The most terrifying words that professing Christians could ever hear would be Jesus Christ saying, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23). On judgment day, those horrifying words will be heard by many who call Jesus “Lord” who never repented of their iniquities and asked Him to truly be the Lord of their lives.
How can this be? How can someone who declares Jesus is Lord and perform religious activities not be truly saved? And the question is: How do you know this will not happen to you? Since most people reassure themselves by saying, “It can’t be me, because I believe in Jesus.”
Scripture says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe, and shudder” (James 2:19). The issue is not “faith in God”, but what kind of faith do you have? There are two types of “faith” described in the Bible. One originates in man as he gives affirmation to certain truths about God. This is a dead faith since: What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? . . . Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14; 17)
The other is a God-given faith: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is a living faith born out of a new heart that desires to bear fruit for the glory of God: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:8)
The word of God tells us to: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). If you truly are a Christian, it will deepen your assurance of salvation. If you are not a true Christian, then by God’s grace, you can call on the Lord before you perish forever. When a person comes to see the proper foundation of faith and trust with his heart what Jesus did for them on the cross, this is saving faith: “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life.” (John 6:40)
Many people believe in facts concerning Christ. They believe that He is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for the sins of the world. But they do not love Him supremely, nor are they willing to obey Him and follow Him. This is not true faith in Christ and it will never bring salvation.
There is another Scripture that tells us: Every spirit that confesses Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist. (1 John 4:2-3)
‘The mouth can easily confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, but the spirit cannot lie. If the spirit confesses that Jesus came in the flesh the actions and teachings of that person will line up with the actions and teachings of Jesus when He walked upon this earth.’ (John Henderson)
The Lord Jesus said we must: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). This is followed by an urgent warning: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). They appear to be Christians, but deceive people with a distorted gospel: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! (Galatians 1:6-9). These false teachers will deceive people by asking them to respond to the Gospel without repentance and faith. People need to: Repent and believe the good news! (Mark 1:15)
Some believe that they are a Christian because they responded to an altar call, or made a one-time decision to follow Christ, or repeated a sinner’s prayer or were water baptized. These responses are not found in the Bible. The only response unto salvation is to “repent and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
Jesus stated: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32). God is commanding “all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Saving faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). God wants true believers to know that they have eternal life (1 John 5:13).
True born-again believers are the only ones that will see the kingdom of God since they pass from death to eternal life in Christ (John 3:3). Because God sees our heart, our intentions and through: “His great love for us, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5).
Only godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death (2 Corinthians 7:10). For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
True born again believers are thankful to God for their redemption because: “thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance” (Romans 6:17). “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13). “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:14). Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
False converts do not discern their perilous condition. They remain dead in their sins because “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). They love themselves and the world; and the warning is: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love for the Father is not in them.” (1 John 2:15)
False converts deceive themselves because: Whoever says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar and the truth is not in that person (1 John 2:4). They listen but do not obey: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). “They claim to know God but by their actions they deny Him” (Titus 1:16). They have no solid foundation and: “since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.” (Matthew 13:21)
Think about this and search your mind and your spirit. Either you will reject these warnings and continue to walk in darkness and deception. However, we hope you will recognize the need for change and to search the Scriptures diligently for God’s truth and answers and come to the realization that: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)
The one and only Gospel of salvation is this: Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:4), He ascended into heaven and He will return. (Acts 1:11)
Jesus said: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12)
No one knows the day or the hour that they will take their last breath, therefore: “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For He says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2). Take heed, because tomorrow might be too late.