Does this title startle you?
How can anyone get so close and yet in the end hear the Lord say, “I never knew you: depart from me”?1
However, this will be the terrible result of many in our churches today who are professing Christians, often with responsible positions, but who have had only a head acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Tragically enough, even teachers, preachers and religious workers are not exempt from the possibility of this chilling indictment.
The distance between the head and the heart is 18 inches. Unfortunately, a head—intellectual—knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, fully knowing and giving mental assent to the plan of salvation, without also a heart acceptance that brings the personal relationship that the Bible demands, avails nothing to any man.
Listen to Paul’s heart cry concerning Israel as he spoke under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.”2 He was speaking about misdirected efforts, energies expended in the strength of the flesh but not under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The lack of power today in many of our churches as well as the lack of power today in the lives of many professing Christians can be laid directly to this.
It is only as we see ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word as without excuse and without hope, utterly lost and undone, that the truth of the Scriptures convicts us, for the Bible clearly reveals that this is how God sees man.3, 4
Then, when the glorious truth of the gospel brings us to recognition of our own sinfulness, and in true repentance we cry out to God asking forgiveness and help, asking Him to come into our hearts, not our heads, we experience the new birth.
Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”5
The Bible also tells us that “He that hath the Son hath [eternal] life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.6
Furthermore, the Bible promises “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”7
Christ wants your heart, not just your head because “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”8
It is vitally important that you make sure it is not just head knowledge and mental assent you have given to Jesus Christ. He needs the complete surrender of your heart and life so that you may be truly born again.
Eighteen inches can mean an eternity with Christ or an eternity without Christ. Are you sure of your personal relationship to Him? Why not settle the question in your heart once and for all right now?
Paul W. Empet
American Tract Society
1. Matthew 7:23
2. Romans 10:2
3. Romans 3:10-18
4. Romans 3:21-23
5. John 14:6
6. I John 5:12
7. Romans 10:9-10
8. I Samuel 16:7