‘Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, STRIVE to enter in at the strait gate: for MANY, I say unto you, WILL SEEK to enter in, and shall not be able.’  (Luke 13:23-24)

Notice Jesus doesn’t just say ‘many won’t enter in’.  Instead, He says ‘many will SEEK to enter in but won’t be able’.  These are not just worldly, indifferent people–they are people who WANT to enter into Heaven.  What is the difference between those who seek to enter in but can’t, and those who strive to enter in and are able?

‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, YE THAT WORK INIQUITY*.’  (Matthew 7:21-23)

According to Strong’s, those who ‘work iniquity’ are those who do ‘anomia’

iniquity = anomia (G458)

1) the condition of without law

..a) because ignorant of it

..b) because of violating it

2) contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness

 

This passage separates between those who DO the will of the Father, and those who don’t–and further clarifies it as those who live by His law vs. those who don’t.

Now, we know that as Christians we are not bound to the Mosaic Law.  But we ARE expected to follow the Ten Commandments (and the four restrictions in Acts 15:20).

‘ . . . but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’  (Jesus, Matt. 19:17)

According to Matt. 7:21-23, the difference between eternal life and damnation is whether or not you follow God’s Commandments.  NO, we do not OBTAIN salvation by following the Commandments, or any other thing that we might do.  There is no salvation apart from faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.  But when we become Christians we enter into a blood covenant with God, and our part is to do His will.  If we aren’t doing His Will, then we aren’t ‘abiding’ in Him.  If we aren’t doing His will, then we are walking in the flesh.  Christianity today is misrepresented as a free bus ticket: we say a ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ and then get a free ride.  But that’s never what God intended.  His will is to have

‘ . . .  a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:’  (1 Peter 2:9)

When God made the first covenant (the ‘Old’ covenant) with the people of Israel, Moses gave the people The Law

‘And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.’  (Exodus 24:3)

Then a blood sacrifice was made, to seal the covenant.

We are heirs to a better covenant.

‘But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.’  (Jer. 31:33)

Not only does He write His law in our hearts, He gives us His Holy Spirit, to will and to perform it.  This covenant was sealed by the blood of Jesus.

In return for being redeemed from the bondage of sin and judgment, we are to yield ourselves as living sacrifices to Him.

‘What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’  (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.’  (Romans 12:1)

To simplify it,

‘Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’  (Matt. 22:37-40)

And how do we find the love to fulfill these two commandments?  We walk in the Spirit, and not in the flesh. The Holy Spirit is the love of God, living in us, and flowing through us. The Holy Spirit will work in our heart to desire to do, and to perform the will of God.  The Holy Spirit will not lead us into sin.  The Holy Spirit will keep us on the path.

‘Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;’  (Titus 2:12)

The Holy Spirit works in conjunction with the Word of God, to change us from the inside out.

‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’  (Romans 12:2)

‘ . . . Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.’  (Ephesians 5:26-27)

How do we walk in the Spirit? We say ‘no’ to worldly lusts and ungodly temptations, thereby ‘crucifying the flesh’–because if we are walking in the flesh, we are not walking in the Spirit.  And we pray and read the Word of God . . . and then we live what we learn.

‘For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.’  (Matt. 11:30)

His yoke is easy, and His burden is light–but we must CHOOSE to walk on the narrow path.  We must STRIVE to enter in.  That striving is not a ‘work’ . . . it is our flesh and our will we strive with.  But if we say no to the flesh and yield ourselves to Him, His Spirit will lead us into all righteousness.

‘Teach me to do thy will; for thou [art] my God: thy spirit [is] good; lead me into the land of uprightness.’  (Psalm 143:10)

There is much confusion about ‘works’, but  here’s what the Bible says, in a nutshell:

‘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.’  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

‘Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.’  (Galatians 2:16)

But

‘What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? . . . faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone . . . I will shew thee my faith by my works.’  (James 2:14, 17, 18)

‘But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.‘  (James 2:20-24)

Saving faith produces ‘works’ in keeping with that faith–and that is God’s will for us.

‘Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’  (Titus 2:14)

‘And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works’  (Hebrews 10:24)

‘That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.’  (2 Timothy 3:17)

‘[This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.’  (Titus 3:8)

‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.’  (Ephesians 2:10)

Who are the ‘saints’?

‘ . . . they that keep the commandments of God, AND the faith of Jesus.’  (Rev. 14:12)

There really is no contradiction at all, except in the minds of those who don’t consider the full counsel of the Word of God.

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