On four occasions, Jesus spoke about people who would cry out “Lord, Lord” yet not be received into his kingdom. Who are these people and what have they done, or not done, to find themselves on the wrong side of Christ?
First, note that Jesus is NOT talking about believers. Whenever Jesus used the phrase “Lord, lord,” he was talking about people who don’t know him:
- In Matthew 7:21 and 22, “Lord, Lord” is the plea of the self-righteous who brag about all they’ve done for the Lord only to find their works count for nothing.
- In Matthew 25:11, “Lord, Lord” is the cry of the foolish and locked out virgins.
- In Luke 6:46, “Lord, Lord” is said by those who have not built on the solid foundation.
- In Luke 13:25, “Lord, Lord” is uttered by those who refuse to enter the narrow door.
What do these Lord-Lord folk have in common? Jesus doesn’t know them. They may claim to prophesy and cast out demons, but Jesus calls them evildoers. They may be busy “working for the Lord” but it’s all dead works because they haven’t done the one thing that matters.
They have not received from the abundance of his grace.
Instead of putting their faith in Christ, they’ve backed themselves. Instead of resting in his work, they have wearied themselves with hard labor. And the result? Dung.
Which reminds me of something that happens whenever I travel.
When you enter New Zealand, you can expect the customs people to look at your shoes. They want to know if you have been walking in places exposed to dirt and disease. It’s fanciful, but I like to imagine that’s how we enter the kingdom of God. At the door are two big angels checking our shoes. They want to know if we’re walking in grace or dung.
“Eww, you stink of dead works. Go stand over there with the other smelly people.”
“But I’ve done so much for Jesus.”
“Yeah, we can tell.”
That’s not what I want to hear. I’d rather hear something like this.
“Hey Gary, smell this guy.”
“Whoa, he smells just like Jesus!”
“I know, right. Mm-mmm, I could smell him all day. Look at him. He’s just dripping in the grace of God. Come right in, sir. We’re thrilled you’re here.”
I know, it’s a crazy picture. But I’d rather bear the fragrance of his life-giving grace than the stench of dead works.
“Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God… an aroma redolent with life.” (2 Cor 2:15, MSG)
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