“Abide in Me” (John 15:4).
There is a mistaken view having wide circulation amongst those who call themselves Christians that, having believed in Jesus as Christ the Son of the Living God, the Christian is now clothed with the righteousness of Christ and thus, has no further responsibility towards God and will never have to be called to account for his moral conduct. This misrepresents the character of God; how would it be possible for the Divine authority to uphold the order of the world, while disregarding His own moral law of actions and consequences in respect of those of the world’s population who profess faith in Him?
The fact is that Christians are under law as well as grace; not the Law of Moses perhaps, that knew no mercy, but certainly under the law of a loving Father who expects His children to live in conformity to His moral standards, as plainly set forth in the Holy Scriptures.
While true believers are able to escape the judgement unto death and hell, there is still the judgement seat of Christ that is before us all; we must all give account of that which is done in the body. At that time, the vital question will not be how we have kept the Law of Moses, but how we have lived in the Father’s house. This should give us occasion for sober reflection on the practical outcomes and expression of our faith; we have the Holy Scriptures before us and the Holy Spirit within us to aid us in our self examination.
Most believers express their faith on two planes at the same time, the religious and the spiritual; the religious has to do with preachers and pastors, with meetings and fellowship, with Church organization and structure, with singing and shouting Hallelujah, etc.! This is the external expression of faith and has a place in encouraging, supporting and building up; but it is only a step on the pathway to sanctification and is not meant to be a final dwelling place.
The spiritual is what determines the internal barometer of faith; this is almost solely measured by, and attributable to, the time spent in the presence of God; praising, praying, worshipping, enjoying, seeking, communing, asking and discovering.
There is a danger that the religious overshadows the spiritual to the extent that faith is reduced entirely to a religious expression. Much religious activity begins and ends in itself; the music and the message and the relationships all circle around themselves but when everyone goes home, are any of them better than they were before?
Many Christians today stake their eternal future on religious activities, such as attendance at meetings, financial support for the ministry, social fellowship and following the rules; in all these things, Christians are able to lean on each other and prop one another up. But, in the innermost being, they are ineffective.
As creatures made by God in His image and likeness, there is within us something that all of these external religious things cannot satisfy. God has put eternity in our hearts! Even for those who are lost in the darkness of ignorance or rejection of God, there is a longing after eternity and a desire for everlasting life; it is there because God put it there!
For all those who don’t really know Christ Jesus as Lord, this life is like a prison cell, in which the godless and the ungodly pace back and forth like lions in a cage, roaring to the heavens before, finally, their ignorance is expunged in death. Within us all, this inherent and intrinsic longing for everlastingness, placed there by God, cries out for Him and can only be satisfied by intimacy with God through Christ Jesus.