The Book of Matthew

Tuesday: The Need for True Commitment

Matthew 7:21-23 In this week’s lessons, we look at the dangers of nominal Christianity, and see what is really involved to be a Christian.
The Need for True Commitment

Isn’t it true that Bonhoeffer’s idea of “cheap grace” is precisely what we find in many large sectors of the so-called Church of Jesus Christ in our day? Several years ago the great biblical expositor Arthur W. Pink declared, “Never were there so many millions of nominal Christians on earth as there are today, and never was there such a small percentage of real ones… We seriously doubt whether there has ever been a time in the history of this Christian era when there were such multitudes of deceived souls within the churches, who verily believe that all is well with their souls when in fact the wrath of God abideth on them.” And then he added, “And we know of no single thing better calculated to undeceive them than a full and faithful exposition of these closing verses of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount.”1

In the light of these truths it is evident that Christ’s words are a particularly pertinent warning to those who blithely believe a few doctrines or who perform a smattering of so-called good works, and yet have never entered into that kind of true commitment to Christ which results in increasingly costly obedience and in true discipleship.

Does that describe you? Are you one who is correct in doctrine but who has never come to the point where you know the Lord personally? If you are, the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking to you when he says, “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, who is in heaven” (v. 21).

What does that mean? Well, the address “Lord, Lord” is actually a confession of faith. The word “Lord” (both in the Hebrew language and in Greek) is a word that denotes divinity. In the Old Testament “Lord” is the word Jehovah, or the word Adonai, names for God. In the New Testament “Lord” is kurios, the word by which citizens of the Roman Empire were required to confess the divinity of Caesar. Thus, Jesus says that there will be those in the history of the Church who will confess His divinity but who will never have entered into a true personal relationship with Him. Such persons will be found throughout the Church, and even unfortunately in its pulpits.

Someone will say, “Can that be? Can a man come out of seminary and still not be born again?” He certainly can. Moreover, a man can sit in the pews of a local church for years firmly believing that Christ is God, that He died on the cross, and even that He is coming back one day to judge the world, and yet never come to the place where he trusts that same Jesus Christ as his Savior.

1Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1969, 377-378.

Study Questions
  1. What are the different words for “lord” in Hebrew and Greek? What does it really mean to confess Jesus as Lord?
  2. How would you answer someone who thinks he is a Christian simply because he believes the basic doctrines of Christianity and is a faithful church member?

Prayer: Pray for anyone you know who is deceiving himself by thinking he is a Christian when he does not have a personal relationship with God through Christ.

For Further Study: Download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “Marks of a True Disciple.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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