“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23
Reading these verses one could be misled by one’s own erroneous interpretation. We could incorrectly assume that we are saved by our own works or even doomed by our own works. Let us clearly understand that our works have never, do not, and will never save us. The Lord makes that clear. For example:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
It is only by God’s grace that He provides the gift of salvation to those who believe on His Son. He uses the mechanism of faith. Since we would have no faith otherwise, He provides us enough faith to believe, but we must use it.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3
What we do with that faith that He provides is up to us. Those who put their faith in Jesus are provided eternal life by His grace. We cannot earn it.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2
“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” Romans 3:27
“Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,” Romans 4:16
The Bible is loaded with Scriptures that clearly tell us we cannot save ourselves by our own works. Salvation can only come by God’s grace. It is a gift to us for putting our faith (which He provides) in His Son.
Okay, now what is Jesus talking about in our introductory passage when referring to works? He is simply saying that any work not of God is a work of iniquity. Works do not save. Salvation is a gift (from God), not a payment for work performed (by us).
Many today, as then, think they’re alright with God. Their good deeds will outweigh their bad deeds; works in other words. If we put all the good works ever performed by all mankind, they would still be pond scum in God’s eyes.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6
Only the works of Jesus Christ on the cross and from an empty tomb can provide us with salvation. Only His shed blood can wash us clean.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18
Now that it is clear that only by grace are we saved through faith and not of works, what about the word “work?” Some folks are scared to death of this word. Those who think God picks who He wants, and then forces them to believe on His Son stay clear of this word. Others lean heavily on works, but we have dealt with this issue and it’s behind us now, I hope.
Jesus Himself stated there is something we must do to be granted the gift of salvation. That something would be following Him. Since we would not do so otherwise, God has planted the faith within us to use in trusting on His Son. Once there, we can use that faith or not use it. Either way you look at it, that is the thing required of us to be saved. Jesus said at least 17 times, if I counted correctly, “Follow me.” That is real belief. That is real faith. Then He says in Matthew:
“For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Matthew 12:50
So what is “the will of my Father which is in heaven?” He has said we must do “the will of my Father which is in heaven.” So what is it? The next verse will tell us the Father’s will.
“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:26-29 (emphasis mine)
Jesus said that believing “on him whom he hath sent,” is thework of God. We must believe, but even yet, we can’t brag, because it’s God’s work. God made it possible for us to cry out, “HELP!” If we call upon Jesus, that’s crying HELP, He will save us. He will reach down and draw us out from the deep waters of sin when we put our whole trust in Him. Otherwise, we drown.
Jesus said more about the Father’s will. Notice the next verse.
“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” John 6:39
That is eternity security. Some call it “once saved, always saved (OSAS). The Father’s will is that none be lost that belong to Him. Is there anyone who is stronger than God? Can our will overpower His? Can Satan overpower His will? Of course not! His will is assured.
God has guaranteed eternal security for those who are truly His.
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30 (emphasis mine)
“and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 1:22 (emphasis mine)
“He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 5:5 (emphasis mine)
“who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:14
The Holy Spirit has sealed and guaranteed our presence with the Lord for eternity for those who put their absolute faith in Him.
It is the Father’s will that we believe on His Son who He sent. However, He has left it open. He will not force anyone to accept His Son. He will provide the faith, but He will not force repentance. He knocks at the door. He doesn’t kick it in.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
For those who do believe on His Son who He has sent, He guarantees our eternal security. (See verses above.)
It is the Father’s will for you to be saved. He’ll guarantee your reservation. His Son bought the ticket. Jesus stands on the platform waiting. You can get on, or remain at the depot. What will it be?