Thursday, July 7, 2016

Who Deserves Eternal Life in Heaven?

Today I’m thinking about the passage from Scripture where Jesus told his disciples the following:  “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.”  (Mat 7:21)  This seems to imply that just because one believes in him (by calling out to him “Lord, Lord”) does not necessarily mean he will be saved.  However, the one who believes in him and does the will of the Father will be saved.  Okay, it seems clear that those who have faith and do the will of God will enter heaven. 

But wait!  The question is, what is God's will.  The next verse from Matthew’s gospel are helpful:  “Many will say to me on that day ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?  Did we not drive out demons in your name?  Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?”  “Then I will declare to them solemnly: ‘I never knew you.  Depart from me you evildoers.’”  (Mat 7:22-23)  Okay, prophesying in his name, driving out demons in his name, and doing mighty deeds in his name are evil deeds worthy of eternal damnation.  I get that.  But what then are the things that are the will of God?

I have to say that Jesus did not appear to answer this directly in this passage.  He did say that we must build our house on rock so that it will not collapse when rain falls, floods come and winds blow and buffet the house.  I take this to mean that our faith must be so strong that no matter what challenges we face, it will stand.  That is what is required as far as faith.  And the will of God?  Perhaps these are those actions that result from and are part of this strong faith.  Prophesying, driving out demons, doing mighty deeds in his name?  No.  That’s like the Pharisees and their boastful and hypocritical ways.  One place to look for answers is the Sermon on the Mount - the Beatitudes.  (Mat 5:3-11)  Who are the "blessed ones?"  They are those who are pure in spirit ... those who are meek ... those who mourn ... those who hunger and thirst for justice ... those who are merciful ... those who are clean of heart ... those who are peacemakers ... those who suffer persecution for justice’ sake ... and those who are insulted, persecuted, and falsely demonized because of their faith.

Those are the ones who will deserve eternal life in heaven.  Jesus even says that our reward will be great in heaven if we are so blessed, and we should rejoice and be glad because of this.  (Mat 5:12)  Again, words of advice and consolation directly from the mouth of the Lord.  Lord help us.  Amen.

The photo is of the Basilica of St. Stanislaus in Winona, Minnesota.


  1. One could make the case that no one deserves Heaven. :-)

    1. You are right, Jeanie. I should have chosen a different word.