Trick or Treat!
With Halloween here, the phrase can be borrowed and application can be made to people’s use of Scripture. What will they find when they come to the judgment day?
Jesus offers an abundant life (John 10:10) while Satan offers an eternity in hell (Matthew 25:41). Satan will say and do anything to pull people away from God (1 John 2:15,16; Ephesians 6:10-17).
One of Satan’s most successful ploys is to convince men that false doctrines are actually correct (cf. Genesis 3:2-6). His persuasive nature leads them to be completely faithful to these false doctrines. When they come to the throne of judgment, will they find they have been faithful and receive the treat of heaven or realize they have been tricked?
Consider the following doctrines.
First, many believe that faith alone will save them. They claim that any action (work) on their part will condemn their souls. We are indeed saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8,9). Yet, obedience is a necessary part of discipleship (Ephesians 2:10). Obedience cannot save us, but its absence will condemn us.
We only read once in Scripture of “faith alone,” and it is condemning the belief (James 2:14). We will be judged on the last day by our works (Revelation 20:11-15). So when we come before the throne of God with “faith only,” will we find a treat or that we have been tricked?
Second, many believe that we cannot all understand the Bible alike. They say that we all have our own opinions of Scripture and they are all equally valid. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32, NKJV).
Jesus said that we would be judged by his words ( John 12:48). Scripture provides all that we need for doctrine and salvation (2 Timothy 3:16,17). This doctrine insinuates that God was not smart enough to provide an understandable book. So when we come before the throne of God with this doctrine, will we find a treat or a trick? Will we find Satan laughing or the angels rejoicing?
Third, God will understand how busy I am. God will understand I was too busy to worship or serve him. He will understand that I had to attend with my relatives at their denomination. He will understand I could not give because I had so many “important” things to buy. He will understand that I had to have that person despite it destroying my marriage. And on and on it goes. In order to find peace in their hearts, men will rationalize and justify their behavior until they feel right.
Jesus said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34). He will accept no excuses (Luke 14:16-24). When we come before the throne of God with our excuses, will we find a treat or realize we have been tricked?
Fourth, there is enough time to make things right. Our lives are as tenuous as the shroud of morning fog and the dew on the grass (James 4:14). Psalm 90:9 says, “We finish our years like a sigh.” We do not have the luxury of time to make things right. Death can come at any moment (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Corinthians 6:2). So, if the judgment day comes before we have made things right with God, will we find a treat or that we have been tricked?
The treat of heaven comes from the God who cannot lie and is perfectly good (Titus 1:2; Exodus 34:6; 1 John 1:5). And the tricks come from Satan, the “father of lies” (John 8:44). How surprising is that?