Salvation has nothing to do with mouthing a prayer but everything to do with obedience. A seed only germinates and comes to life after it is dead and buried. The self-minded and self-willed man or woman may have their way now but not later. They may have their way in this life but not in the life to come.
If God can’t tell us what He wants us to do and we obey, then we’re still self-minded and self-willed. Most people don’t hear the voice of God because they don’t want to. His voice doesn’t say words most people want to hear. They’ve desensitized their ears to the voice of the Holy Spirit by their own disobedience and desire to follow and obey their own passions and desires.
Jesus said, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me and I give unto them eternal life (John 10:27, 28). Jesus plainly makes a connection between someone knowing His voice and Jesus knowing that person. By knowing His voice, a person has the ability to follow and obey Him and receive the ultimate blessing for their obedience, eternal life. How does someone follow instructions in obedience if they don’t know the voice of the One they are to follow?
There will be those who thought they knew the Lord but Jesus makes a clear distinction in those who merely call Him Lord and those who will enter the Kingdom of God. In Luke 6:46, Jesus said, And why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say? Then in Matthew 7:21, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. How does one know the will of God in order to do the will of God without knowing the voice of the Master he is to follow?
Heaven won’t be accessed by doing good works. It won’t be accessed by us claiming to know the Lord. It will only be accessed by the One who stands at the door knowing us.
Matthew 7:22 continues, Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
The “many” were people who considered themselves believers and even operated under the unction and power of the Holy Spirit. If this was not so, they wouldn’t have had the ability to prophesy nor had the authority to cast out devils in Jesus’ name. The “many” referred here might even be pastors or those with large ministries out doing “many wonderful works” in the name of Jesus.
Jesus’ response to the “many” who thought they knew him should be the most frightening words to ever fall upon a Christian’s ears, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Most of us want to read right over these words and say to ourselves, “Not me”.
What if the Lord is saying to the professing believers today, “One of you shall betray me through your disobedience?” What will be our response? “Lord is it I” or “not me”. One is a response from a contrite spirit and the other from a haughty spirit. The LORD… saveth such as be of a contrite spirit (Psalm 34:18).
The Lord recently gave me and my family instructions to give up and leave what made our lives comfortable telling us to willingly leave our comfort zone or our comfort zone will leave us. We could have chosen to ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit or even blamed the voice on the devil, assuming God would never ask or require us to give up what we had worked so hard to acquire..
What does it really mean to “trust in God”? Most of us say we do, but our money makes a similar claim. Who does the “we” represent on our money? For most of us, the paper that claims we trust in God is where our trust is really located. As long as our pockets are filled with the stuff, we have a sense of peace and comfort. Only when we are willing to give up what makes our lives comfortable, do we give God the opportunity to truly be God in our lives.
In Genesis 24 when Abraham was about to take Isaac up the mountain, Isaac asked his father where was the lamb to be offered. Abraham answered, “God will provide himself a lamb”. It was only when Abraham had raised his hand to sacrifice his son; the provision was revealed caught in a thicket.
We will see God’s provision after we have made the sacrifice in our own lives. Only then can we call God Jehovah-jireh for ourselves as Abraham did. Faith is not genuine faith until after it has been tested. How do we know in whom we trust until our trust has been tested? The test for all of us is really a test of obedience. Following the test for Abraham, God explained why he was to be blessed. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:18)
Abraham was the original “truster”. That is why Abraham was the father of faith or the father of trust. This is the kind of obedient trust God is looking for in all of us. A true child of God has childlike faith, trusting and depending on the voice and words of their heavenly Daddy. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. (Mark 10:15)
Years ago, I had a friend who was a landscaper. One time when I went to visit him at his home, I noticed a very large magnolia tree in his front yard. The next time I came to visit, the tree was no longer there but instead there was a large magnolia tree in his back yard. My first thought was the tree had died in his front yard and he decided to plant another one in his back yard.
When I asked him what happened, he replied the tree in the back yard was the same tree that had been in the front yard. He no longer wanted it in the front yard and decided to move it. I asked, “How did you move such a large tree without killing it?” He said it wasn’t that hard. He simply dug a root ball around the tree, laid it over on its side and stripped all the leaves off. A little shocked, I said, “You stripped all the leaves off. Didn’t that kill it?” To which he answered, “No, that’s what saved it.”
After obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit to leave our place of comfort, I felt totally stripped and vulnerable like that tree with only just a few roots coming out of my feet and they were about to dry out. In this state of desperation, I literally cried out to the Lord and said, “If you don’t feed me I’m going to die.” I then heard the Lord speak back to me, “Good, now you’re where I want you.”
What is true saving faith anyway? Doesn’t it make sense that if we can’t trust Him with this life now, how can we trust Him after this life is over? Aren’t we are all going to die anyway whether we trust him or not? Why not totally abandon ourselves in His arms now before we get to the point of death. If we can’t trust him 100% now before we die, where will the saving trust in Him come from at the moment of death?
If we will say “Yes Lord” now, we’ll likely not be among those who say “Lord, Lord” later. Remember Jesus is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him (Hebrews 5:9), not merely those who said a prayer or who go to church.
We need to experience trust today not tomorrow. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Now is the day to trust if you want a foundation for the things you are hoping for and want proof for what can’t be seen. Trust is evidenced in obedience and obedience demonstrates our trust. The two are just as inseparable as faith and works. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 2:26).
Only those who believe can truly obey and only those who obey truly believe.
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the “Friend of God” (James 2:23).
God is looking for those who will trust Him enough to obey. Will you strive for such a title as Abraham and have God call you His friend?