Not So Random Thoughts 47

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 “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 will enter. 22 “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?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Romans 9:15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

“God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another—God alone. As long as he is persuaded that he can make even the smallest contribution to his salvation, he remains self-confident and does not utterly despair of himself, and so is not humbled before God; but plans out for himself (or at least hopes and longs for) a position, an occasion, a work, which shall bring him final salvation. But he who is out of doubt that his destiny depends entirely on the will of God despairs entirely of himself, chooses nothing for himself, but waits for God to work in him; and such a man is very near to grace for his salvation. (Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will)

From the text in Matthew 7:13-23 we can see that there are far fewer Christians than those who profess to be Christians. The gate is narrow and the path is narrow that leads to life, and there are but few who find it. On the other hand, out of those who profess to be on that path there is a wide gate and a broad path and there are many on it and it leads to destruction. Then we have the false prophets who deceive themselves and others. It would certainly appear from this passage that people should not be careless as to their eternal destinies. We can see in verses 21-23 that people are greatly deceived and will be deceived right until the moment of final judgment. They will even argue with God. However, their deception does not mean that they are not correctly seen and judged by God. There is no arguing with Him even if one is sincere and one is earnest.

Now, first of all we should keep the context in mind. There are many on the broad road who entered through a wide gate. They were deceived about this broad road and wide gate, and in fact they appear to be shocked at judgment day. When the text tells us that not everyone who calls Him Lord and perhaps calls upon Him by that name will enter the kingdom, this is a powerful truth that should shake people up. Many will argue against that and quote Romans 10:9-10 as proof.

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation

If we look carefully at the text, we see what people are saying. One must confess Jesus as Lord. However, the text also says that one must believe from the heart. It is not a matter of simply saying the words, but the words must express a true belief of the heart. 2 Corinthians 4:13 teaches the same thing: “But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe, therefore we also speak.” The words must come from a heart of belief or the words are a lie. One cannot just say that Jesus is Lord but Jesus must in fact and reality be Lord in that person’s heart. Oh, some will say, but that means that you are putting works in there and so salvation is not wholly of grace. No, that is simply far from the truth. It simply means that the person has a changed heart and nature by grace and Christ is the person’s Lord by grace as well.

What we must have driven into our hearts by the Spirit of God is that holiness and obedience come from Christ and are not in order to move Him to save us. We are saved for good works (Eph 2:8-10) and not saved by them. As Christians we are called to true holiness as a result of being justified by grace alone and called from the kingdom of darkness and put into the kingdom of the Beloved Son. We are not called to do works in order to obtain salvation. The true Christian will be holy and will do good works out of love for God and not as a way to obtain salvation. Therefore, this text is not teaching us how man may enter the kingdom, but instead the passage is telling us those who already have the kingdom in their hearts. The life of Christ in the soul (kingdom of Christ) moves a person to love God and true holiness, but it never leads them to earn salvation. This shows us that those who are not doing the will of the Father do not have Christ in truth. This is a solemn truth.

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