I received this letter from Dr John McArthur yesterday and thought I would share part of it with you
To the average conservative evangelical today, the idea that people who reject the gospel will die and face judgement in hell isnt surprising or particularly controversial. Without the biblical truth of the gospel, there is no salvation. That’s obvious.
What is not obvious is that many people who sit under solid, biblical teaching of the true gospel each week will also die and face God as judge, rather than as Savior, Father, and friend.I’m convinced and deeply concerned, that many professing believers live in the perceived darkness of false faith and self-deception. Yes, they sit under strong teaching. They know the gospel message inside out. They are immersed in church and ministry activities. They attend, maybe even teach, Bible studies. They appear to produce spiritual fruit. They look and sound like the authentic believers around them.
But exposure to familiarity with the true gospel doesnt guarantee true conversion. Knowing the facts of the gospel and having it penetrate the heart are two different things. Scripture is clear on the matter: it’s possible to have a perfect knowledge of the gospel and the Bible, and still not be saved.
The most frightening part is, many people who are in that situation dont even know it. They are self-deceived. They wear a mask of genuine conversion that fools others, and eventually even fools themselves. They’ve played the part so long, they’ve convinced themselves their salvation is real. Tragically, many sincerely believe they are saved and headed for heaven will be suprised to find themselves in hell
……While I never want to raise unnecessary doubts in people’s minds where genuine conversion has taken place, I am bound by scripture to lovingly warn about the reality of self-deception and call people to spiritual self-examination.
So what does that self-examination look like? Where does it begin?
In a word, it begins with truth. You and I need to continually bring ourselves to God’s truth and the gospel. Bathing ourselves in truth and allowing the Holy Spirit free reign in our hearts is the best way to guard against self-deception. While constant exposure to truth may harden the hearts of those who are self deceived, it is a key ingredient to effective self-examination and all true conversions. The same sun that hardens the clay, melts the wax.
If the righteous one is scarcely saved,where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1 Peter 4:18)