"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. 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?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' Matthew 7:21-23
Tough words. Scary. Whether we want to admit it or not, these words cause all of us who call ourselves Christians to pause and reflect on the genuineness of our faith and repentance, otherwise known as salvation. If we aren’t careful, getting past this can be a lifetime impediment to our spiritual growth. It’s been said that the distance between simple knowledge of Christ and actual salvation is 18 inches. That would be the distance between the brain and the heart. “For with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation”.
I remember a particular service at my family’s home church in East Tennessee where I was raised. We had moved closer to the city and would come back to visit from time to time. We always knew that, in every service, there would be an “altar call” where folks would be invited to the front of the sanctuary around the altar for a time of prayer, repentance, and to “receive the call” of salvation. Formalities are often foreign to country folk, so no one was greatly surprised when a gentleman in overalls stood up after prayer and said loudly, “Preacher, that (sermon) scared the hell out of me!” A collective chuckle was heard through the sanctuary.
Funny as that was, it brings us to the subject at hand: The objective here is to come alongside those who seem to be on the outside looking in (cultural christianity), and ask God to make sure that what happens to them spiritually is more than a scary experience or a “warm feeling”. Only they themselves can know for sure, but our Spirit-inspired guidance and encouragement are often important.
Daily Battle Order:
The letters in the New Testament are filled with the very guidance and encouragement that we just spoke of in the previous paragraph. Dig in and find answers for yourself and then for those who seem to be “on the perimeter” and ask God to guide you in this worthy, essential service to Him. Start today! “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”