The most terrifying words professing Christians could ever hear would be Jesus Christ saying, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of 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. How can this be? How can someone who declares Jesus is Lord and perform religious activities not be truly saved? How do you know this will not happen to you? Most people comfort themselves by saying, “It can’t be me, because I believe in Jesus.”
Two Kinds of Faith
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?
Two types of “faith” are described in the Bible. One originates in man
as he gives mental ascent to certain truths about God. It is a dead
faith that produces no evidence of a new life in Christ (James 2:17). The other is a God-given faith which includes being born again as a new creature in Christ (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 (Ezekiel 36:26; John 15:8). Would you be willing to look to Scripture to test your faith? (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 (Romans 10:8-13).
Two Roads to Eternity
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 that denies the sufficiency of Christ for salvation (Galatians 1:6-9). They will deceive people by asking them to respond to the Gospel without repentance and faith (Mark 1:15).
Two Responses to the Gospel
Some believe they are a Christian because they responded to an altar
call, or asked Jesus into their heart, or made a one-time decision to
follow Christ, or repeated a sinner’s prayer or were 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 declared, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). 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 converts to know they have eternal life (1 John 5:13).
Two Types of Converts
True converts have been born-again and passed from spiritual death to eternal life in Christ (John 3:3. Ephesians 2:5).
Godly sorrow for their sins has produced a repentance that led to
salvation by grace alone through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone (2 Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 2:8-9). Once slaves to sin, they have become obedient from the heart to God’s Word (Romans 6:17). They are sealed and led by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; Romans 8:14). They prove to be the Lord’s disciples by abiding in His Word and being led by the Spirit (John 8:31-32; Romans 8:14).
False converts do not know their perilous condition. They remain dead
in their sins because they do not have the Sprit of Christ (Romans 8:9). They love themselves and the world more than they love God and His children (1 John 2:15; 1 John 3:14).
In other words, if someone were to take a video of their life for a
month, their pursuit of worldly pleasures would far outweigh their love
for God, His Word and His people. These people deceive themselves when
they call Jesus “Lord” and hear His Word, but do not do what He says (1 John 2:4; James 1:22). They claim to know God but by their actions they deny Him (Titus 1:16).
They desire Jesus as a priest to pardon their sins, but not as a
prophet to instruct them, or a king to rule over them. When affliction
or persecution arises they fall away (Matthew 13:21).Some
will reject this warning and continue to walk in darkness and
deception. Others may recognize from the description of true Christians
in the book of First John that they have never been born again. By God’s
grace, they must repent and believe His glorious Gospel of grace (Romans 1:16).
The one and only Gospel of salvation is this: Christ died for our sins,
He was buried, He was raised on the third day in accordance with the
Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:4).