As a Christian I understand the importance of having true saving faith, because I grew up in Church and associated my Christianity with the fact that at one point in my life, I said a prayer and was baptized assuming that I was saved and never had to worry about hell. And I lived my life in the same manner. It wasn't until Christ brought me to my knees broken over my sins at age 32 before I understood that saying I was a Christian and actually understanding what it meant to be a Christian was two different things.
What worries me is that so often over the last five years of true repentance and faith in Jesus Christ I have seen so many people who are like I once was. Believing myself to be saved and on my way to heaven on a broad road, based on my saying a pray, baptism, or belonging to a Church. But in reality I was still separated from God dead in my sins. It breaks my heart but I understand how we can become so easily able to think ourselves right. In Luke 16:15 Jesus says to the Pharisees, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God."
Are you guilty as I was of trying to justify myself, how I was living and at the same time calling myself a Christian. Sometimes even basing it on my comparison of others who call themselves Christians and seeing my life did not look much different then theirs. It says in Matthew 15:8-9 "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." I professed belief in Jesus, yet just as this verse says my heart was far from him. And so many my family members and friends no very little about what it means to truly follow Jesus Christ, but will not talk about it because they believe themselves right in their own eyes.
And this brings us back to Hebrew 9:27 "And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment," We will all die one die that's guaranteed, we don't know when but we know when we do after that comes the Judgment. Take time today examine yourself to see if you are truly in the faith as the apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5 "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" Don't assume yourself right with God based on what you have done in your life, because if you are basing it on yourself, then you can have no assurance of salvation. Salvation is a gift from God by his Grace through Faith, not by our works but by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
by Ricky Gantz