I had a terrifying experience as a teenager. I had traveled with a good friend’s family to visit some of their friends. Her dad was a preacher and had been asked to speak at a revival. While there, the daughter of these friends woke me up in the middle of the night. Apparently, we were the only two left in an empty house; everyone else had disappeared.
Growing up in an independent Baptist church and hearing lots of preaching about end times, the thought occurred…had we missed the Rapture? Like I said, it was terrifying! Thankfully that turned out not to be the case, but I will never forget those few minutes of panic. There were some serious moments of self-discovery and introspection about my spiritual condition!
Do you ever wonder if you’ve done enough to “get into heaven?” Today’s scripture led me to ponder this question because I imagine most of us have had that thought. Let’s go ahead and answer it:
We can NEVER do enough to get ourselves into heaven!
Matthew 7 completes the record of Jesus’ teaching on the mount. He calls out the hypocritical tendencies that reside in our human nature (seeing the sin of others but failing to recognize our own sin) and reminds us not to be judgmental of one another. Instead, we are to rely on God for the strength and wisdom (ask, seek, knock) to treat people the same way we want them to treat us.
Jesus then bookends His message with more truths about salvation. He warns us that there are people in the world who will profess to be His followers, but in reality, are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They may even perform what appears to be miracles (Satan has spiritual powers, after all), but the fruit they produce will expose them. In the end, God will not allow them to enter into heaven.
Matthew 7:21 – 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.
How do we know we’ve done the will of the Father? If doing His will is what allows us to go to heaven, I want to know! Jesus makes it clear in other scriptures.
Matthew 12:50 – For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.
John 6:28-29 – Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.
John 6:38-40 – For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.
God’s will is that we believe in the One He sent, Jesus. Those who try to enter by any other way are thieves and robbers (John 10:1). There is no other name given by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). We cannot “do” enough; we must believe in what Jesus did on the cross.
A false prophet is someone who teaches (or believes) in anything other than Jesus. Christianity, or faith in Christ, isn’t “one of many ways” to God; He is the only way (John 14:6).
God’s will is that everyone who “beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life.” God wants you to believe. He has done everything necessary for salvation, and He has made it possible for us to hear the gospel. The only thing left is our response. We can express a sincere belief in Jesus by repenting of our sins and surrendering to Him as Lord, thereby receiving forgiveness and salvation (Romans 10:9,10). When we leave this world and meet God face to face, we will hear those precious words, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). Or we can go on in our unbelief, on the broad way to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14), and instead hear the terrifying judgment against us, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
Please notice – the eternal fire Jesus is talking about (hell) was not made for you and me but was prepared for the devil and his angels. God does not desire that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Have you done enough to get into heaven? The answer is, “Have you believed in Jesus?”