21 Not everyone that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
Matthew 7:21 D-R
It is never about what you say but about what you do. It is simple, straight forward and brutally blunt. Do His will. Put His words into action. Act on what you say, more importantly, act on the Word of God. If not, the Lord our God will order you to depart from Him. He means it.
How often do we try to justify our actions? How often do we indulge in complex, creative, and at times twisted mental exercises in order to justify not following the Word of our Lord? We say to ourselves, “The Lord is merciful. He will forgive me. Look at how He forgave all the sinners in scriptures. He even forgave an adulteress. Surely He will forgive me.” But many who use John 8: 1-30 to justify the Lord’s mercy in their sinning conveniently forget the key words, “Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.” John 8:11. Jesus did not say, “It is alright. I understand, now go your way.” He did not even say. “Try not to sin again.” He specifically said to her, “…sin no more.” It is clear, to the point and unequivocal.
The Lord was not being harsh. He was not being the disciplinarian. In fact, through His directness, He was showing mercy for He knew that if He was not direct He would be guiding a soul into Satan’s camp. He would have failed the adulteress in saving her soul. We are not told whatever became of her. She may have gone on to sin no more; grateful that her life was spared. Or perhaps she may have even decided that she would be more discreet next time she indulged in immoral behaviour. That is her choice. In reflecting on that passage, it is also our choice. The Lord has clearly made His expectations known. He is asking that we act on them. Yet, we place at His feet every excuse imaginable. “Lord, it is what is acceptable these days.” “Everyone does it.” “Times have changed”. “Surely the Lord will not allow all these souls to go to waste.” “Look at all the other good things I have done Lord.” “Let this one pass.” On and on it goes. The Lord listens. The Lord shows mercy. We do it again. The cycle continues. Eventually our time runs out. That is when the Lord says, “…I never knew you: depart from me.”
The Lord is asking for perfection. He is asking us to be genuine. Being genuine is not making up excuses for not following the Lord’s will and teachings. Being genuine means that one will suffer undue hardship and sacrifice to follow the Lord’s will and teachings. There are no ‘Cheat-Days’ in scripture. Every day is a constant battle in overcoming temptations. At times it is also a great sacrifice to do His will through good works and suffering.
Unfortunately, we are constantly fed a ‘dumbed-down self-serving’ version of scripture in our current culture. We are fed a sweet syrupy drivel where we are told that, “… it is OK…the Lord understands”, when in fact it is us who fail, many times knowingly, to understand the Lord and that the Lord means business.
I am sure many will be thinking that I have presented a mean, harsh and narrow minded version of God. I disagree completely with this assessment. Would a parent knowing that their child is willingly and knowingly indulging in self-destructive behaviour not make every attempt to lead their child away from this behaviour? How many times when we were children and our parents admonished us for our misbehaviours did we look at them as mean, harsh and narrow minded, when in fact they were expressing their love for us? It is only when we grew older that we understood that it was out of love and not out of harshness. Unfortunately, many of us also grew up and never matured and still feel our parents were simply being harsh in leading us to the straight and narrow path to God.
Hell is for real…we all need to grow up a little.
Copyright 2016, Luciano Corbo