They were on a mission. It was a battle between good and evil. The enemy (the great Satan) needed to be taught a lesson. In the name of Allah they boarded the plane as worthy soldiers ready to die and receive the ultimate reward. They were religious warriors who sacrificed all for what they believed. They were fighting a Jihad.
But something wasn’t quite right about these warriors. They claimed to be fighting in the name of religion but their actions spoke of a different conviction. As devote Moslems they would pray 5 times each day, and then they were seen drinking in bars. They went to strip clubs and watched dancers in a private rooms. They went to adult video stores. They paid for lap dances and prostitutes. And yet in their minds – they were better, they were more righteous, than all they killed.
Did they have faith? Yes, they had great faith in what they believed. Did they give their lives for that faith? Yes, they lived each day – devoted to the cause.
Does having great faith give one eternal life? Does living each day devoted to the cause lead to a place in the Kingdom of God? What does the Christ say?
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 will I tell them plainly, "I never knew you? Away from me, you evildoers!" Matthew 7:21-23
The warning is clear. Saying “Jesus is Lord" is not enough! Believing in the Bible and in the doctrines are not enough. Being baptized is not enough. Worshipping regularly and giving money to the church is not enough. Working very hard for the Lord, preaching in his name, casting out demons, performing many miracles is not enough!
Consider the words of Paul:
I would not that ye should be ignorant how all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
But ……………..But with many of them God was not well pleased: and they were overthrown in the wilderness.
These words were written for us to learn by. None of us wants to be among those who die in the wilderness. None of us wants to be called an evildoer by the Lord. None of us wants to be a hypocrite. And so we have the words of scripture to turn us about and to steer us in the right direction. By Gods grace, we are a called people from the Gentiles. We are called to obedience that comes from faith. All through scripture, both in the old AND the New Testament God calls his people to obey. That is our duty. To love the Lord with all our heart and to love all men around us with the same love we give to those closest to us. Do we practice that duty in our life?
Do we share Gods word with those who are starving for it in the world around us? Do we fellowship with those who thirst? Do we welcome the stranger into our midst? Do we cover the naked by esteeming them better than ourselves? Do we give comfort to those who wrestle with chains - that is troubles that come in this life?
Have we given God glory for the hardships that we have in our life? Have we given him our confidence that we believe he is there, and that he has the power to save us? Have we stopped lusting in our hearts for things we don’t have? Have we given up control of our life into Gods hands, and let him be the guide for our footsteps?
There is wide spread delusion in the world that teaches us to believe that obedience to God isn’t necessary and can never be achieved by us anyways. This delusion downplays the importance of works in the process of our salvation. They say that it would be impossible for us to obey because we are so sinful. And besides this, we may feel that those things that we are wrestling with inside us, that those things are just too big. That we will never be able to overcome them.
The scriptures testify “to him that overcomes”. Thus with these words, the scriptures cry out that there is a victory that we can win. Our sins may feel like a giant before our eyes, defying that which we believe in, making a mockery of our hope. Men around us run from this giant, thinking that it can never be beat. But just like David, we should have all the confidence that there is a God of Israel who will give this giant into our hands and we will overcome it. Like David, let us each go out and battle against the giants that we each wrestle with, and look to God to give each of us the victory.
Consider some of the very last recorded words of our Lord Jesus:
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”