Have you ever been in a relationship where you didn’t really feel like you knew the person? There are some people who you may never be able to connect with on an emotional level. You might socialize with someone, yet never have a deep conversation with them. You can date someone and never feel like you became soul mates. You may regularly have coffee with someone but never learn what is going on inside of their heart.

You might be a person who is more comfortable keeping your relationships on a surface level. I’m the kind of person who wants to have deep relationships. I don’t care how messy it is – I want all of it.

There is a portion of scripture that talks about what kind of a relationship Jesus wants from us and if we take a little time to consider what Jesus is actually saying here it is rather sobering.

 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.  On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’  

But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

Matthew 7:21-23

Wait.  Get away from me?  I never knew you?  You who break God’s laws?  

OK – that’s a little scary. Jesus is saying that some of us who believe we are following Jesus will get to the gates of heaven and the doors will be closed in our face. He’s not talking to to the unbelievers here.  He’s talking to those of us who go to church, go on mission trips, serve the homeless, and lead Bible studies. He’s talking to the people who are doing good things and seeking to follow Him. He’s talking to me and to you. 

Maybe we are taking this out of context?  This cannot possibly be right can it? This is the Jesus who preaches love and grace.  Let’s back up a few verses in the same chapter and see what Jesus said earlier in the conversation.

 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”  

Matthew 7:13-14

Whoa. This is tough.  Jesus is telling us that the doors will actually be closed to many – not just a few.  There is just no getting around this.  These are words straight from Jesus himself.  These verses urge us to examine ourselves to make sure we are in the faith. How can we be sure that we will gain entrance into heaven?

We must ask ourselves – do I know Jesus? Do I know his heart? Do I share my life with him? And do I follow his will?

Our culture today preaches a grace concept, that everything is grace and everything is forgiveness so that very few really bother to face their sin. In fact, we rarely use the word sin at all. Be very careful that you are not buying into a doctrine of “cheap grace”.  Jesus paid a very big price for our sin and He desires that we break free from it.

We do not have the luxury of ignoring what the Bible has to say about personal sin in our lives and then one day hand Jesus the “grace card” when we reach the gates of Heaven.  Look again at what Jesus tells us in verse 21.  He tells us that only those that do the will of God will enter the gates of Heaven.  Anything we do outside of God’s will is – sin.

We’ve got to know the scripture. If we argue with Scripture, if we twist the Scripture, and if we force the Scripture to say what we want it to say we are not doing the will of the Father and we may be a part of the many, not the few.  Jesus died so that we could be free from sin – not free to sin.

At the same time, He knows we will never live perfect lives. We can’t.

When you truly know Jesus you will be sickened when you screw up.  Honestly.  Not just because you may have gotten caught and not just because of what you did – but because it feels like an abuse of His grace and His love. He died so that we would no longer be a slave to sin.  And yet we still choose to sin. How do we wrap our heads around that?  

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  – Romans 8:1

Beautiful. There is no condemnation for those who know Jesus. Jesus knows our hearts and He gives us strength to start new…over and over and over.  When you know Jesus you will naturally desire to follow His will.

It all begins with relationship.  Get to know Jesus through the scriptures and through daily conversation with Him. He wants it all. He wants to spend time with you and He wants to know everything that’s on your heart. He wants to know the messy stuff and He wants to share in the happy celebrations. He wants you to share every worry and concern. He wants you to know Him.  And through it all He asks that you follow His will. The gate is still open.

Falling in love with Jesus will enable you to follow his lead …all the way to the gates of heaven.  It’s not what you do, it’s Who you know.

Photo of an old gate with beautiful handle

Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”  “No, Lord,” she said.  And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

John 8:10-11

Until next time,