WE NEED NOT LOSE HEART PROVIDED…
When John the Baptist was preaching in the wilderness, many came to him to be baptized. Among those who came were many Pharisees and Sadducees.
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘we have Abraham for our father’, for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Matthew 3: 7-10
We know that the Pharisees and Sadducees were the religious teachers and leaders among the Jews and yet their lives were filled with hypocrisy and unrighteousness. Their knowledge of scriptures did not result in the bearing of good fruit in their lives. John the Baptist had to rebuke them and to warn them to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Here is also a warning to so-called believers today. We may think that we are followers of Christ because we ‘attend’ church regularly, we ‘involve’ ourselves in Christian activities; we are familiar with the Bible and the teachings therein and we identify ourselves as believers. But are our lives bearing fruit in keeping with true repentance?
The apostle Paul made some sober and startling statements in the epistle to the Ephesians.
“For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God came upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.”
Ephesians 5: 5-6
WALKING IN THE LIGHT
If we are true believers, we are children of light; we need to walk in the light and not participate in the deeds of darkness. Our continual participation in the deeds of darkness and our continual walk in impurity and immorality may indicate that we are not truly God’s children; our lives are not bearing fruit in keeping with genuine repentance.
Paul did not mince his words. He made it clear that we know with certainty that those who continue to live in sin and pursue a life of unrighteousness have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Paul went on to emphasise that we should not be deceived with empty words. It does not matter if so-called spiritual leaders tell us that it is all right to have such a manner of life because God is love and God’s grace is always available. The wrath of God would surely come upon the sons of disobedience. Do not be deceived because it is not all right. God’s forgiveness and grace are available to those who are truly repentant even though they may be weak but those who persist in sin must not take God’s grace for granted. We need to know with certainty that a deliberate life of disobedience to God and a pursuit after unrighteousness continually as a way of life means that such ones have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God even though they claim to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For such ones, they may think that they need not lose heart because they are acceptable to God but the scriptures warn them not to be deceived and the warning should not be taken lightly.
DO NOT BE DECEIVED
The state of the spiritual health of Christians today is rather disturbing. The number of divorces among Christians is alarming, even more than that of non-Christians in many communities. Adultery, promiscuity and immoral practices, even among so-called leaders in churches and Christian organizations, are “disgraceful even to speak of….”(see Ephesians 5:12). The involvement of believers in pornography, covetousness, idolatry (including worshiping gods of materialism, addiction, worldly pleasures and the like) is rampant and taken as acceptable and as a norm by some Christians.
Paul’s warning in Ephesians rings out loud and clear. Let us not be deceived by empty words and false assurances. The last book in the Bible, Revelation, in the last chapter states it unequivocally:
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderer and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.”
Revelation 22: 14-15
Never ever take God’s grace for granted. We must not be presumptuous in our Christian life and service. If we claim that we have found Jesus, are we still seeking Him and nurturing our relationship with Him continually, walking in the path of obedience and sanctification? When the Lord Jesus comes again, would we shrink back in shame? Would we hear the awful pronouncement from the lips of the Lord, “I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”? (Matthew 7: 23(b))