Okay, so yesterday I was reading in John Bevere’s book entitled, “Driven by Eternity”. And this message that’s been stirring around in my heart for a while came up and I wrote down some notes for a blog. But then I second guessed myself. I’m super good at that. And God always has to confirm to me what He wants, not what I think. And shoot if later on that evening I didn’t see a post about this very verse asking questions about it. The answers back were all “I don’t knows”, or I’m not “sures”. So basically, that’s God’s second confirmation to get on with it.
So this is more like a Bible study than my normal ‘lessons I learned blog’.
The verse in question is Matthew 7:21 ““Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
Everyone knows that actions speak louder than words. And people have discussions about what this really means. But it’s right there in the verse itself: “he who does the will of my Father”. But we’ve gotten away from the thought that we have to obey God’s commandments.
Titus 1:16 says, “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”
We take verses like, “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) and we think that’s all there is. But there are many more verses that say to keep His commandments.
For instance Matthew 19:17: “And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” And John 14:15; “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”.
But we reason and take out of context Romans 8:2 which says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”. It says we are free from the law OF SIN AND DEATH, but not free from obeying the law.
In fact, First John tells us, “ By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
And in the Old Testament they were taught that if you killed someone you were in danger of hell fire, but Jesus took it one step further in the New Testament. He said that if we even called our brother a fool we are in danger of hell fire. See, we think of the commandments as an Old Testament thing. But in truth, the Bible is one book from beginning to end and the books chapters and verses were added later on. We cannot discount the Old Testament as is the habit of many. I heard a Messianic Jewish preacher explain the fact that there are over 960 commandments for the Jewish people in the Old Testament. But in the New Testament for believers there are over 1100.
Of course it’s set up so we, apart from the strength we get from God’s grace and the Holy Spirit could never ever measure up. “It’s the power of grace that gives believers the ability to maintain Godly lifestyles of obedience.” John Bevere
And even when talking about the judgement, it’s according to what we have done, not said or thought that we will be rewarded. (Romans 2:6-10) He judges with no partiality. To carry this thought one step further, it’s only the things we do for God’s kingdom that will stand and we will be rewarded on.
Acts 26:19-21 tells us to “Repent, turn to God and do good deeds.” Another translation says, “they should repent, turn to God and do good works befitting repentance.” And yet it’s not our good deeds that will save us. The deeds are the outward expression of what has changed inside of us. That we are letting God mold and shape our lives. So obviously good works and faith go hand in hand. Just because you do good works, if you don’t have faith, it will do you no good. But if you have faith and therefore do good works, then you’re getting it.
Clement of Rome (AD 30-100) wrote: “Whoever obtains the truth and distinguishes himself in good works shall gain the prize of everlasting life… Some people correctly and adequately understand how God provides the necessary power (to be saved), but attaching slight importance to the works that lead to salvation, they fail to make the (GET THIS) necessary preparation for attaining the object of their hope.”
What’s really sad is that we tell people they simply have to pray this little prayer and they are magically ‘in’. But Jesus says, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46 He says, repent and be baptized. The first thing is action – repent.
So that brings us full circle, back to the verse we started with, “Not everyone” who calls Him Lord will enter. But make no mistake, He tells us many times over what this verse means. We should not be confused.
I’ve got one last verse to relay to you: Titus 3:8 – “ This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” Other translations say “insist on these things” or “affirm this constantly.
Apparently we are needing to be reminded constantly that this is the result of our faith. I know I need that reminder and I bet you do, too. Today, let’s walk in the power of God’s grace and do the good works he has for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Have a fabulous day!