Let Me In!
Here’s what you don’t want to happen.
You show up at heaven’s door and God says “I never knew you. Depart from me . . .”
But what if you spent your whole life speaking God’s name to other people, doing good deeds and trying to fight evil?
According to scripture, Jesus says that just because you do all of these things, it does not mean you are guaranteed a place in heaven.
He puts it like this:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.”
“What then,” you ask, “is it going to take for me to get in?”
“only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven [will enter the kingdom].”
It really is not enough for us to just go through the motions. There isn’t a master checklist that we can follow that will get us in.
You see, we can only do the will of the Father if we actually know the Father. If we are in relationship with God, then we will know what his will is—or at least have a good idea so that we can follow it.
Primarily, the Father’s will, simply put, is love.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. In the Book of Isaiah (Chapter 29, Verse 13-14), which, in terms of time is pre-Incarnation (before Jesus was born of Mary), we can see that God’s consistent message to his people has always been the same:
“Since this people draws near with words only and honors me with their lips alone, though their hearts are far from me, and their reverence for me has become routine observance of the precepts of men, therefore I will again deal with this people in surprising and wondrous fashion . . . .”
What is he saying? If you want to get into heaven, lip service doesn’t cut it. Your actions must be connected to your heart for God. If you go about doing good, that’s a start, but if your heart is far from God and you just go through the motions, you will be quite surprised when the time comes for you to meet your maker. You may just find him saying, “I never knew you.”
Now clearly, none of us wants that to happen! So now is the time, starting today, to do an interior examination and sort out whether what you have been saying and doing has been done out of love, or whether that checklist is the motivation.
Don’t forget Julian (see Julian, What Were You Thinking?).
God wants to be in relationship with us. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us because he had to. He died so that we would be saved and because he loves us. The Father wants all of his children to be with him in heaven.
I suppose you could argue that the death of Jesus on the cross leaves nothing for us to do. We’ve been saved. It’s a done deal. But scripture indicates otherwise.
Let’s take a closer look at the gospel. Matthew again, Chapter 7, Verse 20:
“So by their fruits you will know them.”
The love that we practice is the fruit of our relationship with God. It is love in action. It is the work of every disciple. It is the name by which God will know us.