I was reminded by a great message by Paul Washer about this sobering truth.
Many who profess to know Jesus are not truly saved. It is a sad fact. Unless they are truly converted, they will hear those horrible words when Christ returns, "Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness, for I never knew you."
We know the statistics show this fact. Forget the statistics for a minute. Statistics have a way of showing us a problem but keeping it just far enough away for us to really get the sense of it. It isn't personal when it is a statistic. So, look around you. Look at those who profess to know God around you. Look at those who name the name of Jesus. Look at your friends, neighbors, fellow church-members, spouses, brothers, sisters, children, even yourself, and consider that some, maybe even many of them are deceived. They will, on that fateful day, cry, "Lord, Lord..." but He will say He does not know them.
It is very sobering to seriously consider this. Sometimes we look at people and start to think that salvation is a bit broader than we imagine. We are blinded by appearances. If the way is narrow to life but broad is the path to destruction, my impression is that we will generally be shocked on that day. People we might have expected or hoped to belong to Jesus will be lost forever.
It is not always easy to recognize it in others, but we can, and should, look at ourselves. If we do not walk the narrow way, if we walk the broad path, then we are deceived. If we do not care deeply for the will of the Father and endeavor for it, but are instead caught up with the loves of the world, then we are either receiving or about to receive the Father's stern correction... or... we just don't know Him.
Self-examination isn't bad. It is necessary. Some might think that the reality of self-deception means we can't know if we are truly saved. That is not true. If we are truly believers, we will see evidence. It may be dim and dull at times. We will stumble. We will sin. We will always see our need for Jesus. We may be crawling, or we may even be stopped, but we will be facing the same direction -along the narrow path. We will be aware that we daily depend on Jesus as our righteousness and pardon and Shepherd, and we will see the fruit of a new heart that God has given us.
Do you know God? Do you know Him to be a holy fire? If you do not desire to follow the will of the Father, then you have great reason to be very afraid. If obeying Him is not a primary aspect or descriptor of your lifestyle, then you should soberly consider the thread you dangle from. It has been God's will, up to now, that you have been spared from meeting Him. If this is you, be warned and repent while there is still time.
Some may ask, "But you are talking about works. Are you a legalist? I thought we weren't saved by works." Not to obtain God's favor, no. As Piper said, we are not saying this is how one becomes justified before God. However, it is how a justified person becomes. Make no mistake about it. If no good fruit, then no good tree, no new heart, no conversion. If we are not being conformed into the image of Jesus, then we aren't His. It really is that simple, and frightening.
See the video by Paul Washer here.