By Patrick Hawthorne
In continuation of my previous thoughts on Religion versus Relationship, I would like to approach this article from another angle. Unfortunately, this angle is not comical in any way, but rather frightening when considering the ramifications of a religious attitude versus one of a relationship.
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”(Matthew 7:24-27 NKJV bold/underline mine)
Have you ever really stopped and thought about this parable and the verses that immediately precede it, verses that are linked together by one very important word? This one word indicates the relationship and the severity of the two thoughts. That one word is “therefore.” As you have probably heard hundreds of times, when the Bible has “therefore,” it is vital to determine what it is there for. When we examine the preceding verses we should give pause and really reevaluate our lives.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV bold/underline mine)
Did you catch the correlation between the two sets of verses? The “not everyone” spoken of in verse 21 are the very ones who build their houses upon the sands in verse 27. But, here is the frightening part. The foolish people are the very same ones who attend the church we attend, work alongside of us in different areas of ministry, listen to the same teachings we listen to, and worship alongside of us as we worship. In the context of the passage, our houses are identical in every way except for one. Their house is built on failing sand. Otherwise, there is no difference in appearances.
They call our Heavenly Father Lord, just as we do. They are helpers, lay persons, ministers, teachers, pastors, evangelists and so much more. They appear righteous and holy before man, yet behind closed doors they are sons of the devil…deceiving and being deceived. The worst part is that they may not even be aware that they are not saved. No one may have told them. They practice the legalities of religion, but know not the unbreakable bond of a relationship.
What is the difference between those who are saved and those who are not? “But he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” This is not my interpretation of the Word, but the Word interpreting itself. The foolish ones are those who talk the talk but do not walk the walk. They are adulterers who pledge their love to our Heavenly Father while in church but go home to their seductress the devil. They live two separate lives while donning two separate faces.
Perhaps this is you. Perhaps this message was written to open your eyes before it is too late. Perhaps the Lord is calling you to shore up your foundation and to make things right…Perhaps.