The leaders of Judaism were absolutely convinced that their religious tradition held for them the security and certainty of eternal life. Yet the LORD JESUS CHRIST told them very plainly that even though they knew what the scriptures said, and followed the precepts taught therein; they were mistaken and were yet without spiritual light and life. The LORD plainly said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my FATHER which is in heaven.” (Matt 7:21) HE had said to the Pharisees in the verse before the passage we are looking at, “And ye have not HIS word abiding in you: for whom HE hath sent, HIM ye believe not.” (John 5:38) and right after it these words “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:40)
Just as these Jews of old thought they had eternal life because they knew the Bible, there are many who fill church pews every Sunday who think they have eternal life but are nonetheless perishing. Some who are morally upright and faithful to their religion and tradition have fallen prey to a false hope. Some of those errors include:
Relying on a profession of faith. The scripture says “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”(Romans 10:9) It is very important for us to confess CHRIST before men and to profess with our lips that we trust in HIM, but having a profession of faith is not the same thing as a possession of faith. True saving faith is the gift of GOD and is not something men can manufacture. The salvation mills of our day have convinced multitudes that just making a “decision for CHRIST” is sufficient as though walking down a church aisle or signing a card can secure for them eternal salvation.
Relying on baptism in water. The scripture says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16) The act of baptism is an act of obedience to our LORD’s command, but it carries with it no miraculous power. The Bible does not say “he that is not baptized shall be damned” but rather “he that believeth not”. True saving faith is the gift of GOD and is not produced in or by water. Water cannot take away sin, only the blood of CHRIST is sufficient for that purpose.
Relying on a religious experience. The scripture says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor 5:17) When the LORD brings a man out of darkness into light, a transformation of that man will take place, but it will be a real change of the man’s heart and nature rather than some momentary euphoria. Some of the greatest deception in our age is centered in false and counterfeit “experiences” which are purported to be authored by the HOLY SPIRIT. If GOD sends HIS SPIRIT, HE will convince men of “sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:8) GOD does not lead men to foolishness.
Relying on an alliance with a certain church or religious tradition. The scripture says, “the LORD added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47) Every one of GOD’s children should be involved in a local assembly of believers. But sadly, many think that their association with a particular church or denomination insures their inclusion in the kingdom of Heaven. Some churches even go so far as to teach that their particular church or religious tradition is the only avenue through which GOD’s truth is disseminated and that only by its ministry can people be given eternal life. In this same line of thought some are led to believe that service in such organizations earns them brownie points with GOD and enhances their position in eternity. Many churches have multitudes of activities for people to be involved in which can ultimately give a false sense, (of having performed good works), to people who are otherwise strangers to the reality of JESUS CHRIST in their everyday lives. True salvation is neither in a church nor any of its programs. That can only be found in and through the LORD JESUS CHRIST himself.
Relying on morality and good works. The scripture says, “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) It is difficult for many to face up to the fact that they do not possess any goodness before GOD. They think that surely since they are much more moral than many who live in open rebellion against GOD, this will count for something in the day of judgement. The standard of righteousness which all men shall be judged by is one of perfection. No man who ever lived except JESUS CHRIST ever measured up to this standard. To rely on ones supposed good name or manner of life is to surely perish, in the day the LORD judges the living and the dead.
Relying on the ministries of prominent preachers. Paul says in the scripture, “there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Gal 1:7) Since the early days of the church there have been those who seek to twist the simple truth of the gospel in order to gain large followings. Television and radio have greatly aided those who preach for gain. The airwaves are full of religious clowns and magicians who have the ability through oratory and chicanery to sway masses of people into trusting their promises of health, wealth, and happiness instead of searching the scriptures to see if these things be so. Discernment among many who claim to be believers is at an all time low. Put no confidence in men, regardless of their pedigree or abilities.mam
It was the Christmas of 1972 that was really special to this individual. You see, in May of 1971 God by his infinite mercy and sovereign love revealed to me who I really was and that God is the almighty Deity as set forth in the Holy Bible.
Up and until that time, I had lived a very self-centered sinful life. I had been married for seven years and had a six year old daughter, we had a house, but not a home. I was not the husband that I should have been nor the father which was the most considerate.
Jesus Christ changed the condition of my heart and made me a NEW man through the work of spiritual regeneration which the Bible refers to as being “Born Again”. This new birth was a miraculous occasion in that the transformation which took place in my life was obvious. I had a reverence for God that I had not had in the past. I had an interest to read the Bible and could not get enough of learning of the teachings of Christ and His glorious Gospel “good news”. Something happened to me that was from a spiritual source outside my own ability. I was not looking for God when I experienced this new birth. I was (I thought) fully satisfied with my lifestyle of individualistic, selfish desires going about life unconcerned about God.
A friend of mine that I respected very much had the same experience some months before. I saw a “New man” in this individual, I heard him speak with a love and reverence for God that was not evident before. He shared with me his experience just as I am doing with you and gave me a New Testament Bible and said, “If God gives you a desire, I hope you will read it and see what Jesus Christ represents in God’s divine purpose”. I read that little Bible some nights later sitting in my house alone. I found within the beginning of the book verses which revealed to me my sinful condition before a Holy God. I began to see all my ungodly deeds flash before my mind that had been done over the years. I was brought to Godly sorrow as God granted me the ability to repent and ask him to forgive such an unworthy soul as I.
Donald E. Martin