Christian In Name Only

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 28, 2014 0 comments

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers’.” Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)

These are difficult words from Jesus that many of us would love to just skip over. What Jesus is saying here is very hard to swallow. That many who will claim to know and to follow Christ will never get in. Wait! To be a Christian, all it takes is believing in your heart and declaring with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, right? Romans 10:9 makes it very simple, doesn’t it?

What I believe Jesus is addressing here is the Christian-in-name-Only, or CINO for short. The person who claims to be a follower of Christ, will boldly declare God’s goodness and his grace, will perform many acts in line with God’s commands, but will be lacking a most critical aspect: a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Our relationship with Jesus is best described as a marriage, which Katie and Logan discussed in February. However, the CINO is not a traditional marriage of a lifelong covenant between a Groom and his Bride. It is, as David Wilkerson describes, a marriage of convenience. It is a marriage that wants all the benefits that come with the marriage, but there is no commitment to a relationship. It is a claim for someone who wants the name of Christ so that their reproach from sin may be taken away, but they still want to do their own thing and live their own way.

Friends, Jesus will have nothing to do with this type of relationship. Those whom Jesus talked about, those who said “Lord, Lord,” are ones who truly think they are Christians. The use of “Lord, Lord” is an emphasis of holding someone to a position of very high esteem. But Jesus said he never knew them. They will say they believe in Jesus. But so do demons. This is just intellectual acknowledgement but we are required to dig a little deeper.

The CINO does not actually follow Romans 10:9 by believing in their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord. They may claim it verbally, but they won’t live it. How do I know? Because they only actually want Jesus as Savior and not as Lord. They want him for fire insurance from hell and nothing else. They don’t want him ruling over their lives and telling them how they should act and live.

How can I say that? Because of what Jesus said at the very end of Matthew 7:23. “Away from me. I never knew you, evildoers.” That was NIV. In KJV, it says, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” But the New King James Version nails it. “Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”

What does all this mean? “You who practice lawlessness” in other words is “you who act as though I gave you no law.” 1 John 5:2 tells us that one of the evidences that we are Christians is that we will follow God’s commands. Yes, Jesus here is telling these people they lived their own way and did not follow his commands. Check out what the Message Version of Matthew 7:23 says.

“Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’

I don’t know about you, but that is sobering. It is a wake-up call. In the Living Bible, Jesus said “You have never been mine.”

Friends, if any of this has convicted you, this post is not about judging you. There are times where I see this behavior in me and I must repent from it. But I know I am not a CINO. Not because I said a prayer 23 years ago, but because I know God has transformed me and changed me to think his thoughts and given me a desire to seek after him. I know I am born-again because I depend upon the Lord Jesus Christ for my every-day sustenance and because I have a relationship with him. He lives in my heart and I press onward towards the goal of giving Jesus complete and total dominion of every area of my life. I know Jesus and more important, he knows me, intimately.

Friends, whether you are an atheist, an agnostic, a Christian-in-Name-Only, or even an honest follower of Christ and have fallen to the desires of your sinful self, you do not have to stay that way. No matter where you are, Jesus Christ came to save you. Don’t try to make it on your own. It won’t work. Don’t try to set the terms. You are not in a position of negotiation. Come to Christ on his terms. And his terms are very simple: “Give me all of you and I will give you all of me.”