“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
1 John 4:1
Following a rabbit trail is a knee-jerk reaction to whatever tries to lead you away from the TRUTH. It is futility in effort and leads nowhere or sometimes everywhere where your mind and emotions spin like a compass in all directions. But God is not a God of confusion nor does He hide His wisdom from those who are in Christ Jesus. Matthew 24:24
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
Mankind (male and female) carves out a beaten trial for himself but in the end it leads nowhere. He then is left with himself, but if he looks up, He will see God’s pathway of life. Luke 15: 11-24
“And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”
Jesus suspended between heaven and earth gave the only direction back to the Father and eternal life. Like an eternal Compass, His arms outstretched – East to West, with His Head and Feet decreeing the width and debt of His Love. Ephesians 3:17-19, Psalm 103:11-12
So what did the thief on the cross have to offer Christ to earn salvation and eternal life- He confessed that he was a sinner and that Jesus was the Savior of His soul. Only through recognition of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is our sin debt paid and a clear path made to eternal life. Luke 23:39-43
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Jesus made it clear that there are not many ways or religions to follow, only the TRUTH. Jesus is the Truth and God’s Word to the World and path to eternal LIFE. John 1, Proverbs 14:12
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?”
Even after salvation there will be many temptations to follow a different way. Some will attempt to take away and some will attempt to add to the path of salvation. These are like diversions along the way.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7: 21-23
But it is only through God’s Mercy and Grace that we come to the knowledge of His salvation through Jesus Christ. And only through faith in His Mercy and Grace are we saved. And it is only His works brought forth through faith in His salvation that identifies us in Christ. It is not our works that saves us, only our faith in His Work (death) on the Cross and belief in His resurrection. Romans 10:9
In Matthew 7: 21-23, the above scriptural passage, take notice, the many are speaking of what they did for Christ, not what He did for them. Their way was the way of self-righteousness which scripture states that all our righteousness are like filthy rags:
“ We are all infected and impure with sin. When we put on our prized robes of righteousness, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves we fade, wither, and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away”. NLT
Also take notice that Jesus says He never knew them. The only way anyone can do the works of Christ is to come into a personal relationship with Him and not through any one else or religion or religious acts of their own.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Only the blood of Jesus Christ is powerful enough to cover our nakedness and sin, not our good works. It is only through abiding in Him and growing in His righteousness that we are changed and bear His Good Fruit. Revelation 3: 17-18
It seems as though at some point as believers it is possible to get off track, railroaded, onto a rabbit trail going nowhere and even everywhere away from the TRUTH. But be encouraged. Our God is faithful and has placed in everyone of faith, His Holy Spirit – The irrevocable sign of His redemption Who always leads us back to His Mercy and Grace.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.”