The consequences of self-deception.
“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.” Philippians 3:18. Enemies of the cross of Christ are those who have significant Jesus but insignificant Christ. They acknowledge the gospel but deny its power. 2 Timothy 3:5. Those who have forsaken their first love appreciate the suffering Jesus; however, they do not consider that the suffering Jesus was also a Savior of the world. They fail to realize that Jesus Chris made our salvation a reality, on the cross at Golgotha. Apostles, when they spoke about salvation by grace, they spoke in the past tense. For them, the salvation of sinners was an accomplished fact. Ephesians 2:8.
On the cross at Golgotha, Jesus Christ did not show us how we could get saved, and He did not make salvation only available to those who seek; He saved us, actually. We, the sinners, could not seek and find the Savior, because, our sin in the garden of Eden denied us the ability to seek and find. The lost sheep knows it is lost and panics, but it does not know how to find the way back. The Shepard must go and find it. Sinful humankind was hopelessly lost; however, the Good Shepard came to find and save the lost. Luke 19:10.
The self-deceived Christians believe that if they do their best, Jesus will do the rest for their justification and salvation. Christians who have become prey to the Devil’s snare of self-deception believe that if they improve their behavior and obey the Ten Commandments, they would have hope in a possibility of salvation. They do not realize that sin is the power that has robbed them of the ability to obey. 1 Corinthians 15:56. “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Galatians 5:4.
No one can get justified by observing the law. Galatians 2:16 and 3:10.
Christians who have forsaken their first love conclude, tragically, that they must work hard to prepare themselves for the return of Jesus. They do not realize that as long as they are getting ready, they are not ready for the return of Jesus. Jesus did not tell us, “Get ready,” but “Be ready.” Mathew 24:44. The self-deceived might devise and implement impressive and effective programs. Their worship-time may be stimulating. A visitor to such a Church might conclude that this is a spirit-empowered Church. What she does may be very convincing to a casual observer. Such is the condition of the Church in Sardis. Jesus does not chastise the Church in Sardis for any a specific sin, but for appearing as the spiritually live Church while, in reality, being a dead Church. Revelation 3:1. The effective programs are not wrong when implemented with a proper attitude. When a Christian Church uplifts anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ, then such a Church is dead.
To be continued in the next blog.