There is a great debate about getting into heaven based on faith versus based on works. The Bible makes it clear that you can’t get into heaven without faith—without accepting salvation through Jesus. So, what does this statement of Jesus’s mean?
“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.”
If you’re journaling through these devotions, write down your thoughts about this verse now. Done? It’s easy to think of a few televangelists when I read this passage. They preach with preachy voices, “Lord, Lord,” etc. etc. And then we find out what they’ve been doing in their private lives, and it’s most definitely not God’s will. I don’t think God is too impressed with their words. The next verse even says that Jesus will tell people who did miracles in His name to “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
But let’s not leave it at pointing our fingers at easy targets. This kingdom search is about you and me. So what is God’s will? I think if God wants you to do something specific, He will make it very clear to you. Otherwise, there are general things that we know are in God’s will. We talked yesterday about loving God and others. John, in 1 John 4:19-20, says, “We love because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
The other day I was driving, on my way to a place where I knew I’d be seeing a certain “brother” who is not a believer. I caught myself in the midst of the strangest thought. I was thinking, “What can I do to look loving so I will represent Christ well to him?” I had to laugh at myself. “LOOK loving? Gee, how about ACTUALLY loving him?!”
That’s me getting closer to doing His will. Paul, in Romans 12:2, says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Keep renewing your mind. Keep checking your thoughts. Keep in the word. And you will keep to His will.
Yes, we are saved by faith. But do we have faith if we are not doing God’s will? We’ll make mistakes and need forgiveness. But do we have faith if we’re not even trying? Go back and reread the verse of the day, and then write a kingdom sentence with which to replace your worries today.
*New American Standard Bible translation used with permission from The Lockman Foundation in the paperback version of this devotional.