It is appalling that so many people claim to believe that they are going to go to heaven when they die and yet, when they die, they find out that where they are isn't heaven. The latest poll data shows that 78% of Americans believe that there is a pretty good chance that they will go to heaven when they die, but the same data reveals that the average giving to the progress of the Gospel by those people is less than 3% of their income. What this translates into is a huge bunch of misled, self-deceived people who are living with a vain hope of heaven and dying only to find out just how misled they were.
Now I want to be very clear here: people do not go to heaven by giving their money to the churches and organizations which promote the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, the way people spend their money is an incontrovertible proof of what they think is valuable. Since people spend their money on what they value (whether it is a telephone, a car, a home, or tuition for school, etc. ad infinitum), it is a foregone conclusion that anyone who only spends 2.9% of his/her income on the thing that is most important to Jesus Christ (the progress of His truth to those that are lost in their sins) is self-deceived if he/she thinks that he/she has the kind of faith that results in a right standing before God.
The Bible says that if we believe that Jesus Christ died for us, we understand the love of God (1 John 3:16). It goes on to say that if we understand the love of God, we love Him in return (1 John 4:19). Then it tells us plainly that if we love God, we will keep His word (1 John 2:5). Since His main word to us was to proclaim the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15) and, by so doing, make disciples of every nation (Matthew 28:19), it is a plain fact that how we spend our money testifies of the reality of our understanding and thus, of our faith. We do not obtain faith, or its fruits, by the way we spend our money, but we do spend our money along the lines of the faith we possess. So, we are not saved by giving, but the genuinely saved invest heavily in the agenda of the God Who saved them.
This means that the vast crowd of religious people who think they are going to heaven, but who think that their money is to be used for lesser things than the progress of God's truth in the lives of those who know not God, are simply deceived materialists.
But it is deception and not reality. What I mean is that in the heart, where God confronts man in his selfish blindness, all men know whether they have peace with God or not. Those who squirm at the thought of dying, use His name in casual and offensive ways while conversing with others, and in a thousand other ways give evidence of their lack of peace with God, are not really self-deceived. They are simply unwilling to face up to the fact that they are not going to heaven when they die.