Let's say you die today and find yourself standing before Jesus Christ. Now, you walk up to Him fully expecting Him to open the gate for you. But what if He looks at you and says, "Away from Me you worker of iniquity, I never knew you!"
Whoa! Now what? As the fear wells up in your heart, you remember all the times you were sitting in church instead of at the ball game. All the times that you wrote out your check for 10% of your gross income to the church where you sat in the front row, every Sunday. You remember how you invested your time in helping out with the youth, even passing out Gospel tracts on the street, telling everyone you knew about Jesus Christ, even leading many in the "sinner's prayer." All that you sacrificed for your beliefs, all that you did, was it all just a waste of time?
This frightening scenario will happen to many who stand before Christ at the end of time, fully expecting entrance into heaven (Matt 7:22-23).
How would you react? What would your answer be? What would you say?
Here are a couple of answers, and they will reveal a lot about ourselves.
Would you say, "But Lord, I believed in You, I prayed every night, I was in church every time the doors were open! I did all that you commanded, was it all in vain, for nothing?"
Maybe you'd wish you had never even tried, that you had just lived your life for yourself, denying yourself no pleasure, doing whatever you felt was right at the time. The end result is the same, but now you feel as though you've wasted your entire life.
Would you say, "Lord, I know that I deserve nothing but the darkest depths of eternal hell. Nothing I've ever done can even begin to earn my way into Your kingdom. I've broken Your Law, I've lived my entire life under the curse of sin. My life was filled with wickedness and I have nothing to offer that could even begin to correct that. I put my trust completely in You and Your finished work on the cross for my salvation. But I know what I deserve, and Your will be done."
Maybe you'd be honored to have had the privilege to live your life for Him and now accept His judgment. Even though the end result is horrific, you can think of no better way to have spent your short life, only wishing you could have done more, even if the outcome were the same.
So, which one would be you? You don't have to answer here, just be honest with yourself before God.
In the first instance, it becomes clear that you were counting on your works, and your religious tradition for your salvation, and were not truly serving the Lord at all.
In the second, you accept His will for you, regardless of what it is, because you know that He is holy, righteous and just. And you would have served Him all the days of your life, regardless of the outcome and your eternal destiny because you know that He alone is worthy.
Just some stuff to think about. What are you truly putting your faith in? And what is your motivation for doing so? Are you simply jumping out of the line to hell and into the one going to heaven?
Are you reading your Bible every day? Are you going to church? Are you praying? Are you telling others about your Savior? Are you growing in holiness (that is, are you more holy today than you were a year ago)?
None of these things will save you. But they are evidences that you might be saved. God knows the heart. Read the Book of 1 John to test yourself and see if you are truly saved or not (1 John 5:13).
Here's what Paris Reidhead said, near the end of his famous sermon "Ten Shekels and a Shirt":
If I were to say to you, "Come to be saved so you can go to heaven, come to the cross so that you can have joy and victory, come to the fullness of the Spirit so that you can be satisfied", I'd be falling into the trap of humanism.Test yourself.
I'm going to say to you dear friend, if you're out here without Christ, you come to Jesus Christ and serve Him as long as you live whether you go to hell at the end of the way, because He is worthy!
I say to you Christian friend, you come to the cross and join Him in union and death and enter into all the meaning of death to self, in order that He can have glory.
I say to you dear Christian, if you do not know the fullness of the Holy Ghost, come and present your body a living sacrifice and let Him kill you so that He can have the purpose for His coming fulfilled in you and get glory through your life.
It's not what you're going to get out of God, it's what He is going to get out of you.
Let's be done once and for all, with utilitarian Christianity that makes God a means instead of the glorious end that He is.