“Paul, I’m a Christian. I’m worried about that Jesus might reject me even though I call him Lord. Am I doing enough to be saved?”
Are you referring to this scripture: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).
“That’s the one. It terrifies me.”
Let me ask you: who is Jesus talking about? Who are the people who call him ‘Lord, Lord’ but don’t do what he says?
“It’s those who don’t obey him.”
What do you mean by obey?
“We’ve got to keep the commands of God.”
Which ones? The Bible is full of commands.
“All of them.”
Well, you’re going to have a problem because nobody ever kept all the commands except Jesus. The bad news is you can’t keep the commands. The good news is Jesus died to free us from the unbearable yoke of the law. We are no longer under law, but grace.
“But Jesus says the one who hears but does not do is like a man building with no foundation (Luke 6:49). Of course, there is something we must do.”
And what is it?
“We must do everything Jesus said.”
And have you? When your hand led you to sin, did you chop it off? When your eye looked at porn, did you gouge it out?
“Well, no. But Jesus didn’t really mean that…”
Uh-huh. So you pick and choose what you obey. The easy commands you keep, and the hard ones you dismiss.
“Well what do you think Jesus meant when he said we must we must do what he said?”
You want me to tell you the only work that God accepts? “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29). What does Jesus want you to do? He wants you to quit trusting in yourself and trust in him. He wants you to stop relying on your imperfect performance and rest in his perfect work.
“What about the house on the rock?”
The one who hears about Jesus but does not trust him has no foundation. His life is built on sand instead of the solid Rock. When troubles come, he falls because his foundation is himself.
“So Jesus is talking about sinners.”
He’s talking about people who call him “Lord, Lord.” He’s talking about religious people who do good works and talk about God but they don’t actually know him.
Whenever Jesus used the phrase “Lord, lord,” he was talking about people who don’t know him. 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.
“Which is what?”
They haven’t received from him.
“So that’s it? We just have to receive? It can’t be that simple.”
Receiving from the Lord is both easy and hard. It’s easy because all you have to do is receive. You don’t have to produce or perform or prove yourself. But it’s also hard because the flesh is determined to produce, perform, and prove itself. This is why we are repeatedly exhorted to put off the old and walk in the new.
“I dunno. I believe God put me on this earth to do good works. Didn’t Jesus say in John 5 that those who’ve done good will rise on the last day and those who’ve done evil will be condemned?”
So how many good works do you think you must do to be resurrected?
“Um, er… I never thought about it like that.”
Doing good, as God defines it, is believing Jesus. It’s allowing the love of God revealed in Jesus to influence all we do. When you know that the Maker of heaven and earth is for you and that he loves with boundless love, it gives you wings. You take risks and do great things because his creative Spirit empowers you.
“Do what I say,” is not a threat. It’s an invitation to abundant living. It’s the divine call to the life you were made for.
Enjoy this article? Why not sign up to our free email list and we’ll notify you about new articles as soon they come out. No spam, we promise.
Help these conversations of grace and hope reach more people by supporting us on Patreon.