Matthew 7:21
Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) He that doeth the will of my Father.—The continued stress laid on the ethical side of religion, on the nullity of the confession of a true faith (as embodied in the “Lord, Lord”) without doing the will of God, more than confirms the interpretation of Matthew 7:16 above given. A further development of the same thought is found in John 7:17, and we are taught that it is by doing the will of God ourselves, or rather by willing to do it, that we gain the power to distinguish, so far as we need distinguish, truth from error, man’s teaching from God’s.

The previous words imply that the disciples had already begun to use the title Lord (κύριος) in speaking to their Master (comp. Luke 5:8); but as that word was at the time in common use as one of courtesy (Matthew 8:2; Matthew 8:6; John 20:2), it would not necessarily follow that they had used it in all the later fulness of its meaning.

Matthew 7:21. Not every one, &c. — The Lord Jesus, having declared the whole counsel of God, with regard to the way of salvation, and observed the chief hinderances of those who desire to walk therein, now closes the whole with these and the following weighty words; thereby, as it were, setting his seal to his prophecy, and impressing his whole authority on what he had delivered, that it might stand firm to all generations: that saith, Lord, Lord — That is, that makes a mere profession of my religion, that gives me the title of Lord and Master, or claims an interest in me as his Lord; that calls upon me and pretends to learn of me as a Teacher, to rely on me as a Saviour, to obey me as a Lawgiver, be subject to me as a King and Governor; shall enter into the kingdom of heaven — Shall be acknowledged as a true member of the church militant, or be admitted into the church triumphant. Some that say unto Christ, Lord, Lord, shall be saved, being his true disciples; but every one that does so shall not: None, indeed, shall, as Christ here declares, but such as endeavour to fulfil the whole will of God in faith and holiness, viz., that will which is described in this sermon. They that make it their care to understand the doctrine here declared, to experience the graces here delineated, to perform the duties here enjoined, to shun the hinderances here guarded against, and to embrace the helps here recommended, — they that thus comply with this holy, acceptable, and perfect will of God, shall be acknowledged loyal subjects of Christ’s kingdom here, and shall undoubtedly be admitted to reign with him hereafter.7:21-29 Christ here shows that it will not be enough to own him for our Master, only in word and tongue. It is necessary to our happiness that we believe in Christ, that we repent of sin, that we live a holy life, that we love one another. This is his will, even our sanctification. Let us take heed of resting in outward privileges and doings, lest we deceive ourselves, and perish eternally, as multitudes do, with a lie in our right hand. Let every one that names the name of Christ, depart from all sin. There are others, whose religion rests in bare hearing, and it goes no further; their heads are filled with empty notions. These two sorts of hearers are represented as two builders. This parable teaches us to hear and do the sayings of the Lord Jesus: some may seem hard to flesh and blood, but they must be done. Christ is laid for a foundation, and every thing besides Christ is sand. Some build their hopes upon worldly prosperity; others upon an outward profession of religion. Upon these they venture; but they are all sand, too weak to bear such a fabric as our hopes of heaven. There is a storm coming that will try every man's work. When God takes away the soul, where is the hope of the hypocrite? The house fell in the storm, when the builder had most need of it, and expected it would be a shelter to him. It fell when it was too late to build another. May the Lord make us wise builders for eternity. Then nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ Jesus. The multitudes were astonished at the wisdom and power of Christ's doctrine. And this sermon, ever so often read over, is always new. Every word proves its Author to be Divine. Let us be more and more decided and earnest, making some one or other of these blessednesses and Christian graces the main subject of our thoughts, even for weeks together. Let us not rest in general and confused desires after them, whereby we grasp at all, but catch nothing.Not every one that saith ... - The Saviour goes on to say that many, on the ground of a mere profession such as he had just referred to, would claim admittance into his kingdom. Many would plead that they had done miracles, and preached or prophesied much, and on the ground of that would demand an entrance into heaven. The power of working miracles had no necessary connection with piety. God may as well, if he chooses, give the power of raising the dead to a wicked man, as the skill of healing to a wicked physician. A miracle is a display "of his own power" through the medium of another. An act of healing the sick is also a display of "his power" through the agency of another. In neither of these cases is there any necessary connection with moral character. So of preaching or prophesying. God may use the agency of a man of talents, though not pious, to carry forward His purposes. Saving power on the mind is the work of God, and he may convey it by any agency which he chooses. Accordingly, many may be found in the day of judgment who may have been endowed with powers of prophecy or miracle, as Balaam or the magicians of Egypt; in the same way as many people of distinguished talents may be found, yet destitute of piety, and who will be shut out of his kingdom. See Matthew 7:21; 1 Corinthians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. In this last place Paul says that, though he spoke with the tongue of angels, and had the gift of prophecy, and could remove mountains, and had nor charity or love, all would be of no avail. See the notes at 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. 21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord—the reduplication of the title "Lord" denoting zeal in according it to Christ (see Mr 14:45). Yet our Lord claims and expects this of all His disciples, as when He washed their feet: "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am" (Joh 13:13).

shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven—that will which it had been the great object of this discourse to set forth. Yet our Lord says warily, not "the will of your Father," but "of My Father"; thus claiming a relationship to His Father with which His disciples might not intermeddle, and which He never lets down. And He so speaks here to give authority to His asseverations. But now He rises higher still—not formally announcing Himself as the Judge, but intimating what men will say to Him, and He to them, when He sits as their final judge.

Some that say unto Christ, Lord, Lord, shall be saved, being the true disciples of Christ; but every one that owneth Christ by an external profession as his Lord, every one that prayeth, though he doth it often, and with some appearing zeal and importunity, shall not be saved, nor doth by it approve himself a true disciple of Christ; but he alone who doth endeavour to fulfil the whole will of God, both by faith and holiness, Romans 2:13 1 Thessalonians 4:3 Jam 1:22,23. True religion lies sin obedience to the whole will of God. Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord,.... Not every one that calls Christ his Lord and Master, professes subjection to him, or that calls upon his name, or is called by his name; or makes use of it in his public ministrations. There are many who desire to be called, and accounted Christians, and who make mention of the name of Christ in their sermons, only to take away their reproach, to cover themselves, and gain credit with, and get into the affections and goodwill of the people; but have no hearty love to Christ, nor true faith in him: nor is it their concern to preach his Gospel, advance his glory, and promote his kingdom and interest; their chief view is to please men, aggrandize themselves, and set up the power of human nature in opposition to the grace of God, and the righteousness of Christ. Now not everyone of these, no, not any of them,

shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. This is to be understood not of the outward dispensation of the Gospel, or the Gospel church state, or the visible church of Christ on earth, in which sense this phrase is sometimes used; because such persons may, and often do, enter here; but of eternal glory, into which none shall enter,

but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. This, as it may regard private Christians, intends not merely outward obedience to the will of God, declared in his law, nor barely subjection to the ordinances of the Gospel; but more especially faith in Christ for life and salvation; which is the source of all true evangelical obedience, and without which nothing is acceptable to God. He that seeth the Son, looks unto him, ventures on him, commits himself to him, trusts in him, relies on him, and believes on him for righteousness, salvation, and eternal life, he it is that does the will of the Father, and he only; and such an one, as he is desirous of doing the will of God in all acts of cheerful obedience to it, without dependence thereon; so he shall certainly enter the kingdom of heaven, and have everlasting life; see John 6:40 but as these words chiefly respect preachers, the sense of them is this, that only such who are faithful dispensers of the word shall enter into the joy of their Lord. Such do the will of Christ's Father, and so his own, which are the same, who fully and faithfully preach the Gospel of the grace of God; who declare the whole counsel of God, and keep back nothing that is profitable to the souls of men; who are neither ashamed of the testimony of Christ, nor afraid of the faces of men; but as they are put in trust with the Gospel, so they speak it boldly, with all sincerity, not as pleasing men, but God, and commend themselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God: such as these shall have an abundant entrance into the kingdom and glory of God. The Vulgate Latin adds this clause, "he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven", and so does Munster's Hebrew edition of the Gospel according to Matthew.

