Why it that many people are not saved? I suppose there are many reasons that people offer as to why, but it really boils down to just one. Jesus said to some people “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things I say?” (Luke 6:46). With this question, one may rework into a paraphrase comment: “You call me Lord because you want Me to save you, but you are not and will not be saved unless you obey Me.” It really is no more complicated than this.
What about those who identify themselves as Christians, or lovers of God? The above answer will apply here, but there is something else that I want to give some attention to. When Jesus gave instructions to His twelve disciples on a limited commission He sent them on (Matthew 10), He told them about what they were going to face. They would face both those who received them and those who were in direct opposition to them. Consider this latter group.
But whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Do not suppose that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to ‘turn a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be his own household members.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:33-39, The English Majority Text Version)
Denying Jesus is more than just speaking words, it is also living a life contrary to His will.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Peter 1:13-19, ESV)
Thus, a holy life is crucial. Considering the words in Matthew once again, consider this:
- Are your parents more important to you than the Lord?
- Are your children more important to you than the Lord?
- Are your possessions in this world sacred to you?
- Is your spouse more important to you than the Lord?
If you answered “yes” to any or all of these then you chose poorly. When life is over what will any of them do for you when you stand before the Lord? It will do no good for you to say that you don’t believe you will stand before God (one you don’t believe in) – for you will!
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31, ESV).
Neither will it be any good for you to speak about how you loved your spouse, your children, nor did so much in the way of good works that others identified them as significant contributions in the community. None of this will benefit you.
The best thing a person can do is to respond to the Lord’s love and obey His holy will. With this, the parents, the children, and the spouse will receive better treatment from one who loves the Lord. Why? Because the one who loves the Lord will begin to implement love in a way that is holy and “out of this world.”
What a shame for a parent to become Christian and then turn away from the Lord in actions, but convince oneself that she (he) loves the Lord. In this belief, but failure in action, he/she leads the children straight to hell! Remember Luke 6:46.