The most terrifying words a professing Christian could ever hear would be Jesus saying, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt. 7:21-23). The Lord Jesus will declare those horrifying words to many, not a few, who will boast in the many works they did in His Name. They called Him Lord but did not obey His first command to “Repent and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
Who are the “many” who will be turned away on Judgment Day? They are those who thought they could merit eternal life by the works they were doing instead of trusting in the work Christ had done. They also never turned from their sin to follow Jesus Christ in faith. Since they never obeyed the Gospel of Christ, they will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord (2 Thess. 1:9). Tragically, when Jesus declares to them, “Depart from Me,” there will be no second chance, no excuses, and no blaming the false teachers who deceived them.
The Lord Jesus also referred to the “many” when He spoke of the two paths to eternity. Many will travel the broad road to destruction instead of the narrow road to eternal life (Matt. 7:13-14). Rather than striving to enter the narrow gate by testing every man’s teaching, they foolishly follow false teachers, who are wolves disguised in sheep’s clothing (Luke 13:24; Matt. 7:15).
It is a sobering thought to realize that 83% of Americans profess faith in Christ, but only a few of them show evidence of being born again as new creatures in Christ. According to the research, many of them cannot even communicate the Gospel that has the power to save souls.
Part of the blame must be placed on man-centered methods of evangelism such as making a decision to “accept” Christ, or repeating a sinner’s prayer, or asking Jesus into your heart, or coming forward for salvation. None of these methods are found in the Bible. The only saving response to the Gospel of Grace is to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15; Acts 16:31). Part of the blame can also be placed on those who compromise the Gospel to make it more inclusive and less offensive (Gal. 1:6-10).
With so many false converts, the church has become a mission field. Many professors of Christ are not really possessors of Christ! They are strangers to the new birth. They have never passed from death unto life. They remain condemned because they have not been justified. They remain enemies of God even though they profess to be His friends! They remain enslaved to sin because they have never been set free. They profess the Savior with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. They deceive other people with their external righteousness, but they cannot deceive God! They are unaware of their pending peril, because they have never examined themselves to see if their faith is genuine (2 Cor. 13:5).
The best way we can prove our faith is genuine is to examine it through the lens of Scripture. The apostle John wrote his first epistle so that those who believe in the Lord Jesus may know that they have eternal life (1 John 5:13). We also see many characteristics of false converts in God’s Word. Some of them are listed below:
- You think you are a good person (Romans 3:12).
- You have a zeal for God without knowledge (Rom. 10:1-4).
- You have knowledge of God without obedience (Titus 1:16).
- You do not pursue sanctification (Heb. 12:14; 1 Thess. 4:3).
- You are self-righteous without repentance (Luke 18:9-14).
- You seek to establish your own righteousness (Rom. 10:3).
- You think you can merit or earn eternal life (Titus 3:5).
- You are unwilling to forgive others (Mat. 6:15).
- You have no desire to follow Jesus (Luke 9:23).
- You call Jesus ‘Lord’ but do not do what He says (Luke 6:46).
- You do not love other Christians (1 John 4:20-21).
- You love your sin (John 3:19).
- You have not departed from iniquity (2 Timothy 2:19).
- You condone or promote things God hates (Prov. 6:16-19).
- You are a mere hearer of the Word, not a doer (James 1:22).
- You are full of pride with no humility (James 4:6).
- You walk in darkness (1 John 1:6).
- You live according to your sinful nature (Romans 8:5).
- You do not love the truth (2 Thess. 2:10-12).
- You take Jesus as Savior but not as Lord (Romans 10:9).
- You desire Jesus as a priest to pardon sin, but not as a prophet to instruct you or a king to rule over you.
Please know the assurance that we are truly saved is not based on a past decision but on a present reality. So what if we are unsure about our faith and our salvation? We find the answer in God’s Word:
- Abide in God’s Word – then you will know the truth that will set you free from religious deception (John 8:31-32).
- Repent – with godly sorrow for your sins and cry out to God for mercy (Luke 18:13; 2 Cor. 7:10).
- Believe the Gospel – follow the Lord Jesus Christ in faith (Rom. 10:9-10).
- Love God – with all you heart, soul and mind (Mat. 22:37; 1 Cor. 16:22).
What should we do if we know someone who may be a false convert? Ask them to share the events surrounding their conversion. If their conversion testimony does not line up with Scripture, ask them more questions. Speak the truth in love. Give them our Gospel tract True Faith or False Hope – How Can I Be Sure? to encourage them. Give them a link to the message I preached by the same title, that can be heard here. Let them know eternity is forever! We can be wrong about a lot of things in this life and still survive, but if we are wrong about our faith, we will pay for that mistake forever and ever.
What a Glorious Savior We Have to Proclaim
The Son of God became the Son of Man because He had the law to fulfill, darkness to dispel, truth to disclose, error to expose, prophecy to accomplish, justice to satisfy, sin to remove, righteousness to impute, sinners to save, people to sanctify, redemption to purchase, a church to build, a bride to purify, freedom to grant, heaven to open, life to give, death to destroy, Satan to conquer and God to reveal! How could anyone trust another Jesus?
Terrifying Fires – Temporal and Eternal
Images of the raging fires that are scorching the earth in America are absolutely alarming. Thousands of people are fleeing to safety because they sense the imminent danger. As heartbreaking as it is to see these devastating fires, how much more disheartening is it to see people dismiss the reality of the terrifying fire that awaits people who die without Christ.
Those who die in their sins will go immediately to a place of torments where they consciously experience pain and thirst from a blazing fire that will never be extinguished. The horror and hopelessness is so great they will want to warn their loved ones on earth. The eternal state of punishment for their sins is irreversible; there is no second chance and no escape.
“Knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor. 5:11). Let us plead with them to flee to the loving and merciful arms of Jesus Christ who is their only hope of escape (Luke 16:19-31; Acts 4:12). Let us do all we can to rescue our loved ones from God’s wrath.
The True Gospel vs. the Fatal Gospel of Rome
There is only one Gospel that has the divine power to save souls. Therefore, if there is the slightest deviation, distortion or perversion, it is no longer the gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). Anyone who distorts the gospel is accursed. It does not matter who you are: a pope, a bishop, a priest, or a pastor. It does not matter how many works you have done in the name of Christ, or how diligently you have served, or how sacrificially you have given, or how fervently you have prayed. If you preach a false gospel, you are accursed.
Only the pure Gospel of grace is good news; in fact, it is the greatest news anyone will ever hear. The false gospel of the Roman Catholic Church does not offer any good news, only a false hope. This was the message Mike recently presented at the IFCA National Conference in South Bend, IN. You can listen to the message here and pass it on to your Catholic friends and loved ones.