{7} 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.

(7) Even the best gifts that exist are nothing without godliness.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 7:21-23. Jesus now states in literal terms what He meant to convey through the simile of the fruit. There is much that is arbitrary in the way this passage is dealt with by those who, from their having supposed the ψευδοπροφ. of Matthew 7:15 to be Jews, are under the necessity of adopting a different explanation in the present instance. De Wette, going against the context, sees a gradual transition from teachers who teach what is unsound (Matthew 7:15-20) to such (teachers and others) as are satisfied with the mere acknowledgment of their belief. That it is still the same false prophets against whom the warning in Matthew 7:21-23 is directed, appears from the use of προεφητεύσαμεν in Matthew 7:22, and of οἱ ἐργαζ. τ. ἀνομίαν in Matthew 7:23, the latter further showing that καρποὶ πονηροί is to be understood as denoting the characteristic mark of such prophets.

οὐ πᾶς] not, no one (Elsner, Fritzsche), but, not every one, 1 Corinthians 15:39. Winer, p. 161 [E. T. 214]. Not all who acknowledge me as their teacher will enter the Messianic kingdom, only those among them, and so on. Many will not enter therein. Therefore it is not the case that the teachers are not referred to till Matthew 7:22, according to the idea of gradation which de Wette introduces into that verse: “even those who work in my name,” and so on.

κύριε, κύριε] In addressing their teachers, the Jews employed the title רַב or מַר. Accordingly it came to be used as a title in addressing the Messiah (John 13:13 f.), and in the church itself came to be regarded as the summary of belief, inasmuch as it contained the full recognition of the majesty of Jesus’ person (1 Corinthians 12:3; Php 2:11). Christ Himself called no man master. It is on this occasion, and while applying to Himself this Messianic title, that He also says for the first time, ὁ πατήρ μου (comp. Matthew 3:17). The twice repeated κύριε is meant to convey the idea of earnestness. See Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. 53, and in the Stud. u. Krit. 1843, p. 124. Comp. Matthew 25:11; Add. ad Esth. iii. 2, 3; LXX. Psalm 71:5; Psalm 71:16.Matthew 7:21-23. False discipleship. From false teachers the discourse naturally passes to spurious disciples. Luke’s version contains the kernel of this passage (Luke 6:46). Something of the kind was to be expected in the teaching on the hill. What more likely than that the Master, who had spoken such weighty truths, should say to His hearers: “In vain ye call me Master, unless ye do the things which I say”? As it stands here the logion has probably, as Weiss suggests (Matt. Evang., p. 219), undergone expansion and modification, so as to give to the title “Lord,” originally = מר, Teacher, the full sense it bore when applied to Christ by the Apostolic Church, and to make the warning refer to false prophets of the Apostolic age using Christ’s name and authority in support of anti-Christian tendencies, such as anti-nomianism (ἀνομίαν, Matthew 7:23).Matthew 7:21. Οὐ πᾶς, κ.τ.λ., not every one, etc.) for all in some manner say, and shall say so; see Matthew 7:22, and cf. Luke 9:57; Luke 9:59; Luke 9:61.—ὁ λέγων, that saith) Put in opposition to ὁ ποιῶν, that doeth: cf. 1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Corinthians 13:1-2.—Μοι, unto Me) The meaning is, “unto Me and My Father;” and again, “My Father’s Will and Mine.”—Κύριε, Lord) Jesus acknowledged that this Divine appellation was due to Him. Many, even men of high rank, called Him LORD: He called no one so, not even Pilate.—ὁ ποιῶν, κ.τ.λ., he that doeth, etc.) There is an antithesis between this and οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι (that work), in Matthew 7:23.—τὸ θέλημα, κ.τ.λ., the will, etc.) sc. that which I preach, the righteous will, which is declared in the Law: cf. v. 19.—τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς,[330] which is in heaven[331]) No one, therefore, who is contrary to God will enter heaven.—ἈΛΛʼ Ὁ ΠΟΙῶΝ ΤῸ ΘΈΛΗΜΑ ΤΟῦ ΠΑΤΡΌς ΜΟΥ ΤΟῦ ἘΝ ΟὐΡΑΝΟῖς,[332] ΟὝΤΟς ΕἸΣΕΛΕΎΣΕΤΑΙ ΕἸς ΤῊΝ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΊΑΝ ΤῶΝ ΟὐΡΑΝῶΝ,[333] but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in Heaven,[334] he shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven[335]) These last words,[336] “ipse intrabit in regnum cœlorum,”[337] “he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven,” are found in that most ancient authority, the Latin Vulgate,[338] and from it in both Hebrew editions[339] of St Matthew, in the Anglo-Saxon Version,[340] in Jerome, and in Lupus,[341] Ep. 84, and, perhaps from another version, in Cypria[342]. The copyists of later times, slipping from ΟὐΡΑΝΟῖς to ΟὐΡΑΝῶΝ, have omitted the clause. In antithetical passages of this character, the sacred writers frequently employ the figure entitled Plenus Sermo.[343]

