Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Narrow Door

I've recently finished Erasing Hell by Francis Chan. It got me thinking about some of the more challenging passages of the Bible. One particularly challenging passage really concerns me. It's what Jesus says in Matthew 7: 
“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. 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?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"
Does that not terrify you? You can prophesy, drive out demons and perform miracles, all in the name of Jesus, and he can still say he never knew you. He will say you were an evildoer. Am I a person that is just saying, 'Lord, Lord' yet not doing the Father's will? It may appear on the surface that I am doing the right things, in Jesus' name, but is it meaningless?

Something similar is recorded in Luke 13:
Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 

“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
Am I like the people who will say, 'But Jesus, I was there. I was with you.'? The result of both passages is horrific. These people will not enter heaven, and the alternative is dreadful.


These verses seem to go against what I've been taught: the way to heaven is to say Jesus is 'Lord, Lord' and to do all the miracles and prophesying and stuff. The Message versions of these passages are really helpful. There is obedience involved and not half-hearted, self-indulgent, look-at-how-good-I-am, obedience; the obedience is total and sincere. It's the faith that James talks about; one that isn't hollow and empty, but full of life. I suppose it all comes down to this:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Quick Questions
  • Do you find these passages as scary as I do?
  • Can you see yourself amongst the people who say "But you know me. I was there. I did things for you?" (I certainly can see myself there sometimes.)
  • What passages trouble you?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, they do scare me!
    Hopefully this doesn't make me sound holier-than-thou but we have met lots of people in the last year or two through college etc. who have made these verses more real to me. They call themselves Christians but seem to have completely missed Jesus out of the equation.
    The very fact that the verse scares us probably indicates that we're on the right track though!

    ReplyDelete

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