All We Do Is Love Like Jesus Loved Us: He Will Judge the Heart Not Us

Posted: March 18, 2015 in Gospel of Luke

Luke 13:22-30 — We talked extensively on this subject at men’s Bible study on Monday night as we are progressing through our study of the book of The Revelation of John, the final book of the Bible, the book about the end of all things. It always seems that the Bible speaks to me right about the same time I have dealt with an issue in real life even when I am going through books of the Bible sequentially. This issue is about true salvation. About thinking you are saved when you are really not.

When I think about this subject, my mind goes back that movie, Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. In that movie, Leonardo’s character learns at any early age that you can pretty much assume any identity if you look, act, and dress the part with confidence. He imitated an airline pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, you name it. All the while, he finances his lifestyle with bogus checks. It ultimately forces him to live a life on the run as Tom Hanks, as the FBI agent, relentless pursues him over many years. Ultimately, Leonardo’s character ends up alone and paranoid. However, after serving several years in prison, Hanks redeems him and actually puts him to work for the FBI chasing down the very type of criminal that he was. There was a old saying that my ex-wife used to say a lot, “fake it til ya make it.”- meaning that giving the appearance of knowledge can sometimes be more important than actually having the knowledge. That was true in the movie for sure. However, just as in the movie, we can only fake salvation so far. As in the movie, as with salvation, there is a moment of truth, the judgment moment. The moment when all is revealed.

There are several things that we must notice in this passage. First, let’s deal with the works for salvation thing because at first blush Luke 12:24 almost sounds like we have to work for it – but we need to dig deeper into that verse. Finally, let’s deal with the difference between true salvation and doing all the right things but not having heart change – salvation vs. spiritual warm fuzzies.

Luke 12:24 says “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s kingdom, for may will try to enter but will fail.” As I said before, at the surface level, it almost sounds like Jesus said we have to work for our salvation. As with a lot of Jesus sayings, we must ponder on it and dig deeper. First off, God is a God of order and of consistency. Jesus is the owner of God’s Word. He is God’s Word, therefore, He cannot be inconsistent with Himself or His Word. If there is one thing about the Bible, it is consistent and never contradicts itself. So, what is Jesus saying here. The scholarly consensus here is that Jesus is saying that the cost of following Jesus may be more than many of us are willing to bear. It can be trendy to follow Jesus, but if we are just following the fad because it’s cool to be part the “new church wave” then we may not be willing to pay the cost of being a Christ follower when it counts. Will you proclaim Jesus’ name to your co-workers? Will you stand on biblical principles even if it costs you your job? Will you give generously to the local church even if it means forgoing that fancy new car or fancy new house? Or if we find ourselves at the hands of ISIS captors will you call on Jesus’ name until you head is lopped off? Will you sacrifice your time, talent, and resources to make Jesus known to a teenage girl in India who is caught in the deadly spiral of sex trafficking? Will you take the gospel message to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran? The cost of following Jesus can sometimes be the choice between a comfortable lifestyle in middle class suburbia where everything is safe and easy and a life of hardship in an inner city here in the US to spiritually dark places around the world? Are we, you and I willing to start paying the cost even in the small things now so that Jesus can trust us paying whatever it may cost later.

No we do not earn our salvation. It is a free gift that we do not deserve. The only requirement for salvation is to believe, truly believe in your heart, that Jesus died for your sins on the cross and that He is the Son of God who was raised from the dead. When we say that it true belief that we are condemned to hell in the absence of Jesus’ work on the cross, then the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. We are changed and begin changing to be more and more holy through the action of Holy Spirit in our sin-filled souls, a life-long process that is only complete when we meet Jesus in Heaven. No, the work that Jesus is talking about here is that some are not willing to pay the cost of following Him like the rich, young ruler in Mark 10:17-27. Too much life change! But as with Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Catch Me If You Can, the door to freedom will not stay open forever. We will meet our judgment at our death or when Jesus returns. It then makes it all the more important for us to have tear filled eyes for those who cannot see eternity. We should be crying over those who do not know Jesus or those who know of him but reject Him. Temporary pleasures of this life are followed by an eternity of judgment. This should compel us to love others, invest in others, and to help them see Jesus and follow Him regardless of the cost. All this is temporary. Eternity awaits.

The second thing we must notice here is that there will be those that say all the right things do all the right things and even say the prayer of salvation but none of it is genuine. Jesus says that He knows the true hearts of men and He will judge us one day. When we knock on the door of heaven and tell Jesus all the right things we did, He will see our hearts and say that He never knew us. He knows whether our salvation is real or not. No matter if we have gone to church and taught Sunday school for 50 years, that does not earn us heaven. Jesus knows our heart. He knows whether we have truly given our heart over to Him. We do of course daily fight our flesh and will sin and continue to sin after we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, but has our heart changed. If you are not madly in love with Jesus and have your heart submitted to Him, He knows it. If you are not completely overjoyed by the fact that giving your heart to Jesus exchanges our sin-filled condemnation under the Law to hell for a life of being a new creation cover in the robes of Jesus’ perfection, Jesus knows. What matters to Jesus is not earthly popularity, status, wealth, heritage or power, but rather and unshakeable faith in Him as your Savior, a willingness to submit the Holy Spirit’s guidance on our lives.

Claiming allegiance to Jesus will not get us to heaven, we must turn from sin and trust in God to save us through Jesus Christ. How then do we know if a person is saved?

We do not and cannot know this but what we can do observe the fruits of their lives. The truth of salvation is between Jesus and that person. However, the old walks like a duck, quacks like a duck principle comes into play here. If there is no fruit as described in Galatians 5:22-23. The fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These characteristics mark the life of a person who has given their life to Jesus. It is our duty as Christ followers simply to love God and love others with the love that Christ showed us. Man, that makes it simple and less tiring doesn’t? We just love. We just tell them of Jesus. We just show them the way to the cross. We love in the name of Jesus. If they want to get to know Him through having seen our love in their lives, they will kneel at the cross. Ultimately, Jesus knows their heart and will judge them according to it. It is just our job to love them to the cross.

Let Christ be the judge and let us observe only what we can observe. Is there a changed life? Are there fruits? Is there spiritual growth? We do not have indicator lights that come on us on our forehead when we are truly saved. All we can do is observe the fruits and let Jesus be the judge. If we do not observe any fruit in someone’s life, we continue to love them, continue to invest in them, continue to mentor them, but the relief to me is that I do not save them. Jesus does. Since He is the Savior, He will be the judge. Meanwhile, I just love everyone equally as Jesus loved me. That makes me less tired and more joyful. My Savior’s got it covered. He does the hard work. I am just here to be evidence of what Jesus can do in a life. Jesus knows the heart. Let us trust that and leave that to Him. All we must do is love all with the love that Jesus showed us.

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