The Real and the Knock Off Pt 3

The real and the knockoff, Pt 3

The Test of Obedience.

Matthew 7:21-23,

“No, everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My father who is in heaven will enter.”

 

            In the third analogy, Christ draws a contrast between what we say and what we do. Jesus is not condemning those who proclaim him to be Lord, nor is he condemning the importance of our confession.  In Romans 10:9. We find that an essential step in genuine faith is the confession that Jesus is Lord.  To reject the deity of Christ is paramount to unbelief.  However, merely giving intellectual assent to his divinity is not enough.  James makes the same point when he states, “You believe that God is one, you do well; the demons also believe and shudder.” If your faith only affirms the triune God and the divine nature of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, then your confidence is no greater than the demons themselves, for they recognize the deity of Christ.  

            What is especially disturbing about Christ’s warning is that these individuals thought they were part of his kingdom.  They were not only religious but also active in the church and involved in ministry.  They attended regularly and joined in the worship. In their minds, they were not pretenders but authentic followers of Christ.  Yet, when they stand before Christ at the end of the age, Christ rejects and condemns them.  It is frightening that a person can be thoroughly convinced they are a follower of Christ, active in the church, and involved in ministry and yet be self-deceived. Throughout the scriptures, we are provided hope and security in our salvation, that we do not need to live in fear.  But these verses give a different picture that should cause us to pause and reflect deeply.  These verses do not contradict our assurance of the hope of our salvation, but they challenge us to do a careful self-examination.   These verses confront us with the question, “Am I a genuine disciple of Christ or merely a religious person following a religious system? How do I examine my life to ensure an authentic faith?”

            Fortunately, Christ does not leave us groping in the dark, for he delineates the authentic from the pretender.  The basis for evaluation is a life of obedience to God’s commands.  In verse 21, he gives the basis for authenticity.  Genuine faith is revealed in obedience to God’s word.  Throughout the ministry of Christ, he continually brings us back to the life of obedience.  Authentic faith is not measured in our outward acts of religious activity.  It is not just in what we give intellectual and verbal assent.  It is found in the inward transformation of our life where we submit to God's authority and obey his word.  In John 14 and 15 where find the message repeated six times, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (14:15,21,23,24; 15:10,6).  We often equate “spirituality” with an emotional experience, some positive feeling of the awareness of God.  Christ, however, gives a much more tangible definition.

Spirituality is a daily life of submission to the will of God as revealed in his word.  Salvation is not based upon our works of obedience. However, if we are genuine disciples of Christ, there will be an innate desire to obey him.  Authentic faith results in submission to Christ.  We must then ask, “Am I living in complete submission to God’s word, and am I living in obedience to him.?”  This is what distinguishes genuine faith from the knockoff. 

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