Christians could disagree over what constitutes the scariest passage within the Bible. However most would agree Jesuss concluding phrases within the Sermon on the Mount rank close to the highest.
Not everybody who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the dominion of heaven, however the one who does the need of my Father who’s 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?” After which will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt. 7:2123)
Its horrifying to consider going to hell. Its much more horrifying to search out out too late that youre going to hell whenever you thought you had been going to heaven. And nonetheless extra horrifying to suppose that not only a few, however many could have this expertise. Some individuals suppose theyre Christians, they name Jesus Lord, they even do mighty works in his nameand but theyre not actually saved and by no means had been.
When studying this passage it may be tempting to throw up our fingers: Who then can know if theyll be saved? It positive looks like an enormous gamble. You do your greatest to observe Jesus, however who is aware of whether or not youll get smacked down on the finish.
However thats not Jesuss purpose right here. He’s not attempting to confuse us or rob us of assurance. True, he doesnt need us to be deceived, however neither does he need us to dwell in terror or uncertainty about our ultimate state.
So let me provide two methods to maintainand even buildassurance within the face of this horrifying passage.
1. Acknowledge What It Means to Do the Fathers Will
In verse 21, Jesus describes the one who will enter the dominion because the one who does the need of my Father. However what precisely does that imply? Judging by the context, it should imply greater than merely saying Lord, Lord and doing mighty works in Jesuss title. So how can we all know if had been doing the Father’s will? And do we’ve to do it completely?
To see the reply, we must always notice that that is solely the second time within the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus has spoken of getting into the dominion of heaven. The opposite is the Sermons theme verse, Matthew 5:20: Until your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you’ll by no means enter the dominion of heaven. Evaluating these two passages, we are able to say that doing the Fathers will is parallel to possessing a larger righteousness. So by implication, Matthew 7:2123 is describing these whose righteousness did not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees.
When studying this passage it may be tempting to throw up our fingers and ask Who then can know if theyre going to be saved?However that’s not Jesus’s purpose right here.
Heres why this issues. When Jesus says our righteousness should exceed that of the Pharisees, hes not saying Do what they did, solely higher. It’s not that the Pharisees didnt attempt arduous enoughits that they had been attempting actually arduous on the fallacious issues. They had been lacking the purpose solely, specializing in exterior behaviors to get peoples reward whereas neglecting to do justice, love kindness, and stroll humbly with God (Mic. 6:8; Matt. 23:23).
The scribes and Pharisees didnt do the Fathers will. Interval. If you wish to see how they handled Gods instructions, learn Matthew 5:2148. If you wish to see how they fasted and prayed and gave alms, learn Matthew 6:118. Their righteousness wasnt a honest try to please God, which a fastidious Jesus then checked out and mentioned, Fairly good, however not fairly ok to enter the dominion. It was a self-promoting pile of filthy rags (Isa. 64:6).
Doing the Fathers will isnt simply an exterior factor. The Pharisees regarded clear on the skin, however they had been filthy and lawless inside (Matt. 23:2526). What Jesus describes here’s a righteousness that flows from a pure coronary heart and a honest religion (Matt. 5:8; 1 Tim. 1:5). Its fruitfruit thats good as a result of it grew on a great tree (Matt. 7:17). Its the form of righteousness you may solely follow when youve been born once more via the Spirit of God and have thus (in a single sense) entered the dominion already (Matt. 5:3; John 3:3, 5).
Jesus isnt telling us to out-Pharisee the Pharisees, neither is he saying we should preserve the Sermon on the Mount completely with a purpose to make sure had been true Christians. Quite the opposite, in keeping with the Sermon on the Mount, a real Christian is somebody who regularly prays, Father, forgive me my money owed (Matt. 6:913; cf. 1 John 1:82:1). Its the Pharisee who thanks God that hes higher than others. A real Christian prays, God be merciful to me, a sinner (Luke 18:914).
Jesus isnt telling us to out-Pharisee the Pharisees, neither is he saying we’ve to maintain the Sermon on the Mount completely with a purpose to make sure had been true Christians.
The slender path is for people who find themselves poor in spirit, who mourn over their sin, and who starvation and thirst for righteousness (Matt. 5:36; 7:1314). These individuals will likely be satisfiedboth now and particularly later when Jesus consummates his kingdom.
Doing the Fathers will, then, isnt some inconceivable normal. It could actually describe you, and you’ll realize it describes you. And if youre a real Christian, it will describe youimperfectly, sure, however more and more. For the true Christian, the query will not be Am I excellent? (Christs imputed righteousness has already met that want), however Do I do know Jesus? Or higher nonetheless, Does Jesus know me?
Which results in the second level.
2. Acknowledge the Major Knower Right here
All through most of my life, I learn verse 23 as if Jesus had been saying, Depart from me, as a result of you by no means knew me (i.e., you had been by no means actually saved). Thats true, however its truly not what the verse says. As a substitute Jesus says, I by no means knew you.”Its not in the end a query of whether or not we all know him (as vital as that’s), however whether or not he is aware of us.
I’m reminded of an incredible scene, in C. S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Daybreak Treader, between Edmund and Eustace. Listening to Edmund converse of his experiences with Aslan, the unknowing Eustace inquires, However who’s Aslan? Have you learnt him? To which Edmund responds, Wellhe is aware of me. . . . He’s the good Lion, the son of the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea, who saved me and saved Narnia.
Did Edmund know Aslan? In fact. However when requested whether or not he did, Edmund was considering much less about his personal erudition and extra about how Aslan had cherished him and given himself for him on the Stone Desk whereas he was nonetheless a traitor. He knew Aslan, sure; however solely as a result of Aslan first knew him (Gal. 4:9; 1 Cor. 8:3; cf. 1 John 4:19).
So it’s with us and Christ. Do I do know him? Effectively, he is aware of me.
Its not in the end a query of whether or not we all know him (as vital as that’s), however whether or not he is aware of us.
Does he know you? Are you the form of particular person Jesus goes to satisfy as an outdated good friend on the final day? I ask as a result of there are literally going to be individuals like that. Individuals whom Jesus goes to have a look at and say, Hey, John. Its good to lastly meet you head to head. Ive all the time loved our conversations, and Ive by no means stopped interceding for you. I do know you went via quite a bit for my sake. You werent ashamed of meand I would like you to know Im not ashamed of you both. Welcome dwelling, brother. I look ahead to persevering with our friendship all through all eternity.
We dont need to dwell in terror of the ultimate day. We might be making ready for it. As a result of for these recognized by Jesus, the ultimate day gained’t be some large disruption. Itll merely be a heightened continuation of the connection we already get pleasure from with him now, by religion.
So lets look at ourselves and ask not solely Do I do know Jesus? however Does Jesus know me? Lets dwell in such means that hell not be ashamed to name us his brothers and sisters on that day. And lets not be deceived, as a result of that is too good to overlook.