Have you ever heard of an unsaved Christian? While it is a misnomer, because such a thing cannot truly be, it nevertheless is a phrase that aptly applies to certain members of every local church that preaches the gospel.
Properly defined, an unsaved Christian is an individual who in their heart of hearts, believes—better, who knows that they are saved; they attend church, they pray, they read their Bible, and they are involved in ministry. Some preach, some teach, some are in the choir, or play an instrument. Some are ushers, some are even prophets and evangelists. Unsaved Christians can be found in every level of our local churches. Yet there is one thing that is lacking in each individual mentioned here. None of them have a relationship with the Lord; they are not born again.
I don’t pretend to know who these people actually are—that’s God’s business, but to be sure, they do exist, and they are alive and well, and may be active, at a church near you (if not in your own church)!
Choosing Religion over Relationship
We can hear the words of Christ speaking to us down through the centuries. These words are many times glossed over, because of course, they do not pertain to us. Not one person who falls into this category believes that they are such. They would say things like, “Look at my body of work, and my ministry,” or “Look at how much time I spend in the house of the Lord,” or “I’m not perfect, but I’m not like those other people.” All of this smacks of a pure Pharisaical attitude, and we know where they stood with the Lord.
The unsaved Christian, equipped with a rigid set of rules and regulations in many cases, has set aside a true relationship with Christ, which they have not had, and have chosen rather to operate under the guise of religion. I must now bring you to Jesus’ powerful words, for they are the most dangerous verses in the Bible.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23).
These verses are dangerous because many are living right here, and don’t even realize it. Jesus says that there will be many who will approach Him, with a handful of works and a mouth full of platitudes. “In Your name have we done these things,” they will proclaim over and over again.
The Why Behind the Works
What they will fail to realize is that they have been blinded by all the good that they believe that they have done. One may say, “How can works like these not be any good at all?” It is because Christ rejects these people along with their works. The truth is that it is not possible for those who are unsaved to do works such as these. Only those who are Spirit-filled, and Spirit-led, can do these things.
But what about the fact that they did do everything in the name of Jesus? Doesn’t that account for anything? Adding the name of Jesus to a work that is sinful does not cleanse it, any more than walking into a garage makes you a car. Christ told them that they were workers of iniquity. This is because they had attempted to work the works of God without the benefit of knowing Him. What they thought they were doing all along, they actually were not: it is deception of the highest order.
The sad and gnawing truth is, if Christ does not know you, then certainly you don’t know Him either!
We read the familiar story from the book of Acts:
“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” (Acts 19:13-16).
There is even a level of knowledge that the unseen spirit world has concerning us when we are in Christ; when Jesus knows us, so does the devil and his minions. Notice how they knew who Paul and Jesus were. This is because when we are saved, we then become “visible on the enemy’s radar,” so to speak. Anytime someone is born again, it puts a little dent in the devil’s kingdom.
In our story, these men attempted to use the name of Jesus for the sake of profit and popularity. What they didn’t know is that there is no such thing as second-hand Christianity; one cannot take the name of Jesus, the most powerful name in the universe, and use it for their own benefit, without the benefit of knowing Him personally.
What Does it Mean to be Truly Saved?
The only way that an individual can deal with the most dangerous verses in the Bible, is to make sure that they don’t pertain to them. The only way one can do this is to make sure that they are saved. We read this portion of Scripture from the apostle Peter:
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-10).
In verses 5-10, Peter tells us to add certain things to our faith; it is already assumed that they have faith, because at the beginning of his letter he states that he is writing specifically to “those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).
These are in essence, the fruit of the Spirit. He doesn’t give us the list that Paul does in Galatians chapter 5, but these are similar. What he does go on to say is that we are to make our call and election sure, and if we continue to add fruit to our lives, we will not be denied entrance into his heavenly kingdom. It is so important to make sure we are truly saved.
Test Your Own Faith
Have you tested yourself? Are you aware that Christ is in you? There are several ways to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are born again. First, do you have the witness of the Spirit? In other words, does the Spirit of God in you align with your spirit that you are God’s child? We read from Romans:
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17).
How powerful is that? When we are His, all that is His becomes ours also, because we become joint heirs with Christ. Amazing!
“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
This is the Word test. How bad do you want it? Do you want to read it, and study it for sole purpose of growing in grace and becoming more like Him? Do you seek to rightly divide Scripture, through the careful study of it?
Finally, there is the change test. Simply put, has you your life changed? Have your thought patterns, your speech and your desires been altered by the Spirit of God? Because this is what will happen when you are born again.
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles – when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:1-4).
“They think it strange that you do not run with them;” this is the change that true salvation brings. It is change that is both known by you, and seen by others. Does this describe you?
The most dangerous verses in the Bible will have no bearing on us when we are saved and sure; not placing our faith in the work that we have done, but rather in Christ and His finished work. That is where true salvation begins.