The Father's Will: Devotional Commentary for January 17-23
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us Wisdom and Insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
And Jesus continued:
21Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22Many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
23And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
In last week's meditation, we noted that Jesus issued two important warnings regarding the entrance to heaven and the behavior of some who would deceitfully try to pass through the entrance. He said the entrance that leads to eternal life is narrow and difficult. Only a few would find it. He also added that there will be some who would disguise themselves and try to infiltrate the community of believers. They are ravenous wolves disguised as mild sheep. These, He calls false prophets and promptly warns believers to beware of them.
Jesus now delineates the truth and clarifies the status of false prophets, disguised wolves, and charlatans. Not everyone who merely mentions Jesus' Name or Title shall enter through the narrow Gate. Only those who comply with His Father's Will are welcomed into the company of the faithful, those who do the Father's Will.
What is the Father's Will? Sinners would believe in the One Whom He sent for salvation. This is not a matter of qualifying through right behavior, mature piety, or even a stellar performance. This is a gift of Grace received by faith, and only through faith. Therefore, behavior, wisdom, and performance are the fruit of a transformed life. They are not conditions for redemption. Indeed, the Gate to heaven is narrow.
However, these counterfeit believers and charlatans relentlessly defend their presumptive claims to be the followers of Christ. They shamelessly argue even with Jesus about their worthiness to be in heaven by citing what they allegedly accomplished in the Name of Jesus. They would flaunt the prophecies they uttered, the demons they cast out, and the many wonders they carried out by invoking Jesus' Name. They passionately contend they have earned their way to heaven by virtue of the works they claim to have done, all in the Name of Jesus.
But Jesus, Who thoroughly knows the innermost thoughts and intentions of every human being, would expose their lies and blatant presumptions. He tells them that He never knew them. They were never His. So He would banish them from His presence into eternal damnation because they pursue lawlessness instead of His Father's Will. He would command them to depart from Him. These are not words of commonplace dismissal. They are pronouncements of final judgment: "Depart from me." "I never knew you." Says Jesus: the Gate, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
It is little wonder that Jesus exhorts us to refrain from passing judgment on what others say or do. It is nearly impossible to definitively distinguish between the real disciple and the counterfeit. So we must leave the tare with the wheat until Jesus Himself separates the wicked from the righteous at the Last Days.
In the meantime, Jesus tells us to be careful in our dealings with false prophets who continue to operate in our midst. These are individuals who are well-versed in the knowledge of the Scriptures and master the ways of Christian living. They speak right and behave well. They know the right words to say and the proper activities to undertake. They have the appearance of godliness but their heart is far from God.
They might deceive us because we are mere mortals like them. But they cannot get away from Jesus' omniscience and all-seeing Eyes. Jesus, to Whom all Authority in heaven and on earth is given, would finally expose them at the right time and would relegate them to eternal condemnation.
These false prophets and disguised wolves are condemned not for their words or actions. They speak the right words and perform good deeds. But their heart stands contrary to God's Will. They presume to know better than God. They are poised to earn their way to heaven on their own merit. Their defiant composure reflects their resistance against Christ's finished work on the Cross at Calvary. In their corrupt minds, they ponder they are good enough for heaven. They do not come to God as sinners needing Mercy and Grace. They are judged because they have not done God's Will. They have not come to the only Gate, Jesus Christ. They have gained the world but have lost their lives.