From Craig Swanson…
An Unthinkable Situation
Imagine standing before the Lord, thinking you are a child of God, and He says, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” According to (Matt. 7:21-23), this is going to happen to “many” people. It would be truly awful to go through life thinking you were a Christian, only to find out you really weren’t when it was too late.
So is it possible to have a faith that doesn’t save? In (James 2:19), it says that the demons believe and shudder. Demons have absolute faith that Jesus is Almighty God. But that belief doesn’t save them. (John 2:23-24) “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, beholding His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not trusting Himself to them, for He knew all men.” They believed in His name, but He did not commit to them, because He knew their heart. The scary answer to the question is that you can believe all the right things and not be saved.
Am I Lacking Something?
Some who are reading this may be getting a little concerned. But in (2 Corinthians 13:5) Paul tells us to, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” Salvation is a momentous transaction that changes us from old to new, from darkness to light, from a child of wrath to a child of God. It is worth the soul searching to know for sure that it happened. I’ll talk about how to test yourself the next time. For now, let’s talk about what is lacking in the faith that doesn’t save.
I’m afraid far too many American “believers” come to church and the Lord for “fire insurance”. They believe in God and heaven and hell – and they certainly want to avoid hell. Heaven might not be that bad either. So they add Jesus to their life. They believe all the right things and prayed the right prayer. But they never experience the transaction of salvation. What are they lacking?
In (Mark 10), beginning at v.17, a man kneels before Jesus, asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. He’s asking the right question and asking the right Person. After a short conversation Jesus says to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Does the Lord require that we sell all that we have in order to be saved? No. Then why require it of this man who seemed to be seeking God? Jesus knew his heart. His money was more important to him than following Jesus. He was not willing to repent – to turn from his way and follow Jesus.
Santa or God?
And that is what so many people are lacking. A broken and contrite heart that is willing to turn from their own way and humbly bow the knee to the lordship of Christ. (Romans 10:13) “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” We all know this verse well, but we often fly right over the word Lord as if it were a name and not a title. He is Lord – Master – Owner. That’s what the man who came to Jesus lacked – the willingness to submit to Christ. He wanted eternal life, but he also wanted control. (2 Cor. 7:10) For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. Repentance leads to saving faith. I’m not saying that repenting is a work that we must do to earn salvation. Salvation is by grace, through faith. Repentance is part of the faith equation. It’s settling the question, “Is Jesus Christ lord of my life, or am I?”
Here was a man who was seeking God – who wanted eternal life. And he was standing in front of God in the flesh – the only giver of eternal life. But he was not willing to turn from his way and follow his Lord. How sad. Is your faith a saving faith? Or do you just want a Savior and not a Lord?