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Eternity 115 - The Kingdom Of Heaven And The Will Of God

(Matthew 7:21 NKJV) "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

(Romans 10:13 NKJV) For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."

At first these two verses seem to be in direct logical contradiction. Surely people saying "Lord, Lord" are calling upon the name of the Lord? Surely then they must be "saved" according to Romans 10:13? But Jesus declares that they are not saved unless they do the will of God? Is that "works salvation? This apparent contradiction flows from a common but very superficial reading of the text. The resolution is found in the nature and person of God.

You cannot fool God. Crying out "Lord, Lord" and putting on a religious appearance yet with no repentance and no intention of real obedience will not fool the Almighty and All-Knowing God. Faking salvation is not the same as "calling upon the name of the Lord", it is spiritual trickery.

Salvation is not a formula of words or a one-off prayer that guarantees eternal bliss and forever forgiveness if you spend five minutes with your head bowed before an obliging preacher. Madonna is said to have prayed such a prayer at one point along with quite a few other celebrities whose lives do not reflect the nature of Christ. Salvation is clearly conditional on real repentance which requires the genuine intention to live a changed and obedient life. Attempts to buy eternal security through good acting are doomed to failure.

Yet the truly penitent person is saved in an instant without the necessity of any good works. The penitent is saved just by calling on the name of the Lord. But once saved and made new and now born-again they will then go on to live the righteous and holy and changed life that is the fruit of their repentance.

A person who prays the prayer but does not live the life is probably not being truly penitent. If they truly wanted a changed life - why has this not occurred? Why are there no fruits of repentance? Why no evidence of a new nature? If there are no works it is likely that there is no spiritual life either. No works means that the spiritual life is probably dead, not moving, not quickened by the spiritual pulse of Christ within them. (James 2:26 NKJV) For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Lets look at the full context of our topic verse in Matthew 7:
(Matthew 7:15-29 NKJV) "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. {16} "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? {17} "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. {18} "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. {19} "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. {20} "Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
{21} "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. {22} "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' {23} "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
{24} "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: {25} "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. {26} "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: {27} "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
{28} And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, {29} for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

The saved person is not a "ravenous wolf" with a greedy inner nature or a spiritual fake trotting out snake-oil and miracles for large donations. Rather they live an obedient life founded on the rock of diligent constructive doing of the commands of Christ. They regard Jesus as a true and relevant authority over them. That is what it means to have Jesus as Lord and to truly "call upon the name of the Lord".

The kingdom of Heaven cannot be entered by charm, con-artistry, salesmanship or good acting. The fake miracle-workers, junk exorcists and snake-oil salesmen with circus tents (or TV shows) and big offering bags can cry "Lordy. Lordy, Hallelujah" all they like but they will not make it into the Kingdom of Heaven. A ravenous and greedy nature cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

The humble penitent who desperately wants a changed life and cries out to God for salvation will be heard in an instant, forever and receive a new, imperishable heavenly nature from God. Such a person, who desires a righteous nature, will be saved. All of those who call on God to be made utterly new and live life the Jesus way - will be saved. And their new nature will show in new works and the fruits of repentance. By their fruits you will know them.

(By the way no offence is meant to genuine charismatic or Pentecostal Christians (of which I am one) or any implication that miracles and exorcism are not for today. However there are false miracles and pretenders and it is these that Jesus condemns.