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)

Related Post:

Saved or Self-Deceived – Part 2

How do you know that you are saved?

  1. I thank God for men like Dr. McArthur who are not afraid to teach truth. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Adam Smith says:

    Wow! Great words from Dr. MacArthur. Thanks for posting this!

    Adam Smith

  3. Sicarii says:

    Aye, thank God for people like Dr. McArthur! Thank you for sharing this, mate.


  4. blackreformingkid says:

    I got the same letter, and sent off for the CD. I think it is a really important issue which a lot of Christians would like to conveniently not talk about…

  5. Alan Higgins says:

    Yeah I sent off for the CD also. Should be a good listen. I’m always asking God to reveal it to me if I am deceived in any way

  6. Alan Higgins says:

    Teleia and Adam, thanks for passing by the site and Sicarii, you know I’ve got your back

  7. Sicarii says:

    Which CD is this, mate?

    Thanks, Alan, my good brother!



  8. Alan Higgins says:

    A CD about this very subject. I suppose you could email them and ask them if you wanted it as well. They were sending it out free of charge

  9. Sicarii says:

    Ah, alright.

    Thank you for the information, Alan.


  10. John Ward says:

    I also received Dr. McArthur’s CD and the letter mentioned above. His letter includes portions of a letter he received from an individual who had apparently been suffering genuine emotional trauma: “The very real pain and absolute terror associated with the possibility I wasn’t saved was more than I could bear.” The question that begs to be asked here is, “Could this person be having doubts as to whether he is one of God’s elect, according to McArthur’s own theology?” The history of Calvinism is replete with replete with records of Calvinists who have agonized over this very issue, often to the point of suicide.

  11. Stephi says:

    Andy – I checked out your page and was happy to read that you help expose all the false doctrine and legalism that still threatens to rob Christians of freedom in their relationship with Christ. I was also subject to alot of the same accusations in the past and what ‘true holiness’ really is. Holiness is not about what you do but about WHO you belong to…as with Righteousness, it is a gift given to us purely because of the finished work of Christ on the cross. You either believe in the power of the cross to redeem and break dominion over sin or you don’t…BUT you can’t have a mixed attitude towards it. It’s either radical grace or not grace at all….To say we’re saved purely by the grace of God through Jesus Christ and then say BUT now this is what we have to do to stay saved is to make a mockery of the cross beacuse you are implying that it was not enough.

    Then I carried on reading your page and found this article by Mr Mcarthur posted on your page and my heart sank. I found it to be a complete contradiction to the initial articles on this page. Hence, a mix of grace and law is found on this page. When grace is mixed with law, it is no longer grace. As much as I am sure your intentions are good, I found this article on ‘false conversion’ to be dangerous. I find these teachings to be as harmful, if not more so, than the doctrines that try to creep into church that try to trap people into legalism and make them think they are truly serving the Lord just because their actions require strong self effort and self denial. Why? beause you cannot mix grace and law…what scripture backs this? the whole of the new testament.

    The apostle Paul laboured all his life to point people to their Righteousness in Christ. Funny how he refered to the Corinthian church as Beloved and reminded them in the first few verses of their Righteousness in Christ and in their right standing with God because of their faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. This was his answer to combatting the great ‘sin problem’ at the Corinthian church at the time. He did not go out and say ‘some of you think you’re saved but you’re truly not!’. Never once….he always pointed them back to the cross , back to the love of Christ for them! To point to Righteousness and to Christ and not the sin. He did not make sin bigger or more powerful than the blood of Christ. If we were to point out people’s Righteousness in Christ and what he says about them, they would not go out and willing sin……

    Let us be honest and stop pretending as anyone who is truly honest here would say that we also sometimes sin in our hearts and even do things we really didn’t want to do at times. We don’t want to sin purely becuase we love God and want to honour HIm, but sometimes we still do (be real now!) and it breaks our hearts….then we really need to rely on the grace of God everyday who is forever faithful and loves us with an enduring love, because we love and know His Son. I note that we many times refer to sin as sexual sin alone……lets not forget that the only sin that got someone kicked out of heaven (lucifer) was the sin of pride…how many of us christinas struggle with that in our hearts? many of us if we’re real….hence we all need the grace of God each and every day and trust the Holy Spirit in us to change us more and more into Jesus’ likeness.

    Let’s drop the pride, humble ourselves before God and focus on what is important to the heart of Christ……even when we were broken messes he still loved us and died for us………..when you judge people you don’t have time to love them. Let’s get real and ask God to show us what is on his heart. The broken hearted, the lost, those trapped by sin and addictions, those that are mourning, those that seem unlovable….that would still be us if it wasnºt for the powerful and enduring love of Christ shown to us on the cross.

