Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
These words of Jesus must be some of the most frightening that He ever spoke. It is one thing for a person to turn their back upon Jesus and deny Him, but imagine going through life believing that one day Heaven would be our eternal home, only to find that Jesus would say these words to us. All through life we had been misdirected and deceived thinking we were safe, but that was not so. No excuse or argument will justify us before the Father on that day if we have failed to live a life in obedience to His will.
Jesus will say that He never knew us. The word ‘knew’, first used to describe the relationship between Adam and Eve, implies intimacy and closeness. Only those who have an intimate knowing of Christ will be accepted by Him on Judgement Day.
There are MANY who believe they will be with Jesus in Heaven, who will not.
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in therat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
So, according to Jesus, there are MANY who are living with the false assurance that He will accept them into Heaven. Perhaps, sadly, we know of those who are deceiving themselves. What is the remedy for self-deception?
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves Know ye not your own selves how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
We are such grace-orientated people that we don’t want to hear about our sins. Christians just want to hear about God’s love. But we are challenged to examine our lifestyle and behavior, to test ourselves, and ensure that we are not deceiving ourselves, living in sin and found wanting. Are we really in the faith or are we comfortable in our self-delusion? The Holy Spirit is our guide and teacher who will reveal our sin as we earnestly ask Him. How then can we be sure that we are not being deceived? Those who are deceived are hearers of the Word only and do not obey it (James 1:22 ).
Those who are deceived are looking for by-products of the faith – they are not seeking Christ but seeking visions, angels, prophecies, feelings, blessings, experiences and healing. Their catch cry is ‘Give Me More!’ They want a spiritual experience, good feelings and prosperity. But Jesus does not promise what they want, only what they need, and this is holiness, forgiveness, righteousness and sanctification. Jesus also promises persecution and the one who is deceived certainly doesn’t want that! Those who are deceived are not consumed with the glory, wonder and beauty of Christ. They are not consumed with honoring, worshiping, loving, serving and obeying Jesus or surrendering their lives to Him. Those who are deceived are more committed to church and church activities than Jesus and His Word. They are attracted to the entertaining, social side of Christianity and do not take journeying with Christ seriously. Many churches emphasize fellowship with each other over relationship with Christ.
Those who are deceived don’t have an interest in God’s Word for the sake of personal holiness. They are not intent on allowing Scripture to transform their lives. They are more interested in theology as an academic exercise. They are always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7).
Those who are deceived lack humility and repentance. They are over-indulgent about God’s grace. They lack brokenness and awareness of their sin. They do not believe they need to ask God for cleansing and pardon as David did in Psalm 51.
They speak empty words that arise from empty hearts. They hold to the outward form of godliness but deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5). Those who are deceived see God as the means to their own ends, dreams and plans. Those who are deceived love pleasure more than they love forsaking pleasure for the glory of God.
Philippians 3:19 “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”
Self-Deception is sinful, subtle and seductive. This list is a warning to check ourselves. To examine our hearts daily and ensure that we are not one of the many on the wide road to destruction. Let’s be of the few that enters through the narrow gate so that we would hear the Lord say to us on that day, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, welcome into your rest!”