Monday, February 20, 2012

Counterfeit faith

To be deceived about one’s relationship to God is the most dangerous and frightening delusion possible. Near the end of the Sermon on the Mount our Lord graphically portrayed that tragedy:

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matt 7:21–23)

Because of the ever-present danger of counterfeit faith, God’s Word continually calls for professed salvation to be tested for validity. In Psalm 17:3 David declared the results of God’s testing his faith: “You have tried my heart; You have visited me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing.” In Psalm 26:1–2 he pleaded, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart.” He echoed that plea in the familiar words of Psalm 139: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (vv. 23–24). Amid the chaos and desolation following the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah cried out to his fellow Israelites, “Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord” (Lam. 3:40).

MacArthur, J. (1998). James (8). Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press.
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