To enter the kingdom of heaven is every Christian’s wish, but what conditions must be fulfilled in order to enter the kingdom of heaven? Many people think that as long as they hold on to the name of the Lord, labor and sacrifice for the Lord, they can be brought into the kingdom of heaven. I also thought so, but later I read the passage in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you, Away from me, you evildoers!’” Outward piety does not represent a heart that magnifies and reveres God. People may frequently explain the Bible to others, but that doesn’t mean that they are able to put the Lord’s words into practice or to follow God’s way.” Jesus Christ never said that one could enter the kingdom of heaven by working hard. Instead, He said, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Fulfilling the heavenly father’s will is applying God’s words, God’s commandments and God’s instructions in one’s own life.
Do you think that you are going to heaven? Jesus’ words in the above passage should be a wakeup call for many of us. One of the things Jesus reveals to us here is that many people have a false confidence that they are going to heaven. NOT everyone who thinks they are going to heaven is really going there. Jesus clearly says here: “NOT everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” This is very clear: Jesus tells us here that not every person who makes what we call a “profession of faith” is really saved. He says there will be people who CALL Him “Lord,” but who will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And in fact, there will not just be a few of these. Notice the word “MANY”, “MANY will say to Me on that day …” Here He says that “MANY” will come before Him, claiming all these “good works” that were supposedly proof of their salvation. So according to Jesus, there will be a LOT of people who THINK they will be in heaven, who will in fact be turned out of there! It is not going to be just a few; He said “MANY.” That should get our attention. Jesus says here that “MANY” will come before Him one day, who have called Him “Lord” here on earth, and who have done certain deeds which caused them believe they were going to heaven, who are NOT genuinely saved. When Jesus says “MANY”, we need to take that seriously. This will happen to “MANY”! You may say “that sounds scary!” Well, honestly, it should be. There is nothing more important in your life than your eternal destiny. And the fact is that without doubt, there are people right now, who think they are going to heaven, who are not going to be there. There are people, who REALLY THINK they WILL— who in fact will NOT!
We need to take this seriously! Jesus says there are “MANY” who have a false assurance about heaven. Why would so many people think they are going to heaven, when they really aren’t? Jesus shows us here a couple of things that people trust in, that He says are NOT necessarily indicators of genuine salvation. Many people believe that because they have come to a time in their life when they have made what we call a “profession of faith” — in other words they have BELIEVED that Jesus is their Lord — that they are saved. Over the years, a lot of people have heard verses like Romans 10:9-10, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” And they think: Well, sure I believe Jesus was resurrected, and I say “Jesus is Lord”, so I must be saved! Or, “I went down to the front of the church one time, and I made a ‘profession of faith’ so I must be saved.” And part of the problem is, too many of our pastors, teachers and church members have told these to people, as long as you have confessed Jesus, you are saved, no matter how you live and what you do. It is as if we think Jesus said “Everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ WILL enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” But that is NOT what He said. He said “NOT everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Just because you have made a “confession of your faith;” just because you SAY Jesus is your Lord, doesn’t mean that He really IS, or that you are going to heaven.
One of the disturbing trends in our society today is this idea that you can be whatever you say you are. But this is not “reality;” it is insanity; it is undoubtedly one of the foremost indicators of the continuing degeneration of our society. And in the same way, it is also true in Christianity. Just because you SAY you are a Christian, does not mean that you really ARE one. Just saying that Jesus is your Savior does not make it so. A “confession of faith” in Jesus as your Lord, is a false hope of salvation unless you really are in fact FOLLOWING Him as your Lord. There will be “MANY”, Jesus says, who have made “professions of faith” who will not be saved. This may be surprising to many. Miraculous evidences in your life do not mean that you are necessarily saved. Look at the examples that Jesus gives and remember HE is giving these examples, not me. Jesus says: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you …’.”
