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.
This is a very clear word from our Lord about entering into the kingdom of heaven. The subject which Jesus is addressing can be found in verse 23, “You who practice lawlessness.” The lawlessness which Jesus is addressing is that of the religious leaders and their followers. They claimed to be followers of God and part of His kingdom, but they had established their own rules and were lawless and not submitting to the Law of God.
Jesus fulfilled God’s Law and was the only means to a right standing before His heavenly Father. Faith in the work of Christ gives us access to the Father and acceptance in His kingdom. Those who have trusted Christ are in varying degrees of development in terms of their daily obedience. “When the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5).
God richly poured out His Spirit through Jesus. He justified us by His grace so we would be made heirs in our hope of eternal life. Through belief in what God has done by justification we should be careful to engage in good deeds. It is to our profit to be fruitful in good works and obedience to our great God and Savior.
It is vital to understand that no one person can obtain access into God’s kingdom except through Jesus Christ. It is He, and He alone, who justifies every believer. It is equally true that He did not save us simply to go to heaven, but as “heirs according to the hope of eternal life . . . we should be careful to engage in good deeds.” There is the great tension of the Scriptures regarding salvation. It is not by works which we have done that we trust, but by His work alone. The expected result of the Father is through the power of the Holy Spirit, we do the work of God by engaging in good deeds.
Paul says to Titus, “I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds” (Titus 3:8). It is with confidence I speak as well. God has secured your salvation, believe Him for what He has done on your behalf and do good works. Each day, ask for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit to do God’s works. In order to do those works, we must have God’s power.
Father, I thank You for Your kindness and love for mankind. Thank You for saving me not based on my deeds, but Your mercy. Now Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit, that by Your power I might do deeds of righteousness.