What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? MATTHEW 16:26
IS IT POSSIBLE to profess to be a Christian and yet not know Christ? Absolutely. In fact, according to Jesus, it’s probable.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says to his disciples:
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” MATTHEW 7:21-23
We’re all prone to spiritual deception—every single one of us. Jesus isn’t talking about irreligious atheists, pagans, and heretics here. He’s talking about good, religious people—men and women associated with him who assume their eternity is safe but who will be shocked one day to find out it’s not. Though they professed belief in Jesus and even did all kinds of work in his name, they never truly knew him.
This is why Jesus’ words are so critical for us to hear. When he says, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few,” he is exposing our dangerous tendency to gravitate toward that which is easy and popular.
But this is not the way of Jesus. He beckons us down a hard road, and the word he uses for “hard” is associated in other parts of the Bible with pain, pressure, tribulation, and persecution. The way of Jesus is hard to follow, and it’s hated by many. But those who do follow in his footsteps will discover that there is far more pleasure to be experienced in him, indescribably greater power to be realized with him, and a much higher purpose to be accomplished for him than anything else this world has to offer.
Pray that God would help you see that the narrow road that leads to life is worth following because Christ himself is worth it.
Platt, David. 2020. Follow Him: A 35-Day Call to Live for Christ No Matter the Cost. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
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