A call to professing christians to examine themselves

by Mike Ratliff

But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:6-11 ESV)

We are engulfed at this time in the 2014 in what John MacArthur dubbed The Truth War and it is an ugly thing. Those attempting to dismantle Biblical truth and reform it to their own philosophies use tactics that could best be termed as deceitful and hypocritical. They accuse without any substance to their attacks. Their entire focus seems to be to muddy the waters and cast doubt using verbiage designed to discourage the warriors of the truth while confusing everyone else. Now I ask you, who does that sound like? Of course, it is our enemy who is behind this. He is a liar and a murderer. Those who serve him are spiritually blind and have been deceived. Our enemy is quite clever in that he attacks the truth from every conceivable angle and platform. Some of his minions are atheists. Others are pagans. Others are professing Christians, but they are not the genuine article. There are hundreds of different forms of Christianity, but there is only one true faith. The religion of genuine Christianity teaches that Christians are saved by justification by Gods grace alone through faith alone. However, there are hundreds of false prophets who have invaded the visible Church who teach vastly different false doctrines. However, there is one common denominator in them all. They teach in one form or another that salvation belongs to them because they have done something that has earned them recognition as Christians or as the emergents say these days, “followers of Jesus.” 

Making a profession of faith is essential. All genuine Christians must make a public profession of faith that they are in Christ and belong to Him. We see that in Romans 10:6-11, which I placed at the top of this post. The confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord is the public profession, but it isn’t valid unless it is rooted on what follows. The genuine believer “believes” in his or her heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. In other words, genuine salvation belongs to these who believe in Jesus Christ, that He is their Lord and Saviour and by His death, paying for their sins, and his resurrection, proving that He is God and that all who believe in Him are truly saved. This public profession of faith is vital, but not all who make it are genuine. There are two groups of people who claim to be Christians who prove by their actions that they are not. The first group are those who claim to be Christians when it is convenient, but when it isn’t convenient they deny Him.

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:32-34 ESV)

The motive for denying Jesus as Lord and Saviour can be just about anything. Some do it because they are embarrassed to be known as a Christian in the company they keep. Others deny Jesus by their hypocrisy. They are in Church every Sunday, but the rest of the time they are of the world. However, the most tragic ones are the ones in countries such as Iran or Pakistan who hear the Gospel, but deny Jesus because they know that if they make a public profession of faith it could cost them everything including their life. However, let me make this very clear my brethren. Genuine Christians will not do this. They will make that public confession regardless of the cost.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26 ESV)

The cost of true discipleship is stated very clearly by our Lord in this passage. That taking up of ones cross and following Him is a complete dying to self. Those who count the cost and follow the Lord as He commands gain their soul for eternity, but all who do not forfeits theirs.

The second group of professing Christians who are disingenuous are those who are religious, but prove that they are workers of lawlessness by their adherence to false doctrines and their following of false prophets.

“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. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:21-27 ESV)

21 Οὐ πᾶς ὁ λέγων μοι· κύριε κύριε, εἰσελεύσεται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν, ἀλλʼ ὁ ποιῶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. 22 πολλοὶ ἐροῦσίν μοι ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ· κύριε κύριε, οὐ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι ἐπροφητεύσαμεν, καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δαιμόνια ἐξεβάλομεν, καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δυνάμεις πολλὰς ἐποιήσαμεν; 23 καὶ τότε ὁμολογήσω αὐτοῖς ὅτι οὐδέποτε ἔγνων ὑμᾶς· ἀποχωρεῖτε ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν. 24 Πᾶς οὖν ὅστις ἀκούει μου τοὺς λόγους τούτους καὶ ποιεῖ αὐτούς, ὁμοιωθήσεται ἀνδρὶ φρονίμῳ, ὅστις ᾠκοδόμησεν αὐτοῦ τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν· 25 καὶ κατέβη ἡ βροχὴ καὶ ἦλθον οἱ ποταμοὶ καὶ ἔπνευσαν οἱ ἄνεμοι καὶ προσέπεσαν τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ οὐκ ἔπεσεν, τεθεμελίωτο γὰρ ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν. 26 καὶ πᾶς ὁ ἀκούων μου τοὺς λόγους τούτους καὶ μὴ ποιῶν αὐτοὺς ὁμοιωθήσεται ἀνδρὶ μωρῷ, ὅστις ᾠκοδόμησεν αὐτοῦ τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν ἄμμον· 27 καὶ κατέβη ἡ βροχὴ καὶ ἦλθον οἱ ποταμοὶ καὶ ἔπνευσαν οἱ ἄνεμοι καὶ προσέκοψαν τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ ἔπεσεν καὶ ἦν ἡ πτῶσις αὐτῆς μεγάλη. (Matthew 7:21-27 NA28)

