The Tabernacle Scroll
"Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matt 7: 20-21).
Last week I wrote about how deception has crept into the church through the twisting, misinterpreting and consequent misapplication of essential doctrines. I used the example of grace. This week I want to bring your attention to the misunderstanding of the word ‘believe’. Actually, it is the misunderstanding of this word ‘believe’ which has led to an incorrect teaching on grace!
The reason there are many professing Christians who use grace as a ‘cover-up’ for unrepentant, willfully sinful lifestyles is simply because there are many who call themselves ‘believers’ who really are not! To understand this phenomenon we must come to terms with what it means ‘to believe’.
In today’s jargon, the word ‘believe’ has come to mean nothing more than the giving of mental acceptance to something, together with the sense of satisfaction or comfort that accompanies such acceptance. When viewed in this context, anyone is a believer who knows the historical Jesus. Such a person’s belief may even go so far as to acknowledge Jesus’ divinity, for no other reason than the religious platitude ‘the bible says so’. Sadly, multitudes fall into this false category.
However, according to Scripture, to believe is not only to acknowledge Jesus, but also to obey His will and follow his word. Believing involves corresponding action. This is what distinguishes the true believer from the professor. The former is willfully committed to turning from his sinful lifestyle in obedience to God; the latter willfully lives as before, trusting in his intellectual and emotional salvation.
We have mistakenly come to judge believers by what they profess rather than by examining the fruit of their lives. And what is this fruit? It is holiness! “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Rom. 6:22). The progression is: freedom - holiness - eternal life. Thus, while the true believer is unlikely to achieve perfection this side of eternity, he will nevertheless give evidence of being ‘justified’, by the presence of holiness in ever increasing measure in his life.
Joining with Jesus for the benefits of salvation, saying the sinner’s prayer and even preaching and ministering in his name do not in themselves make one a believer. The true evidence of believing is not what is said but what is lived. Believing involves a lifestyle of repentance and obedience. Think about it!
www.kerysso.org-Preach The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues