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residential qualies

“… (1) Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, (2) but the one who does the will (Greek thelema = the desire) of my Father who is in heaven. (3) On that day (4) many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And (5) then (6) I will say again to them, (7) ‘I never knew you; depart from me, (8) you workers of lawlessness.’…” Matthew 7: 21-23
 
I would recognise Her Majesty the Queen at any time – and address her as “Ma’am”. But she doesn’t know me. Before I could qualify to reside at Buckingham Palace for ever, I would need her to know me personally. How do I achieve that?

Jesus wanted to alter perceptions about residential qualifications. But what did he really mean when he spoke the words in bold above to his disciples and to the crowd of people listening to him around AD 27? 

(1) At its most simple the first statement is addressed to folk who, expecting to enter heaven, say to Jesus “Lord, Lord”. Among those some – but not all – will enter. To state allegiance to Jesus, to Christianity, or to Church is therefore not a sure way of entering heaven. What is?

(2) The sure way of being within the kingdom of heaven, according to Jesus himself, is actually to do the will of his Father who is in heaven. Are you actually doing that? In fact, what exactly is “the will (the desire) of my Father who is in heaven”? What do you think? Whatever it is, it’s the qualification.

(3) Jesus then asked his audience to think about what their position would be “on that day”. That’s probably the day, after death, when human beings will be judged by Jesus. 
 
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‘If we seek God for our own good and profit, we are not seeking God.’ (Meister Eckhart, German theologian, 1260-1328)
(4) It seems that, “on that day”, many – yes, many – will repeat the words that they have been saying on earth to Jesus: - “Lord, Lord”.  Their question will be “did we not”. From that it seems that they are already aware of their rejection. They plead their own clear record of the things they did, on earth, “in his name”. Wonderful things: things highly beneficial to others; preaching; freeing people from their “demons”; many great deeds. All “in his name”.

(5) How “then” (at that time and in that place) will things proceed? 

(6) The decision of Jesus – “then” – will be (in his own words) “said again”, repeated. Some of these “many” who have named him “Lord, Lord” on earth and who remind him “in that day” of all their good deeds “in his name” will hear that they are to “depart from” him. Why?

(7) The first reason is because he “never knew” them. “I never knew you.” It’s not that they didn’t know him. It’s that he didn’t know them. He re-states this using the past tense of the verb ‘to know’. His meaning therefore seems to be that it was in the past - when some of these “many” were on earth - that he “never knew” them then. Did not each one of them, on earth, know that Jesus did not know them?

(8) The second reason is that, according to Jesus, they had been, on earth, “workers of lawlessness”. What do you make of that? How can that be the case when they are claiming to have done “in his name” so many wonderful things for others? 

To help you with this (maybe), please note that, in the Greek copies of Matthew’s biography available to us, he uses the word (anomia) translated “lawlessness” on three other occasions. On each occasion he refers to “lawlessness” as being ways of living or courses or action which have no regard for the “will” (the desire) of God the Father.

Summarising, there seems to be one simple message about residential qualifications for heaven. No entry even by calling Jesus “Lord, Lord” (even to his face) or by doing marvellous things in His name. But entry, in that day, by having become known to Jesus, while on earth, followed by having actually done, while on earth, the will (the desire) of His Father.
 
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 ‘The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want….Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.’ (King David, c. BC 1000 Psalm 23)
I would recognise Her Majesty the Queen at any time – and address her as “Ma’am”. But she doesn’t know me. Before I could qualify to reside at Buckingham Palace for ever, I would need her to know me personally. How do I achieve that?
 
Sinner Syvret

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