Matthew 7:21-23 says, “Not everyone who say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to t hem, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (NKJV)

This passage actually reinforces the truth that no one can be saved by their works, for Jesus refers to those who are pleading with Him to give them entrance into the kingdom of heaven BASED ON THEIR GOOD WORKS, yet Jesus says, “I never knew you.” Now you may be thinking, “But Jesus said that in order to enter the kingdom one must “do the will of My Father in heaven,” so doesn’t that mean that one is saved by works?” No, it simply means that if one is saved he/she will have the desire the please God the Father by doing His will. Those who are trusting in their good works to gain entrance into the kingdom are NOT true believers who are serving the Lord out of love to the Father. The fact that Jesus says “I never knew you” implies that “they don’t know the Lord Jesus as their Savior and God as their Father.” They have no personal relationship with the Father and the Son (even though they call Jesus ‘Lord’) and thus in their self-righteous pride they boast of the good works they have done.

We could multiply verses to prove that one is SAVED BY FAITH ALONE, but let’s consider the most well-known passage in all of Scripture. Ephesians 2:8-9 declares, “For by grace you have been SAVED THROUGH FAITH, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast.” Could words be clearer than this? One is saved by the grace of God through simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, period! There is no room for boasting, for salvation is NOT OF WORKS.

Now let’s read verse 10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus FOR GOOD WORKS, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ah, here is where good works come in, for AFTER one has been born again through faith in Jesus Christ (see John 3:1-16) THEY WILL DO GOOD WORKS! They will not do them “to be saved,” but because “they have been saved.” When I was first saved I heard someone say “Faith is the ROOT of salvation and good works are the FRUIT.” I never forgot that simple saying for the truth that it conveys is taught throughout scripture. When Jesus spoke of “he who does the will of My Father in heaven” He was speaking of one WHO IS SAVED BY FAITH and WHO WILL PROVE THEIR FAITH by doing God’s will; in other words, by DOING GOOD WORKS. (303.1) (DO)