Sobering thoughts are never comfortable. But then, they aren’t meant to be. Try as we might to avoid facing life’s deeper issues, they have a way of inching to the forefront time and again.
One of the most sobering thoughts ever presented was by Jesus. It is recorded in Matthew 7:21-23. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord.’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (NKJV)
How could it be that someone thinking himself to be for God actually has no connection with Him at all? If you’re serious about a relationship with Him, that is sobering indeed. Yet consider, for a moment, that most of the religions of the world make claim to God. Isn’t that enough? Apparently not. You see, attaching God’s name to our pursuits doesn’t mean anything if our hearts don’t belong to Him. A true believer doesn’t want to be acquainted with God, he wants a relationship with Him.
In the 15th Chapter of Matthew Jesus quoted from Isaiah: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (NKJV)
The practice of nullifying the Word of God for the agenda of men is nothing new. The Pharisees did that often to advance their cause. The keepers of the law were actually practicing lawlessness in their rejection of Jesus. And it continues today. There are competing voices that dismiss His Lordship, manipulate His words and trample truth, preferring man’s will to God’s Word.
Romans 10:9-10 says “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (NKJV) A believing heart is humbled and changed with the desire to beat in rhythm with the Savior’s. From that desire comes authentic faith that believes Jesus is the only means of salvation, confesses that all authority belongs to Him and relies on His Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance.
Truth seeking people are open to self-examination. Do we seek His kingdom or our glory? Do we want His truth or our version? Do we embrace His authority or claim our autonomy? Do we want God’s will more than our way? Do we want Jesus?
The grace of God has revealed the Truth of God to keep us from the wrath of God. And though He has made clear the consequences of dismissing Jesus, His love patiently waits, holding out the offer of salvation. Even so, it will not wait indefinitely. At the fullness of time, all options will end and we will be found faithful or false.
It is a sobering matter indeed and rejoicing or weeping will be determined by the authenticity or pretense of faith in Christ who is Lord of all.