My previous “Party” post dealt with the idea of judgment being a good thing for those who trust Jesus. The Messiah was judged on our behalf so we no longer face condemnation; instead, we look forward to a world that has been rid of all evil and of dwelling there with God Himself.
But we shouldn’t think that “not facing condemnation” also means “not facing judgment,” because we clearly will. Jesus clearly taught that people who claim him as lord will be judged; so did his earliest followers.
On that day, some of us are in for a devastating surprise.
“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.
On that day, 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 then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”
This isn’t the only place where Jesus tells us that those who expect to enter the kingdom will miss it. In Matthew 8, he teaches that “the sons of the kingdom” will be thrown into darkness while others, who came from around the world, will be the ones who dine with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In another place, Jesus says that tax collectors and prostitutes have entered the kingdom, while the religious authorities have not.
We have to pay careful attention here: Many who believe themselves to be Christ’s are not his.
We just celebrated Easter, and it’s easy to feel religious on that day. For some people, it’s one of the two days that they actually go to church during the year.
But the people of God celebrate the resurrection all the time. Jesus’ victory over death demands more than a once-a-year commemoration. The resurrection plays in the background of our lives like a great soundtrack to a movie; it adds flavor to a scene and gives words to what we’re witnessing.
But it goes beyond that. The resurrection demands that everything in our lives find their orbit around Jesus, the Son of God who was destined to rule over the nations and offer forgiveness to his enemies. You can’t witness the resurrection (physically or in a spiritual sense) and go back to the way it was before you caught a glimpse.
When Jesus is revealed to each of us as the risen Christ and Lord, we make a choice to know him or not. This isn’t a one-time choice, either; it happens every day of our lives. Jesus lives, but will we follow him? He rules, but will we worship him? He commands us to go and love and forgive, but will we leave our homes and embrace our enemies and make peace with anyone who’s wronged us?
Examine your own life. What is the Spirit urging you to do, and when that happens, are you listening and obeying? Is he calling you out on your selfishness and pride (two weaknesses of mine)? Or has your heart grown so dull that you can’t even hear His voice?
Jesus revealed what the Father wants of us. If we’re not doing the will of our Father, than maybe He’s not really our Father.
Please don’t rush through this message. Don’t try to dampen it by telling yourself that once you’re saved, you’re always saved. The question here is not if you lost your salvation but if you ever had it.
The Party is real and so is the invitation. And so is the danger that, if we’re not careful, we might miss it completely.