There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of words that we human beings speak, different languages, dialects, and accents, our Lord was not messing around at the tower of Babel. In His wisdom, these various languages became the greatest barrier to human cooperation, it is almost impossible to communicate with someone who does not speak the same language that we do, and it can be virtually years before a common dialogue can be found between individuals from different parts of the planet. There are of course incredible advances in technology today that can translate for us what we are trying to say to one another, a spiritual subject that we will not be involving ourselves with in this series to much of an extent.
I am by no means a linguist, I am simply a humble servant who has been called to write letters, but I do not need great wisdom to know that the word “if” is not a very big word, it is in fact one that I believe we use so often that it rarely comes into our minds just how important a word it is in the Scriptures. The word “if” basically means “on condition of;” “as long as you do this, then that will happen.” There is a stipulation with the word, a precondition that what is offered must first be met by certain conditions by the intended receiver, and in the Scriptures there are a lot of “ifs.” We will not of course be looking at every one of them, but there are those that do require our attention if we desire to know for a fact that we are saved, that we are being obedient servants, if we desire the blessings of the Lord. Every person who knows the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior came to Him because he was drawn by God, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day,” (John 6:44) and it is in the truth of that drawing and our continuing sanctification that this series will evolve.
All who are saved are saved by grace through faith, (Eph. 2:8) but there is that little word “if” that we must look at, and it is with this very small word that we will challenge our selves in accordance to the Word of God to see if we truly are saved. Do not be deceived, just repeating the words that someone asked you to speak at the alter or on the street corner does not mean you are saved, mere words do not save a man, the heart must show a change. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:9) This verse in Romans is very important to us today, for in it we find our first example of the word “if,” for those who have the inability to speak, only one part of this tremendous verse has any true meaning, the belief of the heart. It has been a great concern of mine for many years now that there a more than a few individuals who have professed Christ as Lord only with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him when they made this commitment. Words are easy to say, especially in moments of extreme emotion, they are much harder to adhere to when times begin to become tolerable again, when life begins to flow smoothly.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) We deceive and trick ourselves on a regular basis, saying one thing but meaning another, thinking what we dare not speak, speaking what we want to say, but not what the hearer needs to hear, most of us can speak only one language, yet many have never mastered it, nor can they control what they want to say. Thus it can be at times with those who have made a decision for Christ, the decision is based on a momentary lapse of reason, if you will, the emotional state was appeased by the hope of something better, something or someone that could take away their pain and suffering, but when life returns to a semblance of normalcy, the decision is given a second thought. “If I had not been in such a bad place at that time in my life, I probably would not have even considered Jesus as a way out, and now that things are going alright again, well, I’m just not sure I made the right choice.”
If is a very, very big word my friends, it has conquered nations, it has led astray many, and it is not a word that we should take lightly, as we shall see in this series. The word “if” appears in the Strong’s Concordance over 1,500 times, and we will by no means be discussing every one of them, but there are about forty or fifty verses that are relative to our study, words that will allow us to see if we indeed are truly saved, if we are pleasing to the Lord in our walk with Him, if indeed we are one of His children, verses that will challenge us to be the best possible servants we can be for His glory. We have a purpose in this life my brothers and sisters, and those purposes are quite clear for us in the scriptures if we will but search for them in wisdom, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Eccl. 12:13)
There are commandments, gifts, blessings and promises in the Word of God, and while not all of them are preceded by the word “if,” many are and herein is where this word becomes more than important, it has the possibility of showing us who we truly are in Christ, and if we are truly one of His servants. I mean this in no disrespectful way to the Scriptures my friends, but there are no free rides, those who are truly saved must count the cost of our service to Him, for it may cost us our very lives here. It has been happening for centuries and it will continue to happen until Christ reigns on this earth in righteousness. There are some very big “ifs” in the Word of God.
As a precursor to this study, we will look at one of those Scriptures that is perhaps the one of the most relevant ones, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” (1st John 2:3) It is by the inverse of something that we can come to understand that thing better, and so here it stands to be true, if we are not keeping His commandments, we do not know Christ as Lord. There is no getting around this, we cannot pick and choose the verses we want to obey, and although our Lord is quite aware of where we are in our walk with Him, and He is longsuffering and patient with us, if we are not determined to follow the commandments of the Lord our God, then we are either not saved, or we are unprofitable servants.
This series is not going to be easy, I need to tell you that right up front, it will test your faith, it will show you if you are saved or not, and if you are where you are in your walk with Christ, but you should know this, our Lord does not only desire that we serve Him with our whole heart, He demands it, and we should be willing to give no less. If you are not willing to die for the sake of Jesus Christ, then you will need to reevaluate your position in Christ. He may not call you to go that far, but if He does, we are not to resist, we have had countless brethren who have done so, and if He requires our very lives for the glory of the Lamb, than we must be willing to give that final gift to Him. It is the Word of God that convicts, and this little word “if” is going to be more than some of us will want to hear.
I am a simple writer of letters, but each letter that it written to you comes from the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, the subject matter is completely out of my hands. If you are willing to be led by Christ, then continue in service to Him in every way that He asks of you, then you will find that all of these “ifs” will be a comfort.