“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.” Matt. 7:21
This is such a profound scripture to me in my life, as is the parable of the 10 virgins (Matt 25). I believe that true truth-seeker and an honest, sincere believer who claims to want to follow God owes it to God to humbly ask him to show them how to meet his standard, not live by our own. So let’s get to the question, “What IS the will of the Father and how do we know if we have extra oil for the bridegroom should he be late?”
Many think that doing Father’s will is summed up by keeping his commandments and with good reason. The scripture in John says, “If you love me, you will keep My commandments,” (John 14:15). So let’s start with the commandments.
Exodus 20:8-11 as part of the 10 Commandments given by God to Israel, it says starting in verse 8:
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God…11For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
So far so good? Let’s flip over to Mark 2:23.
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”
27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Now, did Jesus keep the commandment? Was he obedient to the law as the Pharisees were keeping? Was he following the strict interpretation of God’s will? He pointed to the behavior of David as if to say, two wrongs make a right, didn’t he?
So, I think we can safely say that Jesus broke the law of the Sabbath and the Church’s mandate to rest on the Sabbath by working to pick grain. He also was accused of the same by performing ministry on some, also on the Sabbath.
Let’s stop there. We have God saying, “Keep my commandments,” and many of us will say that doing my Father’s will means keeping his commandments, and maybe to you that is how you enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet at the same time we see Jesus not keeping one of God’s commandments. So, where are we at?Jesus didn’t love God? Jesus isn’t in the kingdom of God? No, the only result is that keeping commandments gets one to heaven is false conclusion. It is wrong to assume that following the rules will help you enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
God says first, if you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15). Said another way, keeping his commandments is a way of showing you love God. It calls us to first love God and then, it says, you will keep my commandments. So following the rules comes after you have relationship with God. And what is love if not relationship. So we can safely say, if you are relationship with Him, you will want to keep His commandments. And isn’t that so true. Unless, relationship sets us free from certain rules as well. It seems it does because Jesus modeled that freedom, didn’t he? If we are in relationship with someone, won’t we care about what they care about? Won’t we want to do what they ask us to do? What if Jesus knew that and knew that God didn’t want anyone going hungry even if that meant no doing a little work on the Sabbath in order to eat?
Now, let’s go back to the scripture and read it all the way through this time: Matt 7:21-23.
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Pay attention here! At the end He said, “I never knew you.” Think about that. “I never knew you” means, there was no relationship and no relationship = no love. Relationship with rules does not = relationship with God and didn’t Jesus just prove what He loved more; the Sabbath or God? Yes! He proved He Loved God more. His life and ministry proved it.
And going on with Mark 2, Jesus is saying that some of us are in deluding ourselves because we think we are worthy of the kingdom, but he says some who think they are, actually are not going to get into the Kingdom at all because they had no relationship with Him. Some are confusing rules with relationship.
Then Jesus says what I think is particularly germane to this article, when he says, “but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven,” is who will go to heaven.
So once again, to summarize, doing the will of the father = having relationship with him. It’s more than just keeping the rules.
Do you think his Sabbath violation makes Jesus unrighteous, a hypocrite and/or flat out wrong for violating his own standard of “doing this Father’s will? Not likely and here’s why. Back at Matt. 7:21-23:
Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Remember the scripture, you will know them by their fruit?
How many of us would look at prophesying correctly and driving out demons and the performance of not just a few miracles, but many miracles, as an example of good fruit? I thought so!
And what did Jesus say to these demon casting, prophesying, miracle makers? He said, “Get away from me, I never KNEW you.” These were pretty amazing people doing all these supernatural things and he never knew them? How is that even possible? If those works don’t get you to heaven, what does?
If you want to enter the Kingdom of God, doing the Father’s will is demonstrated by getting to know him, not keeping rules. Keeping his rules comes out of relationship and wanting to do things that please God BECAUSE you love him, not BEFORE YOU LOVE HIM, and more importantly, not SO HE WILL LOVE YOU.
What I see the some churches is a set of believers that have more relationship with the rules than the Ruler. They start with the rules not the Ruler. In fact you might as well rewrite the scripture to say, “Keep my commandments if you love me.” Failure in the some church denominations leads to discipline and even expulsion because the church is in relationship with the rules. For them, getting right before God means getting right with the rules. But true restoration of the believer comes when we return them into a right relationship with the Father and as just as Jesus proved, out of that kind of relationship comes obedience to the rules. These churches have it exactly backwards. They say, get clean and then you can go to the temple and go to God when Jesus taught, Go to God and he will make you clean and you will want to stay clean just as a small way of showing how you love him.
If you want good fruit, get to know him. If you want to have enough oil for your lamp for the bridegroom’s visit, get to know him. If you want to enter the Kingdom of God, get to know him!
Know him! Know him! Know him! And when you really KNOW the Father, all the rules, doctrines (like keeping the Sabbath) pass away and we’re simply left with knowing him. Anyone who wants to please him, must be in relationship with him, and those that are in relationship with him, love him. And loving him, is knowing him and this is how you enter the Kingdom of God.