[330-335] The word is in the plural number.—(I. B.)

[336] They are not found in E. M.—(I. B.)

[337] The word is in the plural number.—(I. B.)

[338] See p. 14, f. n. 1.—(I. B.)

[339] See Le Long, Bibliotheca Sacra, pt. II. Sect. 1, §§ 4, 5, 6; and Bengel’s App. Crit. pt. I. Sect. 32, Obs. 6.—(I. B.)

[340] Supposed to have been executed in the eighth century. See Hartwell Horne, vol. II. Pt. I. chap. 3, Sect. iii. § 4.—(I. B.)

[341] LUPUS SERVATIUS (or SERVATUS), a native of France, and disciple of the celebrated Aldric, who sent him to Fulda to study the Holy Scriptures under the famous Rabanus Maurus. He became Abbot of Ferriere A.D. 842, and distinguished himself both as a scholar and a theologian. His character stands high both as a man and an author.—(I. B)

[342] yprian (in the beginning and middle of the third century: a Latin father). Ed. Steph. Baluzii, Paris. 1726.

[343] i.e. give the words in full, even though any reader might have readily supplied them.—ED.

Vulg. abc Cypr. Hil. add “ipse intrabit in regnum cœlorum:” they moreover must read αὐτὸς ipse, not as Beng. has it, hic, οὗτος. BZ and most of the oldest authorities omit the clause.—ED.Verses 21-23. - These verses stand in close connexion with vers. 15-20. Seeing that external actions are the result of internal life, it is they, not words nor even miracles (since these may in themselves not be dependent on the inner life, though permitted by the Divine power), by which the true followers of Christ will be finally distinguished from others, and which therefore will alone secure admission to abiding with Christ in the kingdom of heaven. To these verses Luke 13:23-28 have many resemblances (cf. also vers. 13, 14, supra). St. Luke thus omits the warning against false teachers. (For ver. 21, cf. also Luke 6:46.) Verse 21. - Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord. Professing obedience (Matthew 6:24). Observe the indirect claim to this title of reverential submission and the implied expectation that it will be given him by many. Shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. The final goal of our hopes. But he that doeth the will of my Father. Not "of me," but of him whom I represent, and to whom I stand in a unique relation (observe the claim). This man also says, "Lord, Lord" (Winer, § 26:1), but not merely says it. Such a man enters into family relationship to Christ (Matthew 12:50). Which is in heaven. Since you desire to enter the kingdom of heaven, be now obeying the will of him who dwells in heaven. (For the thought of the verse, cf 1 John 2:4.)
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