” “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 in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be a wise man who built his house on a rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell – and great was its fall!”
Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”
Jesus makes it very clear that all He has taught us thus far is not just nice to hear, it’s how he expects us to act. Acting as he told us since verse 5:21 is the foundation of our faith. It is not enough to believe in God. We have to let God transform our lives, otherwise when trials come we will fall.
Honestly, these verses are hard to reconcile with the common teachings that the path to salvation is simply to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. The end. Which isn’t wrong, and is, in fact, very Biblical. But I think we misinterpret what it means to accept Jesus. It is not as simple as saying “He existed, I believe the things he said are true.” It has to transform your life. It has to change the way you act, feel, talk, everything. If you’re not even attempting to change your ways, you aren’t really accepting Jesus’s words as truth. Because if you really believe something is right, don’t you do it?
The path to Heaven is not through works. After all, the folks in verse 22 did good works. The path to Heaven is through belief. HOWEVER, works are a result of a changed heart. As Paul said, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” James 2:26. It means faith without works isn’t really faith. It’s a shallow understanding of belief, not true acceptance.
However, as verse 22 shows, works alone are no good either. Good works without faith are worthless because they are not driven by God’s will.
Boy, do we need Jesus’s guidance every day! Without Him we would be so lost.