“Not everybody who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter. On the Judgment Day, many people will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name and expel demons in your name and do lots of miracles in your name?’ Then I’ll tell them, ‘I’ve never known you. Get away from me, you people who do wrong’” (Matthew 7:21-23, Common English Bible).
There is something about this verse, when paired with other verses of Scripture that just doesn’t make sense. “Not everybody who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter.”
Now, compare that with John 3:16. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.” So which is it? Do we get the kingdom of heaven if we believe in the Son? Or, as our lesson says, we get heaven when we do the will of Jesus’ Father?
To further complicate the matter, in John 14 we read, “ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'” (John 14:6, CEB). Do we gain the Father and thence the kingdom of heaven through Jesus? Or, do we gain the Kingdom of heaven by doing the will of God?
So, I think something more is required. Perhaps we should read a little further in that John 14 passage. Jesus continues, “If you have really known me, you will also know the Father. From now on you know him and have seen him” (John 14:7, CEB).
One more passage to watch, James 2:17 says, “In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.” It is more than just having faith, it is about having living faith.
We want to simplify things. Perhaps we want them to be a bit too simple. “If I just profess faith in Jesus…” That is all that is required, or at least that is what we want to think. Our lesson today reminds us that knowing Jesus is more than just words. And, we are, as Paul says, justified by faith. But, that faith has to be something more than mere talk. Our faith that justifies us has to be real and it has to be living.
We are living our faith when we are living in the will of God. We are living our faith when we not only say we love God but when we demonstrate that love in the ways we love our neighbors, when we get out and do work that makes a difference in the lives of people in the world around us.
What it all comes down to is, we can’t just say we believe in Jesus, we have to live like we love Jesus. We have live out the will of God.
How do you show the world you love Jesus? How do you live out the will of God?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.