Article originally written on the day before Good Friday 2008 and migrated here.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power.
— 2 Timothy 3:1-5, New Living Translation
Commentaries from the Life Application Bible and the IVP Commentary explained the fifth verse this way, “The ‘form’ or appearance of godliness includes going to church, knowing Christian doctrine, using Christian clichés, and following a community’s Christian traditions. Such practices can make a person outwardly look good, but if the inner attitudes of belief, love, and worship are lacking, the public appearance is hollow, meaningless. When confronted, their inability to express their faith will reveal that beneath the ‘form of godliness’ there is only a vacuum of unbelief. They make a claim to godliness (with their claim to know God) but deny this claim with their powerless lives.”
When I decided to study more about these verses after I heard them in a late sermon, I can’t help but to wonder if the “terrible times in the last days” mentioned here has come. Reading the commentaries, I can’t help but to feel that the verse is speaking to me, reminding me of my own fall. Yes, I might be still writing articles in this blog and I might still be going to church, but sometimes I do feel my inner attitudes of belief, love and worship are missing. I often lose heart and lose hope during my trials, and that led to enormous mood swings and bad tempers that has irritated many others. When I have a bad temper, I lost my love and began filling my mind with hatred and murderous thoughts. Worse still, it has been a few months since I had a proper quiet time. Nowadays it’s really hard for me to worship God. When I’m in church, I just want to skip right over to the sermon and pass the praise and worship moments.
This reminded me about Jesus’ strong words recorded on Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he 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 perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”.
These verses talk about how working for Jesus is useless if you don’t know Jesus personally. It would be like working hard in a company where you never knew who the boss is. When a hard time comes, you come to the boss and say to him, “Boss, I know we’re facing a hard time now, but I have been working for this company 20 years, how could you just fire me?”. Imagine how would you respond if the boss replied “Get away from me. I never knew you!”, knowing still that his words were true — despite working for 20 years in the company, you never bothered to find out who you’re working for and get to know him. What would you do if it is Jesus who speak those words to you in the last day? Would you risk not knowing Him then?
I know that everything I do for Him would count for nothing if I don’t know Him personally. I could preach the Gospel to 1,000 people, write 10,000 articles in this blog or sing 100,000 songs — still it would count for nothing in the end without Jesus in me. Tomorrow we will commemorate the Good Friday, the day when He died for you and me 2,000 years ago on the cross. With His nail-scarred hands, He is coming and reaching out His hand to you and me, seeking to embrace us and free us from our sins. Would we gladly accept His call to come and know Him personally, or would we pass this chance and be lost for all eternity?