Oh! The Places You Will Go
“. . . Beware of the scribes . . .” Mark 12:38
It’s possible to progress in matters of religion without being a Christian. It’s a scary thought, but true. There are many who have learned the culture, the vernacular and the behavior of the local church, and never have a personal encounter with Jesus. This verse should come as a striking wake-up call as to just how far a person will go and still not be a disciple of Jesus.
The teacher of the law in this verse was a man of great knowledge. He saw things in the text that others like him never saw at all. His own words are proof of his expertise. His words are remarkable, especially considering the generation and culture among which he lived. No wonder Jesus says to him you are not far from the kingdom.
We can’t ignore the fact that there is no indication this man ever became one of Jesus’ devoted followers. In this verse, there is a notable silence. We are left to draw that sinful conclusion that, like the rich young ruler, he could not make up his mind to give everything up to follow Christ, or, like the chief rulers Jesus encountered earlier, he loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Though he was not far from the kingdom of God, he probably never entered into it and died outside of it, never knowing or tasting the full fellowship and communion with God. May this never be true of any of us.
Tragically, there are thousands who know His word, have seen Him work, yet live and die unconverted. They will have sat in Bible studies, stepped into the waters of baptism, served on missions and never experienced the saving life of Jesus.
Education, morality, church attendance will never make anyone a Christian. We must not only know the gospel with our head, but receive it into our heart. Only repenting and believing in Jesus makes us new creations in Christ. Never be satisfied with being not far from the kingdom, or one day, you will find yourself forever separated.
Is your faith resting on anything other than Jesus?