Dan 9:18 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.
I you were to be asked this question – “when ( how) did you come to know the Lord?” – what would your answer be? I don’t mean that you need to know the day and hour that the Lord regenerated your heart (some Christians do know). But how would you answer in respect to the journey the Lord took you on as He led you to Himself and to faith in Christ?
Some professing Christians (perhaps some of you) would quickly give the answer – “Oh, I grew up in a Christian family and I have always been in the church.” This kind of answer is quite common, and if the Lord had one of those loud buzzers that indicates a wrong answer on a game show, He surely would be sounding it when someone gives this kind of response.
We have said before that our only hope of persevering in that Narrow Way which leads to life, is to be born again. You must be born again. The faith the Lord gives us is our means of victory. Many of you are in very hard circumstances. Abusers, family courts, child custody, lies, betrayals – you know how it goes. Where is victory over these things? Christ. Our faith and trust in Christ. But this faith, this new birth does not come to anyone simply because they grew up in church.
I know abuse survivors who thought they were Christians for decades. They attended and served faithfully in church. But they were not born again. They were still dead in their sins. I say this again – no one has ever or will ever be saved by growing up in church, by being raised in a Christian family, or by following a formal, outward behavior code of do’s and don’ts. The Lord must save you. He must make you a brand new creation. Who you used to be must die with Christ. “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner.”
This evening I heard a wonderful sermon by R.C. Sproul preached I believe about two years before the Lord took him home. It is called “The Curse Motif of the Atonement.” [See the link below] He was preaching to a large audience of pastors and toward the end of his message on the cross, He shocked his listeners by telling them that most probably many of them were not born again. Few are saved. The way is narrow, and few are they who find it. Jesus said that, not me.
Listen now – if anyone is going to survive in this fallen, wicked world, if we are going to endure the kind of suffering most of you have endured, then it will only be because Christ is our Shepherd. He is with His people even when they walk through the valley of the shadow of death. But if anyone is trusting in their own righteousness and is certain that their “Christian” upbringing and church world has made the acceptable to God, I can tell you – Christ is not your Shepherd and you are walking through that dark valley all by yourself.
Luk 18:13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
That’s very true. I had a friend (no longer a friend) at an early point in my walk with Christ that on occasion would brag about cheating on his wife. We would go out geocaching and he would just slap me in the face with a random comment about his infidelity. Which would leave me stunned that someone would be that open about it in the first place. After a few more times of that nonsense I confronted him about it. I told him I do not want to be tempted by his sin or be around him when he talks like that and that he should no be committing adultery. No sooner than I said that he fed me cow manure. He said He already talked to his Priest and that he confessed it. He said he grew up as a Christian and does not do that anymore. Also mentioned he was in the Church choir. Almost like it was rehearsed. Well that was the last time I ever saw him. He is still committing adultery and refuses any kind of admonishment. You are 100% right. Best to stay away from people who take Gods name in Vain. Taking up a false Mantle.