The proclamation, “Lord, Lord” is κύριε κύριε in Greek. This form of the word for “Lord” should be rendered as “O Lord, O Lord.” What does our Lord Jesus say here? Not everyone who makes this profession of faith will enter the kingdom of heaven. Who are the ones that make this profession who will enter in? It is those who do the will of the Father who is in Heaven. What does this mean? If we skip down a few verses to vv24-27 we have our answer. The word “hears” in v24 is the Greek word ἀκούει. This word means “to hear or to give audience.” In v24 this verb is in present tense, indicative mood, and active voice. This describes something that is happening while the speaker is speaking. In other words. Those who hear the commands of Jesus actively and then obey Him are the ones who prove the veracity of their salvation through their obedience. These are the ones whose profession of faith is genuine and they will enter the kingdom of heaven to be with the Lord forever.

The verb structure for our Lord’s description of the ones who hear, but do not obey Him is different. It is the same Greek word, but in v26 it is in participle form. It is in present tense and active mood. This reflects repeated or continuous action. It is linked to the phrase, “does not do them” or μη ποιων αυτους. The participle ποιων is also present tense and active mood. So our Lord is describing people who are always hearing the truth and never obeying it. They pursue their own religious way by following false doctrines professed by false prophets or there is no place in their hearts for obeying the Lord in anything. However, they do profess to be Christians or “Jesus followers.”

My brethren we are not perfect nor does God expect us to be perfect in this life. However, genuine Christians are marked by the fact that they hear the truth and obey it as a way of life. They are walking in repentance. They are growing in maturity. On the other hand, there are many professing Christians who hear the truth continually and continually disobey it. This marks them as those who cry O Lord, O Lord, but are rejected by the Lord Jesus as being workers of lawlessness. In these last days these are becoming more an more vocal in their rebellion even going so far as to claim that any call for a walk of repentance is evil while their freedom to live as they want is the true form of Christianity. As I stated earlier, this is nothing more than lies by the father of all lies, our enemy.

My brethren, examine yourself. Don’t look for perfection, but look for a hatred of sin and a drive to find the victory over it in your life. Look for an intense desire to walk in obedience to your Lord. Look for a draw away from the pleasures of this world and its idols to a more intimate walk with our Lord Jesus. Take your concerns boldly to the throne of grace. On the other hand, if you are convinced that you are in Christ because of your own actions or abilities or talents or anything in you, but you are always doing things your own way, you have a problem. Why? The faith that says but does not do is really barren unbelief. Our Lord never suggested that works merit salvation but that true faith will not fail to produce the fruit of good works, which is obedience and humility. Examine yourselves my brethren.

Soli Deo Gloria!

4 thoughts on “A call to professing christians to examine themselves

  1. Reblogged this on A Common Life and commented:
    I’ve recently finished The Truth War and then gave a copy to two friends whom the Lord laid it on my heart to give it to. This blog post says what is often on my mind. Thanks, Mike.

  2. Greetings I was once that christian who believed I could,earn Gods love,and reconciliation,that some how my works done in His name would secure my place in glory,then I sinned ,after I accepted Christ Jesus as my Lord(age 40;two years ago),Romans 6:23 ran through my mind,I got depressed and started to doubt,if I would successfully finish this race,thats when the Anointed one reveled what His sinless precious Blood did for me:everything I nor my good works could ever do for myself Romans 5:8 1John 1:9 the Holy Spirit started filling my mind with theses scriptures,John 16:33 I knew with His Word I cold boldly go to His thrown of Grace ask for forgiveness , get backup and get back in line with His word ,why Hebrews 4:12 ,I thank Elohim for His Word His Spirit and His Blood,everyday He is transforming me to have His mind and to be made into His image,and no longer my own. To Yahweh be all the Glory.

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