Self-Deceived Professing Christians By George Stroh August 14, 2011
"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness."(Matthew 7:22,23)
These may be the most frightening verses in the Bible. They describe that day when many self-deceived and lost religious people are standing before the Lord in judgment. These people have assumed that, because of their Christian confession and good works, they will be accepted by God and are to be rewarded with eternal life in heaven. They are very surprised to learn that both they and all their good works are rejected by God.
The fact that there are "Many" reminds us of what Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount; "Enter thought the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."(Matthew 7:13,14) Again, these many people who are on the broad road leading to destruction think that they are Christians on the way to heaven.
Each one of us will give an account to the Lord for what we have done in this life, the good and the bad. There will be no excuses or shifting the blame to others. But certainly many Pastors, some with very large congregations, are contributing, even encouraging this self-deception. Just because someone once walked down an isle or once professed faith in Jesus Christ, or was baptized, or regularly attends Church, does not guarantee that they truly know the Lord. Or more importantly, that He knows them! The Lord will severely judge Pastors who have so neglected their flock. It is required that Pastors consistently and unashamedly preach the pure gospel to their people, knowing that many who claim to have a relationship with Christ, may yet be self-deceived and on the broad way that leads to destruction. Better to repeatedly preach the gospel to true believers than to falsely assume the salvation of the self-deceived unbelievers.
Salvation is, of course, by faith alone in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And yes, there must be works that follow sincere faith; "What use is it ,my brethren, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?"(James 2:14). However, the order is crucial-- We are first saved by grace through faith alone which always produces good or godly works; "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."(James 2:6).
It is revealing that these self-deceived religious people tell the Lord that they should be accepted because of their good works rather than because of the cross of Christ; Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? But salvation is by grace through faith alone in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. How about you? Are you really saved today or still self-deceived? Maranatha!
Maranatha Bible Church has partnered with and supports HeartCry Missionary Society. The Founder, Paul Washer, preaches clearly and with much conviction about this matter of self-deceived professing Christians. Please go to the MBC website: www.mbcaz.org