“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. Matthew 7:21-29 (NIV)
Do you ever wonder how good you have to be to get to heaven? Is my church attendance recorded in a big book next to St. Peter? Do I need to do great exploits for God to get in?
In this passage, Jesus makes a haunting statement. He says (my summary) many think they will get in, but not everyone will get in?
So who makes it and how do get on that list?
This statement of Jesus is on the tail end of his shocking statement saying “narrow is the road that leads to eternal life and few find it.”
Jesus shatters the world of some who think they can “do” there way to heaven. “Many will come saying.. ” Did we not speak on your behalf? Did we not cast out evil? Did we not heal the sick? Doesn’t what we do give us any credit to get into your kingdom?
And Jesus says “no!” None of that is what I’m looking for. The kingdom of God is not given to those who think they can earn their way there.
The kingdom of God is for those who have a relationship with god through trusting Jesus as their Lord.
Jesus equates trying to do good to enter the kingdom of God with being evil. That’s hard, isn’t it?!
So who gets in?
Simple. And it’s seems complicated.. You’ll see why.
Jesus says those who do the will of the Father will receive heaven.
What is the will of the Father? To be in a relationship with Him. That’s why we were created. That’s why Jesus came. Jesus came to restore everything to their original purpose.
He restores our relationship with God by giving us His righteousness (ability to do right) to substitute for our righteousness.
Once we walk in this grace and trust Jesus as our Lord we know we don’t have to earn anything. We then can take the commands if Jesus and put them into practice as a wise builder.
My next step:
Continue to trust Jesus as the only way I can be right with God and then follow what he says as a reflection of my trust in him.