In my devotions yesterday I read Ecclesiastes 8:10 which reads:
Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity.
What are the wicked doing going into “the holy place.’? I presume this is the temple. They are going in there to do what people go there to do – worship.Then in Jeremiah 7:1-3 we come across this.
Jeremiah 7:1-4 – The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:  “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord.  Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place.  Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’
The message of repentance that Jeremiah is to deliver is to be delivered to those who go to the temple to worship.
Then we have this:
“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.’
Preachers, healers, miracle workers, all refused entrance in into eternal life.
There are many more similar examples throughout the Scriptures. And there are many conclusions that can be reached. I just make this one. If we dare stand before God when the time to be judged comes and say that our attendance at places of worship or our performance as workers for God should get us a good report, we are in for a sad awakening.
We are saved by grace and grace alone. We trust Christ to save us. We cannot save ourselves. Any good we do is a response to His great work. In Christ we have died to sin and that is what enables us to live a holy life. Performance follows salvation and quite frankly, none of us performs that well. We are in constant need of great grace. And those whose faith is in Jesus are in constant reception of grace. Simple little lesson. We all know it so well. But we are constantly in need of being reminded of it because works righteousness is our default position.
May the grace of God teach you to say “no” to ungodliness – Titus 2:11-12.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.