the Lord? Are you ready to take up your cross and forsake everything no matter what it cost just to follow Christ even if it will cost you to hate your life and your love ones, as the Bible says,
“26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26-27 (KJV)”
Are you ready to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice as your reasonable service unto God? (Romans 12:1). Are you ready to obey God and live a life according to the scripture? I can challenge you these questions, but salvation is of the Lord alone, He is the only one who can save you. So if you think you are not yet save, then pray for His mercy and grace so that your soul might be save from the eternal condemnation of hell. Check your heart then if truly you’re in the faith.
To end this blog, let me share the list of “Self Discovery” according to Pastor A.W. Tozer, and check if whether or you can see the Lord Jesus Christ in it, because if not there’s a great possibility that Christ is not included in your daily life, not even in your mind for a second.
Rules for Self Discovery:
1)What we want most;
2)What we think about most
3)How we use our money
4)What we do with our leisure time
5)The company we enjoy
6)Who and what we admire
7)What we laugh at
“CHECK YOUR HEART IF YOUR IN THE FAITH”
GOD IS FAITHFUL
To God Be the Glory