Hell has many residents who formerly professed faith in Christ. They didn’t “lose their salvation” because that’s biblically impossible (John 10:27–29). They are people who claimed to know Jesus, only to find out that Jesus didn’t know them.
It’s hard to think of any scenario in all of Scripture more horrifying than standing before Christ on Judgment Day with a false assurance of one’s salvation.
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.” (Matthew 7:21–23)
We need to remember that this passage isn’t referring to atheists, pagans, or cult members. Those condemned by Christ in Matthew 7 are people who address Christ as Lord. People who, in all likelihood, have professed faith in the same gospel that we believe!
Christ’s warning requires distinctions that are far more subtle than the obvious differences between the church and the world. We need to be able to distinguish the dividing line between true and false Christians. Moreover, on a personal level, we need to be able to discern where we really stand with the Lord.
For that reason, John MacArthur’s sermon “Two Paths, One Way” stresses the importance of understanding Christ’s warning in Matthew 7.
There is no hope of heaven for those who do not believe the gospel. We understand that—no gospel, no salvation; no Christ, no salvation; no understanding of the cross and the resurrection, no salvation possible. But, the shocking thing is that even among those who believe and say, “Lord, Lord, we preached in your name, we cast out demons in your name, we did mighty works in your name,” there will be those who have no hope of heaven. The shock is that many who call Jesus “Lord” will be sent by God to eternal hell. This then is a riveting critical passage in a day and a time when lots of people call themselves Christians.
It’s sobering to realize that there are people seated in churches every Sunday who suffer from this deadly delusion. And Jesus didn’t hold back in warning His listeners of that imminent, eternal danger.
“Two Paths, One Way” examines Christ’s stunning, concluding remarks in the Sermon on the Mount. John’s message breaks up Matthew 7:13–27 into six dichotomies, contrasting the way to heaven and the way to hell. There are two gates, two ways, two crowds, two behaviors, two foundations, and two destinations. In each case, only one of them is right.
Woe unto us if our Christian identity turns out to be an illusion—a false faith waiting to be exposed in Christ’s presence. We need to exercise authentic saving faith, built upon the truth of Christ’s words concerning the one true way of eternal life. To that end, John’s message helps us avoid the most subtle road to eternal ruin.
Click here to watch or listen to “Two Paths, One Way.”
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