August 18, 2020

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 (Matthew 7:21).

This is the summum bonum of the Sermon on the Mount. It is true that, ". . . one can never know with absolute certainty the spiritual state of any other individual" (Craig Blomberg). It is also true that God knows the spiritual state of an individual with absolute certainty. And it is also true that we can know our own spiritual state ourselves.

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:10-11, emphasis mine), and, I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13, emphasis mine).

While Jesus spent a lot of the Sermon on the Mount identifying false preachers and teachers, He closed the Sermon on the danger of self-deception. He talked about false 'professors' (those who say, but do not do), and false 'attenders' (those who hear, but do not do). But what are some causes behind self-deception?

• Many 'Christian' churches no longer preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Being saved is reduced to what I do (walk an aisle, fill out a card, get baptized, become a church member, etc.) rather than on who Jesus is (Son of God) and what He has done (died on the cross as the only sacrifice for sin).

• Many people do not practice self-examination with the mirror of Scriptural truth. They are quick to ask, "What does the preacher say?" or "What does the church say?" rather than, "What does the Bible say?"

• Externals vs. Internals. People convince themselves that involvement in church programs earns them a 'pass' with God. Yet they personally live in sin, no repentance of sin, no seeking after personal righteousness or holiness. Life is lived on religious feelings, experiences, rules and regulations, ceremonies, etc. and not on fellowship with Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow we will consider 'Actions Speak Louder than Words' as a warning against self-deception in the Christian faith and life.

"Father, I know Satan is the father of lies, the master deceiver, and the destroyer of souls. I know he uses people and institutions to blind the spiritual eyes of people to the truth of the Gospel. Keep me focused on the truth of Your Word, and help me continually point people to Jesus who is the only One who can open our eyes to His truth. To the praise of His name, Amen."


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