John Bunyan: "Better to be born a toad than to die unconverted.”
Why? Because toads don’t go to hell. Humans do.
And we are prone to think we are saved, converted, and ready-for-heaven when, in reality, we are just on the broad pathway to hell.
This is why, in part, the writer of Hebrews in 12:15a warns: “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God.”
As he has warned throughout the whole book, it is possible to be close to people of God and have some true knowledge of God and his plan of salvation—but, yet, not be saved or know God at all (see also: Matthew 7:21-23).
In his 1661 book "The Almost Christian Discovered," Matthew Mead suggests several ways a person may think he/she is a Christian but really isn’t:
1. A man may have much knowledge—and yet be but almost a Christian.
2. A man may have great and eminent spiritual gifts—and yet be but almost a Christian.
3. A man may have a high profession of religion, be much in external duties of godliness—and yet be but almost a Christian.
4. A man may go far in opposing his sin—and yet be but almost a Christian.
5. A man may hate sin—and yet be but almost a Christian.
6. A man may make great vows and promises, strong purposes and resolutions against sin—and vet be but an almost Christian.
7. A man may maintain a strife and combat against sin—and yet be but almost a Christian.
8. A man may be a member of a Christian church—and yet be but almost a Christian.
9. A man may have great hopes of heaven—and yet be but almost a Christian.
10. A man may be under visible changes—and yet be but almost a Christian.
11. A man may be very zealous in matters of religion—and yet be but almost a Christian.
12. A man may be much in prayer—and yet be but almost a Christian.
13. A man may suffer for Christ—and yet be but almost a Christian.
14. A man may be called by God and embrace his call—and yet be but an almost Christian.
15. A man may have the Spirit of God—and yet be but almost a Christian.
16. A man may have faith—and yet be but almost a Christian.
17. A man ma ay have a love to the people of God—and yet be but almost a Christian.
18. A man may obey the commands of God—and yet be but almost a Christian.
19. A man may be sanctified—and yet be but almost a Christian.
20. A man may do all the external duties and worship which a true Christian can—and yet be but almost a Christian,
Some random faith lessons to further consider…
--“Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matthew 7:21). Christ warned His hearers that submission to His lordship was the great litmus test of true faith and genuine confession.
--"’Who then can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (Matthew 19:25-26). Until we feel he the weight of this word “impossible,” we will not be amazed as we ought that we are saved.
--“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Joel 2:32). The name makes all the difference, doesn’t it? His real, infinitely-valuable self. Not: “Help me! You unknown, unjust, and mythological god!”
--"Someone said, ‘Lord, will those who are saved be few?’ He said, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able’” (Luke 13:23-24). Notice that Jesus answers a question about the number by saying, in essence, “Be sure you’re in the number.”
#1 - Christian, as you pray and share the Gospel, remember: The hardest person to reach with the gospel is the one who thinks he is saved, but isn’t.
Yet, no one is so far away from God that they cannot be saved. No one is so close to Him that they do not need to be saved. Or, said another way: no one is so sinful that he cannot be saved. No one is so good that he does not need to be. He can’t be saved or converted until he knows he is lost. Until then, he doesn’t know that he doesn’t know. So, stay faithful in calling sinners to repentance. Stay loving. Stay prayerful. Stay expectant. Trust God.
#2 - We need to realize that non-Christians can be decent, honorable, & super-religious.
Equally, we must realize that to be a decent, honorable, and a super-religious person doesn’t make one a saved, forgiven-from-all-sin, and headed-to-heaven person.
#3 - You can be a good person and still not be a saved person.
Richard Lovelace said it well: “We are not saved by the love we exercise, but by the love we trust.” The unconverted are not merely sick in their sin, but are spiritually dead. They do not need a resuscitation, but a resurrection only found in Jesus’ name.
#4 - Jesus did not save us to the almost or 50%.
To be almost saved is to be entirely lost. To be almost converted is to be entirely unconverted (Matt. 19:16-30). If we are truly in him, he saved us to the utmost (Heb. 7:25)
#5 - Study the Bible well for a lifetime—but don't mistake education for illumination or true conversion. Even the devil's got a doctorate.
#6 - Keep praying: “O God, send a great revival to our churches that will lead to the conversion of the unsaved of our land.”
And, if you are reading this, there is cause for great concern if you look in the mirror of God’s Word and discover that you are lost. However, do not despair. A broken and contrite heart Christ will not despise, none who come to Him will be cast out, and whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.