The ultimate test a person faces before entering the kingdom of God on the Day of Judgment is not whether he can speak the right words or produce an impressive list of external deeds, but whether he has done the will of God.
Jesus said: “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!’” (Matthew 7:21–23, emphasis added).
But what is the “will of my Father”? Is it doing God’s work or good works in general? No—Jesus himself spells it out clearly in John 6:40: “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” In the context of salvation, then, doing God’s will is simply this: believing in Jesus. That is why Jesus told those who didn’t believe in Him, “I never knew you.”
The Bible makes it clear that we are saved by faith, not by works (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8–9). But it also notes that we are saved to do the Father’s work (Ephesians 2:10)—this is the evidence of salvation.
We have seen how Jesus did the will of the Father throughout His time on earth. It was His driving passion, and it outweighed all His other needs or wants. In the end, He even gave up His life to accomplish His Father’s work. Nothing held Him back.
Jesus is the perfect example of how to carry out the Father’s will—as He said in the short but rich prayer He taught His disciples, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10)—and He expects those who take up His yoke to do the same.
We can see just how important it is to do God’s will from what Jesus said when His earthly mother and brothers came looking for Him in the midst of ministering to people in a house (Mark 3:31–35). Unable to get past the crowd, they asked someone to let Him know that they were waiting outside. Jesus took this opportunity to teach His listeners an important lesson. “Who are my mother and my brothers?” He asked (3:33).
The crowd must have whispered among themselves, wondering why Jesus was treating his own family like strangers. Knowing that the Lord often said unexpected things, they waited to see what He would say next. They were not disappointed; looking around at them all, Jesus remarked, “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (3:35).
While Jesus most likely did welcome His family into the house later—He certainly did not disown them—He had taught an essential lesson about putting on His yoke. It is not just about dutifully attending church, giving tithes, or attending Bible study, but also submitting to God by obeying Him and doing His will.
As part of God’s family, we must share in what Christ did: taking up His yoke and doing the will of the Father. But we need to do this with the right motive and desire, and we need to ensure that it is God’s will we follow—not our own or that of others.
Reflect on your desire to do God’s will. Is it possible to take up Jesus’ yoke unwillingly? How much do you desire to do God’s will? What struggles do you face in doing so?
Excerpted and adapted from Finding Rest For The Soul by Robert Solomon. © 2016 by Robert Solomon. Used by permission of Discovery House. All rights reserved.
God at the Center: Habits for Spiritual Growth
God has called us to a joyful and victorious life in Him. While there’s no formula that delivers the ultimate faith-filled life, He has given us ways to daily strengthen our faith. Activities like talking with Him in prayer, reading the Bible, and serving Him and others lead us one step at a time into a deeper relationship. In God at the Center: Habits for Spiritual Growth, Luis Palau outlines clear steps we can take to build the fundamentals of faith to spiritual maturity.
Read more here.
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