Thursday, December 1, 2011
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21)
“But the person who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
Today’s gospel text is the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount. In this very same gospel passage we are told how to get on the other side of the Pearly Gates. Jesus tells us that the ones who make it through are not the lip-servers but the doers of the Father’s will. Not our own will or the will of men, but God’s will. St. Pimen the Great said, "Our will is like a wall of brass between us and God, preventing us from coming near to Him or contemplating His mercy." And what exactly is the Father’s will? The will of the Father is that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and Jesus will raise them up on the last day (John 6:40). All you have to do is believe. Jesus said, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these. (John 14:12). So if you believe in Jesus you ought to do the works he did, and even greater ones. The hard part is that you have to back up your faith with deeds, and not just any deeds, only the good works approved by the Lord.
What are the deeds approved by the Lord? How do we follow in Jesus’ footsteps? Not all of us can bring physical healing to the blind, lame, mute or deaf. But we can surely open people’s eyes and ears when we are merciful, and forgiving towards them. Not holding on to anger but rather quickly settle matters with our adversaries and praying for those who hate us. When we strive to live in purity forsaking evil desires we come a step closer to the Lord. When we refrain from passing judgements on others we spare ourselves from the wrath of God. When we give to those in need, we advance the kingdom of heaven. When we live a life of prayer and thanksgiving our vats and our barns will overflow with the Lord’s goodness. When we render our services for the community at large we please our Heavenly Father. And when we surrender our worries, anxieties and cares to the Lord, we let him accomplish his will in our lives.
Many times I’ve heard people quote Romans 10:13, which says that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” but the Lord says, not everyone who says to me Lord! Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, so what does it mean? It simply means that the ones preaching Roman 10:13, have left out verses 9 and 14 which clearly states that you have to believe in Jesus and again “faith without deeds is useless” (James 2:20). Be careful who you listen too, least you be found standing at closed doors with a voice that says, “I never knew you.” Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness (2 Timothy 2:19). Say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions. Get rid of hatred, envy and malice… unless our righteousness surpasses that of the ungodly, we will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20). The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7) is the blueprint of our spiritual house. If we do not pay heed to these instructions, then our foundation and our construction will never withstand any storm, and we will have a great downfall! However when we abide by these, no matter what trails, oppositions and hardship the Christian life brings, through it all we have the promise that Jesus is with us always and forever.
“Lord Jesus, I thank you for providing me with all the tools and materials I need to build my spiritual house. Help me dear Lord, to stick to your blueprint so that this dwelling may have a rock solid foundation in your promises.”