Jesus gives three examples here of people who will claim Him as their Lord, and who will base their assurance of heaven on certain deeds they have done. First He says they will say “Did we not prophesy in Your name?” And He says they will say to Him, “and in Your name cast out demons”, exercising control over supernatural beings. Then He says they will say to Him, “And in Your name perform many miracles.” All three of these things refer to supernatural, miraculous deeds: I told the future, I cast out demons, I performed many miracles. But Jesus says doing miraculous things is not a sure sign of one’s salvation. He said in Matthew 24:24 that in the end times “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” So signs and wonders in and of themselves are NOT a sign of salvation. False religions and false prophets will perform them too! So when someone says, “I know I am going to heaven; I have seen miraculous things; I had a prophetic vision; I spoke in tongues.” Listen, you can’t put your confidence in these things; Satan replicates these same things. Miraculous signs and wonders in themselves are no guarantee that a person is a Christian. There are people in churches all across the world today who are experiencing the supernatural, speaking in tongues, seeing visions, even performing miracles – and all the while thinking to themselves, “I am headed to heaven” — but Jesus says here that He will say to “MANY” who claim these things, “I never knew you”! Miraculous manifestations in your life can be a false basis of assurance, if the two things Jesus show us next, are not also present in your life. So on what basis can we have assurance that we are really going to heaven? Some people assert that “well, you just can’t know.” But I John 5:13 says “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God in order that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.” So the Bible says, yes, you CAN know. And we need to make it clear beforehand: we are NOT made right before God on the basis of the good things we do for Him. We do not earn our salvation. We are saved “by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone”, not by anything good we do. We must understand that. We are NOT saved by our works, but by Jesus’ work on the cross alone. But understanding that, we must recognize the equally vital fact that if we are really justified before God, there will be some signs of it in our lives.
Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruit.” He said, “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.” He said “I will declare to them, “I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who PRACTICE lawlessness.” Jesus says the person who will really be in heaven will not just SAY that Jesus is his Lord; he will SHOW it by the fruit of his life; and here He shows us that this fruit takes at least two forms: 1) the genuine believer will DEPART from lawlessness and sin;2) the genuine believer will DO God’s will. He will obey Him. The one who is genuinely saved will be turning away from sin. Jesus said that He will tell the false professors of faith: “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” In other words, these people SAID that Jesus was their Lord, but they just kept on practicing sin, and disobeying God’s word. I John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” Now when he says “go on sinning” here, he doesn’t mean that we are never going to slip-up and sin. We will all sin until the day we are perfected in heaven. But it means that you cannot just practice sin repeatedly, and not care about it, and not be convicted about it, and not eventually turn away from it with His help. If you are living in continual disobedience to God’s word in some area of your life, you CANNOT have any assurance of your salvation. If you are continually practicing sin, then you can be sure that one day you will hear Jesus say to you: “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
Fruit of genuine salvation is that you will DO God’s will. You will obey Him. Jesus said here, “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.” Those who are genuinely saved won’t JUST SAY that Jesus is their Lord; they will actually DO what He says. That is what “Lord” means. “Lord” means “Master”, “Boss”, “God.” It means that you are committed to DO what He says. That is why Jesus said in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Obeying Jesus is a vital fruit of real salvation. If you are really saved, you will obey Him. You will do what He says. See, in genuine salvation, you don’t just “say a prayer” and “ask Jesus to come into your heart” and then just go on living like you were before. In real salvation, when you realize you were going the wrong way with your life, disobeying God, so you “turn around” (which is what “repent” means) and ask Him to forgive you, and turn to FOLLOW Jesus as your Lord and Master. So if that really happened; it means that you are now following Jesus and DOING what He says. And if you are not doing what He says, it is one of the best evidences that you are not a Christian at all. This is exactly what Jesus says here: “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.” As we saw, just saying that something is so, does not make it so.
In the same way, Jesus tells us here that just putting a label on yourself, “I am a Christian” does not make you a Christian. He says there are certain criteria: “You will know them by their fruits.” And these two fruits are: that you will turn away from sin, and you will obey Him. And if these criteria are not there, you do not belong to Him! There MUST be the fruit of holiness and obedience in a person’s life for them to have the assurance of salvation. Jesus makes it very clear here that just SAYING that He is your Lord doesn’t save you, if it is not backed up by the fruit of your LIFE in holiness and obedience! Now in light of that, will you ask yourself today: “Am I genuinely saved?” Have you publicly confessed Jesus as your Lord and Savior? You do need to have a time when you do that. But even more importantly, have you shown that your profession of faith is real, by actually TURNING away from your sins, and by DOING the will of God? II Corinthians 13:5 says: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” When you test yourself, what do you see? Do you have the fruit of holiness; are you turning away from sin? And do you have the fruit of obedience: you are doing what Jesus says, because He is your Lord. If you have these, even if you are not perfect; you are working on it — then you can have some confidence that your profession of faith was real. But if you don’t, then you do not have any assurance of your salvation; you need to be afraid that you are one of those to whom Jesus will one day say: “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”