If you are hoping that the Lord will have mercy upon you when you stand before Him, then you are probably not saved. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)
There is a confidence, a knowing that those who have been crucified with the Lord Jesus Christ have, a certain knowledge that can only be given by the Holy Spirit. I speak not here of those momentary doubts that assail all of us that serve Him as Lord, for they are common and easily dismissed, but instead of a surety that lives within us, that He is ours and we are His.
One of the main goals of any works-based religious organization is to keep those doubts alive, to keep them as continuous as possible, and to ensure that the works performed are just as continuous. They are the supposed proof of the false hope they hold, that by those works, whether it be the following of traditions, of adhering to the rules, regulations and by-laws of that “church,” their salvation is not assured, but can be obtained, if they work hard enough.
Many if not most Evangelical churches have fallen into this same mindset, church attendance being the mainstay of that works-based ideology, yet in that manner it has become even more deceptive, for that is all that is required of them, simply be there for that hour or so on Sunday morning and they have accomplished all that is required of them to enter into the Kingdom of the Most High.
There are two verses that come to mind here, and two key words in each of them. “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?” (Matt. 7:22) And “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matt. 22:14) We can add a third verse in the context as well. “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:14)
The key words, if you will are “many” and “few.”
The few, those who have the assurance that they are the children of the Most High, heirs to the Kingdom are the few, in this there is no continuing doubt in their soul, with all humility they serve, waiting on the Lord to lead them as He would, studying to show themselves approved as they wait, seeking the lost, encouraging the brethren, contemplating His Word, will and way as they continuously seek the face of God. The works are done through them, and they offer their lives willingly on a daily basis.
The others, the many, perform the works in the hope that they will be accepted, that they will be seen as good enough, there is no love for their Savior in their actions, there is an obligation within them. As it was with the children of Israel who were commanded to follow the law to the letter, their supposed righteousness is obtained, at least in their eyes, by simply fulfilling the deed they see as required by them to find favor in the eyes of the Almighty. They hope by these works to be found good enough on their day of accounting, but that day will come at the Great White Throne of Judgement.
There is in this respect a third group, and they can be extremely difficult to detect, “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10) We have given a name to them, two in fact, the weaker brother and the carnal Christian.
That line of judgment I will not attempt to cross, it is for God alone to know who is His, but if you are of the few, in love you must question them, for their soul hangs in the balance. Here again is where the many and the few will be seen, for the few will do just that, they will seek to know the truth of the walk of those who would be in that third group, for if they are deceiving themselves, they will suffer eternal damnation, not seeing within themselves that they are one of the many. The many though will not do even that, for to them that would mean they are judging, that those who seek to know the condition of a man’s soul are placing themselves in the position of God, it is not their business to seek the lost or to search the hearts of men, but only to concern themselves with their own supposed walk, and the works they need to continue in to enable that false sense of assurance.
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37) If you know this assurance of salvation, then you understand not only this short letter, but the burdens that come with that assurance.