“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
Romans chapter ten verse nine says this, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Many have taken these words in isolation from their immediate context and without consideration for other passages, like our focus text, and have derived a teaching that purports that all that’s necessary for salvation is a verbal assent to all that the Bible says regarding Jesus being our Savior. This is spiritually dangerous because it gives people the understanding that little is required of them when it comes to cooperating with what God is doing as he continues to work upon their hearts.
I believe that part of the problem is that too much we study salvations two major components, justification and sanctification, in isolation of each other never considering that these are in fact not two experiences. They’re so intimately integrated within one another that they are a single complex experience. Yes, it may be helpful for our mental processing to think about them separately but they are still in fact intertwined together as one working process; the process of salvation.
Justification is that part of salvation where the plan is begun for us. We believe in and accept Jesus as our Savior receiving his forgiveness for our sin. Sanctification is that part where we cooperate as God, through the inner working of the Holy Spirit, changes our thoughts, motives and behaviors transforming our characters so that once again they reflect the divine image.
Our focus text, together with the verses and chapters surrounding it, make it very clear that our cooperative participation in the salvation process is required for us to enter the kingdom of heaven. Obedience to the instructions of scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit as they harmoniously guide us into a godly life is a requirement for entrance into the reward of the redeemed.
Salvation isn’t something we wait for. Today God is working to set us free from the bonds of sin and waywardness. Today God is laboring to restore his image in us and he begins by reforming our hearts, minds, and thoughts. As these change it will be evidenced by accompanying changes in our words and actions. When we hold onto what Jesus is asking us to let go of and refuse to add to our lives those graces that he would have us receive we give evidence that we are, in fact, refusing his salvation. This refusal, if unrepented of, bars us from entering through heaven’s doors.
O friend, let Jesus work his salvation in your life. Allow him to transform your heart into an image of his own. Let him write in the pages of your heart and the testimony of your actions that writ that will be your passport through heavens gates.