“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11) The Word of God is profitable for us, (2 Tim. 3:16) but contrary to what many individuals I have met over the years believe, it was not given to us to make us better people, it is not a moral code of conduct or an instruction manual on how to be polite and kind, the Word of God was given to make us Christlike.
After the resurrection, after the knowledge and belief of the redemption we have in Christ, comes instructions of how to be righteous, holy, undefiled, how to be as Christ. The Lord said, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7) He did not say I am going to send you a completed book on how to be more like me, though we are beyond blessed that He saw fit to do so.
There were men whom the Lord chose to give the truths of Him to, they had no instruction manual, they could, if they had access to it, of course refer back to the Old Testament, but everything that the Holy Spirit instructed them in needed to be written down, who would receive these words was in their hands, who would accept them was in the hands of God. It is of course possible to be saved by the grace of God without first studying the Scriptures, but unless one has access to this Book of Books, or unless one is sent to them with the opportunities for growth in the knowledge of the Lord, they will not grow, Christ does not teach the entire Scriptures to anyone by osmosis.
How then do those who call themselves Christians justify their fellowship with Christ, even their salvation, if they do not study the Word of God? For those in the religious organizations around the world, osmosis is indeed the answer, by being baptized in some places, by eating the wafer, even by just the words repeated in many, theirs is the life of self-deceit, saying they have received the gift of salvation, but having no visible proofs of it, beyond regular church attendance and a “good” moral character, least outwardly. They are attempting to enter into the kingdom of God by another route, (John 10:1) by one that costs them nothing.
These are most generally those who believe that Christ is love and only love, that seeming to be righteous is the same as being righteous, as being justified by faith, when indeed they perceive within themselves that the action they performed at a singular point of time in their lives, the repeating of words, being baptized, is all that was necessary to receive their ”key to the front door” of heaven, that nothing else is truly necessary because, after all, Jesus paid it all. In other words my friends, there are people out there that are good people, but they are not saved people.
The application of both in their heart and to the world of “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them,” (Matt. 7:20) of “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24) “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) These are not only rarely heard, but rarely applied. It was in a sense the reason that Satan began the charismatic movement, the enabling of feelings to take precedent over true faith, of an emotion based, moral construct based on feelings of virtue instead of the actual denying of self, of being crucified with Christ.
The heart is not to be trusted, (Jer. 17:9) baptism is an outward sign of an inward faith, it has no salvational power within itself, repeating the words said to you does not mean you are saved. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20) And to know how to be Christlike means the Word of God must not only be studied, it must be contemplated, it must be put into action in all of its forms, whether it is rebuking and reproving in love, or whether it is hating evil.
There is no quiz, oral or written, when we arrive at that gate, but there will be judgment, and it will be based on your works, not your feelings. “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” (Matt. 16:27) There is no way in our age to know what we are to be without diligent study of the Word of God, without fervent constant prayer, and without application of the Scriptures.