“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’will enter into the kingdom of heaven—only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many powerful deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’Everyonewho hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock.” (Matthew 7:21–24)
Recently, I received an email from a subscriber of KingdomNomics asking for an explanation of the above verses. I replied that 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. It is only when we truly have a relationship with Jesus that we have right standing before God. Our works do not accomplish that.
I believe this passage of scripture is referring to people who are trusting in their works to get them 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.
The apostle Paul said it well: “Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12–14). He also said, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lordand believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
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. Only Jesus Christ provides our salvation. Nothing else. True faith produces works that are motivated by the relationship with Christ.
Today, ask yourself: In what ways do my works flow out of my relationship with Jesus Christ?