Matthew 7:13-27 Examined: The Strait Gate and Narrow Way Biblically Defined (Part 2)

There are a number of people in the “Free Grace” movement who teach that to do the “will” of the Father is to simply believe on Christ for salvation. And that good fruit (sanctification) has nothing to do with the “will” of the Father, spoken of by Christ, in Matthew 7:21. I could mention a few names of people who teach as such, but i’ll just mention the most well-known name that i know of. One well-known person of note who teaches as such, is David J. Stewart, who i like and don’t wish to show any disrespect towards. I’m posting this in the spirit of correction (i’ve attempted to contact him through e-mail, but there’s no way to do so. He has no contact info on his website). So, with that said, here’s some of what he said regarding Matthew 7:21 at (www.jesus-is-savior.com):

“Matthew 7:21-23 plainly tells us that those false prophets standing before God in judgment had failed to do God’s will concerning salvation. That’s exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven.” John 6:40 tells us the will of the Father; but first let’s look at another Scripture that is often misunderstood…

1st John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Taken by itself, 1st John 2:15-17 almost seems to teach that salvation requires giving up the sinful world and the lusts of the eyes and flesh to be saved; but that is not the case at all. We read in 1st John 2:17 that whosoever DOETH THE WILL OF GOD abideth for ever. So what is the will of God concerning salvation? I’m glad you asked.

John 6:40 plainly tells us in black-and-white what the will of the Father is to be saved…

John 6:40, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

There you have it… the way of salvation is to BELIEVE on the Son of God. We see Christ in the Scriptures, as Jesus taught in John 5:39…

John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which TESTIFY OF ME.”

The Word of God testifies of Jesus Christ, Who is the incarnate Word (John 1:1-3,14). Jesus’ name is “called The Word of God” in Revelation 19:13. Jesus is precious!”

John 6:40 irrefutably and incontestably proclaims that the WILL OF THE FATHER for salvation is to believe on the name of Jesus Christ. Thus, the false prophets in Matthew 7:21-23 had never trusted upon the Lord.”

It may seem irrefutable and incontestable, but let’s look more closely at John 6:40. I too, used to think that John 6:40 applied as the appropriate definition of how the Father’s “will”, in Matthew 7:21, should be interpreted. But then it hit me one day, that the “will” of the Father, as defined in John 6:40, is not an applicable definition. Here’s why: Using the very same verse (John 6:40), here’s definitive proof that such an interpretation of Matthew 7:21 is not possible. In Matthew 7:21, we see the “will” of the Father spoken of in relation to doing that will:

(Matthew 7:21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Some have concluded, based on John 6:40,  that the “will” of the Father, in Matthew 7:21, has to do with believing on Christ, and therefore, the meaning has nothing to do with doing Christ’s sayings (sanctification). So, instead of the context (verse 24) being looked to for the meaning of verse 21, some look to John 6:40 for the meaning. If this non-contextual interpretation is biblically sound, then the Bible will confirm that conclusion. Let’s carefully read and compare both verses to see if this interpretation is, in fact, valid:

(Matthew 7:21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

(John 6:40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Notice how John 6:40 reads. Is the Father’s “will” that man believes? Or is His “will” that all who believe, may have everlasting life? Notice, in Matthew 7:21, that the Father’s “will” is something that is done by those who shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. But notice, in John 6:40, that what man is to do to receive everlasting life (believe on Christ), is not what the Father’s “will” is specifically about, in the verse. Rather, the Father’s “will” is specifically that all who believe, may have everlasting life (according to the KJV translation). Believing is not what the Father’s “will” is specifically about in John 6:40. The Father’s “will” is specifically about His reaction to faith, not about faith itself. It took me awhile to notice this. When we carefully discern this nuance it becomes clear that the Father’s “will”, in John 6:40, has no connection to Matthew 7:21.

So, what is the proper definition of what the Father’s “will” is, in Matthew 7:21, if John 6:40 is not an applicable definition? As usual, the context has the answer:

(Matthew 7:21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth [4160] the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Just three verses later, we read:

(Matthew 7:24, 25) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth [4160] them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

What sayings was Christ referring to, in Matthew 7:24? Everything He had said previously in chapters 7 and 6, all the way back to verse 2 of Matthew chapter 5, where we see that Christ began to teach His disciples:

(Matthew 5:1, 2) And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

So, to follow Christ by doing His sayings, is to also do the Father’s sayings:

(John 14:24) He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

Christ did the Father’s will perfectly and spoke the Father’s words. So, by extension, believers are to do the Father’s will when they follow Christ by doing what He said:

(Matthew 7:22, 23) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Christ never knew the false prophets who will be rejected instead of welcomed by Him on that day. Christ knows those to follow Him by denying self for His sake and the gospel’s (not for their own sakes. Born again believers know that salvation is by grace):

(Mark 8:34-36) And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

(Matthew 23:12) And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

(Luke 17:10) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

The false prophets will do the opposite of saying they are unprofitable servants. They will expect to be welcomed by Christ into the Kingdom of Heaven because of their “many wonderful works” that they supposedly did in Christ’s name:

(Luke 9:23) And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

(To be continued in the next blog post.)

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This entry was posted in apologetics, Arminianism, Bible, Calvinism, Christian theology, Christianity, faith, free grace, lordship salvation, religion, salvation, soteriology, systematic theology, theology. Bookmark the permalink.

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