He did Christian things and went to Christian places. He even had a “Christian” burial. From all external appearances, he seemed like a Christian. But did he really know Christ? Without a saving faith in Christ Jesus as the propitiation for sin, his sin, doing all these “Christian” things did not bring him to a right relationship with God.
So now he is gone. I think about what it must be like for him to have come to the realization on the other side that he did not truly know Christ and was not known by Him. Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV) states:
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.
Can you imagine what it must be like to die and think you knew God only to be rejected? To be told to depart from Him because you were a “worker of lawlessness”? To do “Christian” things your whole life, yet to not ever have truly known Christ or been a true follower of Christ?
Contrast that with John 10:27-28 (KJV) which states, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” It is not enough to know about Christ and do Christian things. God’s sheep know God and are known by Him. He gives them eternal life. It is God’s work through the redeeming act of Christ on the cross not our work that gives us eternal life.
Do you know how to be a Christian, how to act like a Christian, and how to do Christian-like things? Without being known by Christ, it is all meaningless. In Luke 13, Jesus shares:
Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, “Lord, open to us,” then he will answer you, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.” But he will say, “I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!” In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Luke 13:24-28b ESV)
You do Christian things and go to Christian places, but do you really know Christ? Are you known by Him?
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7 ESV)