21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Matt 7:21-23 (NIV)

Our Lord gives us an important red flag in our verses for today – it is not by our words – however religious or pious they may sound - or by our works – however righteous, gracious or good they may appear - that secures a right relationship with Him rather it is by His grace which changes our hearts as we freely relinquish our will into His hands. Anything ultimately good done in a life is from Jesus. We can call Him “Lord” all day long and perhaps even use His great Name for the miraculous yet remain hardened in our hearts and estranged from Him. Scripture gives us an example of this in Acts where seven sons of Sceva - a Jewish priest - invoked the Name of Jesus over the demon possessed and received quite a whipping:

13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 [One day] the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. Acts 19:13-16 (NIV)

When one calls Jesus “Lord” yet consistently does not do what He says, is He really their “Lord”? Our outward expressions and acts of presumptuous pride - particularly for personal gain – does not equate to obedience. God even used a donkey to speak a word to direct a misguided prophet! Remember as well, Judas drove our demons yet he was doomed for destruction. Anyone can say “Lord” but that does not make Him such in our lives if we staunchly refuse to make Him our Master. Unless we know Jesus experientially through a personal relationship, we have no part in the Kingdom of God. Jesus presents this question to us in Luke:

46 “Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46 (NIV)

Seriously, do we really think we can fool Him? God knows the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. We hide nothing from Him. Our resistance in allowing Him to be the Master of our lives only brings us harm.

13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Heb 4:13 (NIV)

He, who surely has our best interest at heart, knows and loves us completely. He can certainly be fully trusted with our lives and with the lives of those we love. He seeks broken and contrite hearts that are willing to look up and take Him at His Word. He desires and deserves our total trust. King David tells us:

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalms 51:17 (NIV)

God is not looking for a mere outward ritualistic relationship with His children rather inward obedience – as their desire, not as their burden. Micah gives us a wonderfully succinct definition of God’s requirements for His children:

8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NIV)

“Now this is His will, that we believe in Christ, that we repent of sin, that we live a holy life, and that we love one another. This is His will, even our sanctification.” Matthew Henry

“Sanctification is a life of Christ-centered choices, made evident in loving obedience to God.” Mel De Peal

Our being just is the way of loving mercy and demonstrates a proper humility before God Who was and is freely merciful to us while yet broken sinners. We love because He first loved us.

“Living for Jesus, a life that is true. Striving to please Him in all that I do. Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free. This is the pathway of blessing for me. Living for Jesus Who died in my place, bearing on Calvary, my sin and disgrace. Such love constrains me, to answer His call, follow His leading and give Him my all. Living for Jesus, wherever I am. Doing each duty in His holy name. Willing to suffer affliction or loss. Deeming each trial a part of my cross. Living for Jesus, through earth’s little while, my dearest treasure, the light of His smile. Seeking the lost ones, He died to redeem. Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.” Thomas O. Chisholm

Never be afraid to live for Jesus. Never be ashamed to live for Jesus. Never be apathetic in living for Jesus. Be committed. Anne Graham Lotz

What I Glean

  • It is not by my words or even by my works – though important – that I am saved. It is His grace alone through Christ alone.
  • My obedience demonstrates my love for the Master.
  • God does not desire a ritualistic relationship with His children rather one of love.