Within the context of Christian circles, we hear biblical terms, phrases, principles and explanations so often that we mistake our knowledge of this information as a substitute for actually being obedient to the Lord with what we learn. Tragically, there will be massive numbers of people who are confident that their knowledge of the truth will satisfy God on the day of judgment. That is why the words recorded in Matthew 7 are chilling.
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
Ironically those represented in this passage claim Jesus as Lord and claim to have done spiritual deeds in the name of Jesus. Nevertheless, the Lord declares that they have not done deeds in His name. In fact, He describes them as those who “practice lawlessness.”
In verses 24 and 26 the Lord provides an explanation of what really went wrong in these peoples’ lives.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”
The contrast is very clear. Both groups of people have heard the words of the Lord. It is likely that they can both answer many of the Bible questions that we are so familiar with. The difference is stark. One group of people acts on the words and the other does not. In verse 23 the group that did not act on the words of the Lord actually claimed that they did! They had convinced themselves that it was going to be just fine for them on the judgment day. And then that day came and they had to face their deception. Self-deception is certainly the most tragic!
Is it possible that churches are filled with people who know Bible answers but do not know the Lord? As you read your Bible you must conclude this to be true. How do we avoid deceiving ourselves? In our next few weekly articles we will consider some of the clear teachings of Scripture. The challenge is not just knowing these teachings; the challenge is carefully considering them in light of your own life. Taking time for self-evaluation is such an important aspect of the Christian life. I hope you will take time to carefully consider these precious truths of Scripture in light of your own life. Don’t stop pondering them because you are satisfied with the knowledge. Consider in what specific ways the knowledge God has entrusted you with has been integrated into your life.