What does saving faith look like? I mean, is it possible to tell just by looking if someone is saved or not? Probably not entirely. However, I submit to you that in this passage which culminates this masterful sermon that is recorded in Matthew that Jesus gives us a glimpse into something we will see in saving faith—obedience. If someone claims to be a Christian but doesn’t live like Jesus called Christians to live, there is a disconnect between that person’s claim and reality. There is an even greater problem for such a person—their lack of a foundation, as we will see in these verses. However, if perhaps you’ve just stumbled upon this blog let me assure you that these verses present a clear choice that you must make. This choice will have consequences in this present life, but more importantly, in eternity.
First of all, observe with me that there is an audience of two described in this passage. Verses 24 and 26 both say “everyone who hears these words of mine”. Both these people have the same opportunity. They both get to hear the message of the gospel. The fork in the road presented in verse 13 of this chapter is set before these two hypothetical people. They, like you and I, have a choice to make. What will our response to the message of the gospel be?
We observe next the actions of these two people. Jesus says in verse 24 one of these people hears what He has to say and “acts”. The gospel call is a call to action. We have to make a decision—do we obey the truth? Do we follow where Christ leads? If He is really our Savior He will also be our Lord. In His divinely inspired, inerrant word He has given us everything we need to know to live a life pleasing to Him. When we hear His word, our response should be to act. The other character in our story, in contrast, “does not act” on the words of Christ. The passage doesn’t tell us why. We do know that the actions of these two people demonstrate radically different responses to the gospel. One man acted on what he heard while the other let the words go in one ear and out the other.
Jesus goes on to give us the analysis of these two people. The one who heard what Jesus said and acted on it is called “wise”. He made the most of his opportunity. The words of Christ showed him his need and he took advantage of the message. He put into practice what he heard and it benefited him. The one who rejected the gospel—he is called “foolish”. Here was the message that answered every question that needed an answer. He was the water of life that satisfies the thirsty soul. This person had the same opportunity and squandered it. Instead of listening to the message and making the most of the opportunity, this person elected to squander his good fortune and reject the only thing that could save him.
However, as we will read next time, these two people are further contrasted by our Lord. There are consequences for their rejection of the truth.