Made & Paid

Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ 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?’ 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 (Matthew 7:21-23).

One of the scariest verses in the Bible is Matthew 7:21-23 where Jesus says, “many will call My name and I do not know them.” They will call My name, yet God the Father and Jesus, His Son will both assert that they have no familiarity with them. “I never knew you,” God proclaims. In other words, they expected to go to Heaven, yet they were denied. Not only did they call out, but they even went on to remind the Lord of what they did on Earth. Here’s their defense: “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?” They fed the poor, gave clothes to the homeless, shared the message of God, and even performed miracles, yet the Lord said “I do not know you! In fact, I NEVER knew you!”

A few weeks ago, I was discussing with several men what would get us to Heaven. As we took turns speaking and pondering on this question, one man responded, “I believe I’ll go to Heaven ’cause I’m a good man. I help others when I can. I’m good to my wife, and yes, I even go to church.” All good attributes to have as a man. As we moved around the circle of men, the last one (let’s call him Adam) got choked up, looked down in shame, and said, “I don’t deserve to go to Heaven. My sin is far greater than all of yours. However, through the forgiveness of my Lord and Savior and His gracious sacrifice on the cross, I have been granted the path to Heaven.”

As we paused to consider his answer, we realized he was actually the only man in the circle to get it right! Men, God doesn’t need our money or talents. In fact, the Bible declares that even our best efforts are only filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). God’s Word is clear; all have sinned and come short of the glory of God! (Romans 3:23). ‘All’ have sinned! Yes, giving to the poor may be a good deed, but deeds won’t get you to Heaven. We are ALL sinners in need of a Savior, and that Savior is the only Son of God: Jesus. He died on the cross for US, the ALL-sinner group!

Moving around the circle of men, some were highly successful, and some were great fathers and husbands. Yet the only one who understood the need for the Savior was the one who understood that ALL sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). The Good News is that Jesus didn’t come to save perfect men. Of which, by the way, there are none besides Jesus. He came to save the lost!

God made us and paid for us! You and I were actually born into sin! Like Adam, we were created by God, our Father! But the sin of Adam has been passed down to us! God, our loving Father, extended His divine plan further by sending His Son to atone for our sins. We cannot earn our way to Heaven, for there is nothing we can do to cover the cost of our transgressions. Nothing we can do will pay the penalty! However, He has accomplished this for us, and when we contemplate the path to Heaven, there is only one way.

One Way: It’s only by the grace of a good, good Father that we are set free. One of the most awesome things about this blessing is that no matter what you have done, God’s grace will cover your sins by just accepting His Son as your Savior! This does not mean doing good things for people is wrong.

If we are not saved, our good deeds may earn us recognition and accolades from others, but these earthly rewards alone cannot grant us access to Heaven. The Scriptures reference crowns as rewards for obedience and virtuous deeds performed on Earth. It’s important to note that these crowns await us in Heaven, but do not serve as a key card to gain access into glory.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10).

However, when we realize we are sinners and fall short of the glory of God, and we accept Jesus as the One who took our sins to the cross, then any good works we create are really God’s because we owe Him everything. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26. We engage in good works not with the sole aim of reaching Heaven, but because we are instruments through which God’s work is carried out. As human beings we become co-heirs of the Creator, participating in His divine plan. Our hearts are changed because of the Holy Spirit in us, wanting to bless others because of the blessings God has shown us. “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25 Yes, as a child of God, the things we do in His name are passed on to Heaven.

So, men stand in AWE that there is NO sin that is bigger than God’s love and grace for you! God sent Jesus for sinners––not saints. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

We didn’t earn this, we were given this out of love, not due to our obedience! He made you and paid for you! Take pride in what He did for you, not what you can do for Him.

Have a great weekend.

RTM, Stephen L. Thomas