Some people have reoccurring dreams or nightmares, which perhaps will wake us up in the middle of the night. Perhaps those dreams are related to your days at school, a fear of heights that you have or perhaps something else from your past. These are often the things which scare us the most which come up in those reoccurring nightmares of ours.
Thankfully, for many of us, what we dream about has never and will never happen, but there is a nightmare scenario for many within the visible Church who remain in unbelief, all the while thinking they do really believe in Christ. There is no more scary reality or possibility than for a person who has attended a gospel preaching church for their whole life, yet to leave this earth and be forever in hell facing the just wrath of God. What makes this even more sobering is that many who believe that they are truly believers, or that they are a Christian, will be in shock on that final day of judgement.
“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. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”Matthew 7:21-23
These people described here say “Lord, Lord”, showing that they believe without any doubt that Jesus is their Lord, but is He really? Jesus tells these people to depart from Him, why? Because while they think they are pretty good in their religious works, they live as if Christ never gave them a law to obey. They do not truly follow the will of the Father out of a heart of love. They were never truly changed. They were deceived, self-deceived, into thinking they were saved, but they were not. Jesus said to them “I never knew you”, which means that at no point did these people with false assurance of salvation know or were known by Christ.
While there is false assurance, and the danger of that, true assurance is possible for the true believer. Some true believers will and do struggle in this area, which can be for many reasons, but eternity is a long time to be wrong about your salvation. This must be taken seriously by all who profess to know Christ. Do you know that you know Christ?
“Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God, and estate of salvation; which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God; which hope shall never make them ashamed.”-Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 18:1
What we believe about Christ matters, as some false doctrines if believed show we are lost, or at least show we are in great danger (1 John 1:5-7; 1 John 4:2-3). Fruit does not save us but there will be fruit or evidence to show that someone is truly saved (Matthew 7:15-20). Even the thief on the cross in his short time of believing and trusting Christ, displayed fruit of conversion in looking to Christ and rebuking false accusations against His Saviour (Luke 23:39-43). We must have no confidence in our own works (Isaiah 64:6), as we are unprofitable servants. We must look to Jesus alone, who is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
It must be your great concern to know Christ that you may honour Him with your life; that you may glorify God and enjoy Him forever (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q1); that Christ may welcome you into heaven through His finished work alone.
It must be a great concern for the gospel preacher that every person who attends that church would know Christ, truly know Him. It must be a great concern for the Christian parent that your children, inside or outside the house, would know Christ, truly. Pray for them that they would true assurance. It must be a great concern for the church member that those they come across in their lives would hear the gospel and be saved, truly trusting in Christ.
The nightmare scenario is dying without Christ. Why would we ever want to neglect this issue?
“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near”Isaiah 55:6