This is a question of critical importance. Eternity is at stake. Eternity is at stake for each one of the 8 billion people on the planet. And for every person who has ever lived. And for every person who will ever live. Who will enter the kingdom of heaven?
Too many people have wrong ideas about what it takes to enter the kingdom of heaven. For them, the following verses could be their worst nightmare. Jesus says:
21 “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 in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
Words will not get you there. Simply calling Jesus, “Lord,” or saying all of the things you supposedly did in His name will not get you there. You cannot talk your way in to heaven. The people described in Matthew 7:21-23 talked a good game. But Jesus said that He did not know them. They may have known who He was, but they did not have a personal relationship with Him.
Good works will not get you there. Doing lots of good things will not get you into heaven, either. The people in Matthew 7:21-23 are like people today who go on mission trips or are involved in local ministries, but without a true connection to Christ. They may do lots of good deeds, but Jesus says He does not know them. They do not have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Words and good works alone will not get you there because we are all lawbreakers. In Romans 3:10 the Bible says, “There is none righteous; no, not one.” And in Romans 3:23 we read, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We have all broken God’s law. We are lawbreakers. Lawbreakers do not deserve entrance into the kingdom of heaven. This is a big problem.
To enter the kingdom of heaven, you must know Jesus personally. Just as Matthew 7:23 says that Jesus tells those whom He does not know to depart from Him, the Bible also says that those who know Jesus personally will spend eternity with Him in heaven.
To enter the kingdom of heaven, you must do God’s will: see what Jesus has done and believe in Him. Matthew 7:22 tells us that only the one who does the will of the Father will enter into heaven. John 6:40 says, “For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” The phrase “sees the Son” means seeing that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died on the cross to atone for the sins of people, rose from the dead, and ascended to the Father drawing people to salvation. Believing in Jesus means placing your total trust in Him as your Lord and Savior.
To enter the kingdom of heaven, you must receive the gift of eternal life. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Won’t you receive His free gift today? The cross of Christ provides the way — the only way — to eternal life.
I was recently talking with a lady who is an incredible singer. She has been singing songs in churches for a very long time. People have gotten saved listening to her songs. But once as she heard Matthew 7:21-23 being read, she heard the Lord saying to her, “I never knew you.” The holy fear of God overwhelmed her, and on that day she prayed to God, asking Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of her life. She was gloriously saved! Now, she sings songs to the Lord AND she knows she has an eternal home in heaven.
What about you?