Word and Deed


Word and Deed
Matthew 7:21–23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord,
Lord,’ will enter the
kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my
Father who is in
heaven” (v. 21).

Dr. James Montgomery Boice has
pointed out the special irony of Jesus’ warning
about the wolves in sheep’s
clothing (Matt. 7:15) when we consider it within
the context of modern
academia. We often refer to diplomas as “sheepskins”
because that is the
material on which such diplomas were originally printed.
Today, many with
“sheepskins,” or higher-level degrees, are teaching rank
error in our
colleges and seminaries. These are clear instances of wolves
speaking with
the “respectability” of the sheep (The Gospel of Matthew, vol.
1, p.

Those who teach falsehoods usually have no desire to follow God’s
Word and
care little if Scripture endorses their positions. We will probably
not be
taken off guard on judgment day when Christ banishes such
individuals. However, today’s passage warns us that some will be
when many who appear to be believers are barred access to glory on
that day.
Not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord” will enter the kingdom of
heaven (vv.

This teaching should instill within us a healthy
fear and trepidation. It is
possible to do great works in our Savior’s name
and to assent to His Lordship
without really trusting Him for salvation. The
people in today’s passage have
a false assurance of their Christian faith.
They know the right things, but
they have not done the right things. Their
faith is dead, for their works are
not done in obedience to Jesus (James
2:14–26). John Chrysostom says that we
may claim to know the Lord, but we
“derive no benefit as long as the actual
fruits of good living are not
present” (Homilies on the Gospel of Saint
Matthew, 23.7).

Of course,
this does not mean we are saved by our works. Jesus tells us God’s
belongs only to those who recognize their poverty of spirit (Matt.
which involves abandoning any effort to earn the Creator’s favor and
casting of oneself wholly upon His free grace (Rom. 4:1–8).
God’s grace is not cheap. We do not have faith if we confess
Him as Savior
without doing what He says in the Sermon on the Mount. The
ancient Israelites
were fools to trust in the presence of the Temple to
protect them (Jer.
7:1–29). Likewise, we are fools if we trust in our
profession without
repenting of our sin and doing what Jesus

Coram deo: Living before the face of
God knows we will never be
perfect in this life, but He does expect us to grow
in faith and increasingly
conform to Christ by loving our fellow Christians,
understanding true
doctrine, and following His precepts (1 John 3:23–24).
Those whose lives
increasingly reflect such things can be sure that they do
not profess Jesus
falsely. Let today’s passage prompt you to take a “spiritual
Where have you seen growth? Where do you need to be more obedient?

further study:

Proverbs 20:6

The Bible in a year:


For the weekend:

Joshua 9–12

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