Matthew 7:21 “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. 22 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?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Are we understanding Jesus correctly that people who hail the name of the Lord and act in the name of the Lord will be sent to hell?
Religious? Spiritual people? Sent away from the Lord forever?
It catches the many off guard when Jesus says to them, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.”
As with all of Jesus’ words he tells us this because he loves us. He is warning us so we don’t fall into the same trap.
So what is the deception? What is the tactic Satan is using?
Satan loves to get us to believe that being outwardly spiritual and pious is what the Lord desires. He wants us to think that a good spiritual performance before God will earn a spot in heaven, or at least recognition by the Father in heaven.
I cringe when people at funerals say something like, “I know he’s in a better place because he was such a good man.”
Outward actions…Outward spiritual actions don’t save.
Jesus condemns superficial religious activity.
Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.
Outward activity without inner conviction is religious deception. The inner conviction the Lord is looking for is faith in him as Savior.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
The heart, transformed by the Spirit of God, produces the will of God. Jesus says he will recognize those that do the will of God. What is the will of God?
John 6:40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
The will of God is produced from a heart that trusts firmly in the work of God.
As shocking as it may sound, the truth must be spoken. Only faith that has its substance in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will be welcomed into heaven.
Here’s the substance of saving faith:
Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Going through the motions of following Jesus will end in a harsh departure from the one you feigned to follow. However a heart of faith in the Lord Jesus will produce a life of good fruit and receive a welcome by grace to an eternity in heaven.
Apply: Did these words of Jesus shock you? For what do you need to repent? What happens when the Spirit of God works in your heart a trust and love for the Lord Jesus as your Savior?
Prayer: Lord, thank you again for your warnings. May all of my life be driven by a faith-filled heart which loves and trusts in God above all things. AMEN.