“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (ESV)
Recently, I received an email from a subscriber of KingdomNomics wanting an explanation of the above verses. No matter how great the ministry of an individual may be, we must remember the source, power, and foundation of our salvation is the person of Jesus Christ alone. Only he gives us right standing before God, not our works.
I believe Matthew 7:21–24 is referring to people who are trusting in their works to get into heaven. Works, no matter how wonderful, are not an acceptable payment for our sin, nor do they make us right with God. Only the blood of Jesus Christ is the acceptable payment for sin, and only by his blood do we have redemption in Christ. The people mentioned in the above passage are referring to themselves, saying their works ought to qualify them to enter heaven. Without realizing it, they are trusting in themselves rather than in Jesus Christ.
Only God qualifies us: “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:12–14, ESV)
This is a 100% work by God. It is only God who qualifies, delivers, and transfers and in whom there is the forgiveness of sin.
Remember: “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9–10, ESV)
The following passage states what the will of the father is, and this is what we want to be sure to rely on. Only Jesus Christ is our salvation. Nothing else.
“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40, ESV). The works will follow true faith.
Today, ask yourself:
Am I looking to Jesus Christ alone for my salvation, trusting only in his death, burial, and resurrection?