    The way of the master series means well…..but they still preach the law. Our beautiful Lord didn’t even do this so why should we?? Look it up…….the only people he mentioned the law to were the jews and pharisees of the day who thought they were right with God because of how they kept the law. He would show them that they were not made right before God because of the law. The law was purely our school master before the cross to show us that without Christ there is no rightouesness, there is no right standing with God. It is not by what we do or don’t but what Jesus did! When you get a daily true revelation of the grace of God, the rest of your life will lstart to line up to the word of God as you yearn to know him more from a thankful heart that loves God and not one who thinks we need to keep certain ‘rules’ to be holy. The book of Romans says ‘Sin no longer has dominion over you because you are not under law, but under grace’. Law or grace..you choose….but don’t mix both…we will continue to be defeated sin-conscious Christians of we continue to do so. Let’s point people to Jesus instead. To the cross instead. To his love instead.

    Let’s choose Jesus, let’s choose grace and truth instead.

    Stay blessed.

  12. Alan Higgins says:

    Its Alan by the way Stephi. Thanks for your comments. I have read it and if I am honest I do not disagree with your comments but what I fail to recognise how it fits in with all of this. Because no where do I see where anyone is saying that we have to live by the law and grace.

    I have watched the way of the master for some time now and believe me, they always say that the law cannot save you and in fact it only condemns you. All it does is take you to the cross and no further. They use the law as a mirror to show people their sin and the law brings the whole world guilty (Romans 3:19). It is a way to show someone how they would stand guilty before God and that they need a savior

    We cannot deny that there are people who go to church who are going through the motions and will not go to heaven and that is why we have to consistently examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith, hence the reason I added the link ‘How do you know that you are saved?’ (https://realchristianity.wordpress.com/2007/12/06/how-do-you-know-that-you-are-saved)

    So like I said, I do believe we are on the same page

  13. Amber says:

    Any chance you know of “Saved or self deceived” being available on line? I’m too impatient to wait to receive it in the mail (all the way in canada). Email me if you have any info,

  14. Alan Higgins says:

    I am not sure Amber but if I find out, I will let you know. Thanks for stopping by at my blog

  15. lavrai.com says:

    The cause of this self-deception is quite simple (in a way) – the lack of belief and therefore faith. Consider the parable of the sower: He drops seed on the path, on rocky ground, among thorns and then on good earth. If the Word does not fall on good earth (he/she who listens to the Word), then how can it take root and blossom and yield fruit?

    Many of us Christians are walking around with hard hearts, bitter attitudes and zero compassion — stumbling blocks that may drown out our belief and faith. We need to ask the LORD to “till” our hearts so that we become good earth.


  16. nadia says:

    Hallo!!! Christianity today is a fake…..there is no proof that holly spirit indwels,influences and guides todays believers.The fruits of holly spirit are not apparent in they lives The presence of God has not been always on earth.. We are hawing spirit of baal,baalzebub im manifestation today …We are to wait for tru God to poure out his spirit…to start saving again…Christianity today is without spirit of true God

  17. Jared says:

    Christians are all self-deceiving because they all believe in that which is patently false. There is no god.

    Ask yourself, why be born again when you can just grow up?

  18. nadia says:

    Dear frien !!Thank you for your email..Todays Christianity is fake….. When appostacy had come the spirit of true God had to retreate….stop operate because God cannot send Ruach HaKodesh to validate fake preachers…..No man is able to be born again…today…there is abstinence of Gods grace on humans… WE ARE TO WAIT AS MESSIAH DAID FOR ELIJAH TO COME AND RESTORE EVERYTHING LOST BECAUSE OF APPOSTACY…Christians are just deceived ,they are contradicting themselves,lying….somebody need to tel them it and you are doing it…

  19. Alan Higgins says:

    Jared, why do you think there is no God?

    Nadia. why are we contradicting ourselves and lying?

  20. nadia says:

    Alan,I am researching scriptures for last 21 yr.and can tel you that you christians are contradicting old and new testament.Todays christianity is contradicting Paul,James,Peter as fare I know…Lying because you claym something you do not have proof to have…to posess
    I am able to prove it to you and to any Rabbi….I am 93 yr of age.havebeing judge in Slovenia for36 yr,still living on my own and I am not on any tablets ,do not have one single sicness…Still sharp mind

  21. Alan Higgins says:

    If you are saying christianity today is contradicting the bible, I will agree with you 100%. If you are saying that christianity in and of itself is contradictory, then I disagree

  22. desire says:

    Christian are living the like the unbelievers

  23. nadia says:

    Alan ! I am saying that Christianity today is a FAKE….. There is nothing wrong with the word of God….But the conversion is not posible since the time of entering into appostacy……The Holly Spirit das not come to validate DOCTRINAL MICTURE OF THE LIE AND THE TRUTH…..The micture of lie and truth is what Christianity today believe……But there is the HOPE…..SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE tHE mESSIAH SAID ; Matt;17.11 Elijah is coming firs and SHALL RESTORE ALL THINGS……..All things lost because of appostacy…….the grace and the Spirit are being lost………Todays Christians are not diferent from non Christians,they do not have fruits ,new heart and they are not diferenr from the rest of the world…those caracteristics are missing in the life of those why claim to be saved ,born again But you cannot distinguish them from the rest of the world.The messiah daid they will be the light ,distinguishible from the rest of the people They are not IT MEANS THEY ARE DECEIVED AND THEY ARE DECEIVIND OTHERS

  24. Yitzchak says:

    There is no empirical basis for knowing you are saved then….

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