"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!'" (Matt 7:21-23).
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain..." (John 15:16).
"Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph 1:5-6).
What utterly HORRIFYING WORDS to hear from the Savior's mouth! "I never knew you; Depart from Me..." Jesus said that "MANY" will be in this camp of the unbeliever.
Why is this the case? Look how many churches there are, and church members. Observe how many people, if asked, claim to possess eternal life. If asked "how" they came to faith in Christ, will respond, "God saw something good in me, all my worth, and loved me. As a result, by grace, I accepted Jesus into my heart."
There is a song that states, "I find no fault in Him." The song goes on to list all the various aspects of Jesus' suffering, dying, being raised again. And then concludes, "I find no fault in Him." Let's think for a moment about the relative "stations" of the fault-finder and the findee. If a person is finding fault, it must mean that they have no faults of their own, they are perfect, they are ABOVE the one being judged. So the logic continues, "Jesus did all these things, He is perfect, therefore it's OK for me to 'accept' Him." Does anybody see anything wrong with this logic? Better yet, can a Scriptural basis for it be found?
A modern popular "christian" psychologist (JD), who has been mesmerizing the Christian community for the past 20-30 years with his books, seminars, radio and TV programs was recently reported to have made this statement in the context of forgiving those who have wronged us, "I am suggesting that some of us need to forgive God for those heartaches that are charged to His account." What blasphemy! "O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, 'Why have you made me like this?'(Rom 9:20).
GOD "WRONGED" US? "They refused to repent...because of their own counsels. My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they call on the Most High, none at all exalt Him." "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way." "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." "But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags" (Hosea 11:5-7; Isa 53:6; Rom 3:23; Isa 64:6).
It is WE who have wronged God! We cannot come to God in our righteousness. WE HAVE NONE! New Age looks with introspection for that "goodness within." "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?" "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemes. These are the things which defile a man..." (Jer 17:9; Matt 15:19-20).
We are deserving of punishment. "That every mouth be stopped, and all the world...guilty before God...The wages of sin is death...The soul who sins shall die" (Rom3:19; 6:23; Eze 18:4).
BUT... (such a beautiful word!) "But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 6:23b).
Jesus did not come to this world, looking for righteous people. "God so loved the world, that He gave His Son...that...should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). It was a RESCUE mission when Jesus came. Jesus further states, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance" (Luke 5:32).
GOD DOES EVERYTHING related to salvation. "Whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom 8:29). He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world...having predestined us...made us accepted in the Beloved" (Eph 1:4-6).
GOD KNOWS US...past, present and future. Having known us, God decreed from eternity, appointed, predetermined our eternal life. So, when in the course of history it is our time to be born, at the right time Jesus chooses us...because He foreknew us.
THE GIFT IS GIVEN. "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace...not of yourselves; it's a gift" (Eph 1:7; 2:8).
HE CHOOSES US. "I have chosen you." Even when he chose Judas to betray him, it says that He knew "all things." He DELIBERATELY chose Judas for the "dirty deed," because He knew Judas beforehand.
HE IS READY TO FORGIVE. "For You Lord are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You" (Psa 86:5). "If you seek Him, He will be (will 'let you') found by you" (2 Chron 15:2).
WHAT IS OUR RESPONSE? "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. Lament & mourn & weep! Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:8-10).
The tax collector (worse than dirt to a Jew) came to God, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" (Luke 18:13). Job responds to God's revelation to him, "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:6). Isaiah laments, "Woe is me, for I am undone!" (Isa 6:5). "They were cut to the heart, and said to Peter..'what shall we do?'" Peter responded, "Repent" (Acts 2:37-38).
SOME COMMON THREADS: Realization of utter worthlessness before God, and Absolute Sinfulness. God is holy. We cannot measure up to His standard. But we also take note of His love and mercy. So, we come in humility, knowing we deserve punishment, seeking his infinite mercy, realizing we have no merits to make any demands of God, and have no rights. And ask God, "Is there any possible way that You, a holy and just God can accept me, a worthless sinner, who is not even worthy to make this request."
"Take words with you, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, 'Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips. Assyria shall not save us, we will not ride on horses, nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, "you are our gods." For in You the fatherless finds mercy'" (Hosea 14:2-3).
He knows those who will come to Him and promises, "the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out" (John 6:37). The thief requested, "Lord, remember me (I deserve to be on this cross, but You don't)..." and Jesus responded, "Assuredly...you will be with Me.." (Luke 23:42-43).
Let's stop urging people to "make a decision for" or "to accept" Christ, thus perverting the Gospel. Rather, let's invite them to the foot of the cross. "For many are called... but few are chosen" (Matt 22:14).
(Scripture quotations are from the NKJV)