If you cannot put into one concise sentence a Biblically accurate answer to this most important question, it is not God’s fault.
Several Bible passages could be offered as an adequate answer. Such passages as:
- “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
- “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
- “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
- “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’” (Matthew 22:37).
Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:21-23 clearly demonstrate the inadequacy of the following lifestyles:
A life of lip service. Saying “Lord, Lord” and not doing the things He says (v. 21; Luke 6:46) will not do. Drawing near to God with your lips while your heart is far from Him is condemned in the Old and New Testaments alike (Psalm 78:36-37; Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8).
A life of intermittent obedience. “He who does the will of my Father” (v. 21) is in the present tense. In the Greek language this denotes the idea of continuous action. Obedience to God is 24/7/365 expectation. Not only is “intermittent obedience” self-contradictory, Jesus says it is a lifestyle of spiritual lawlessness (v. 23).
A life of substitution. The spectacular—prophesying, casting out demons, and/or doing many wonders in His name—is not preferred by Christ over the steady discipleship of denying yourself, taking up your cross daily, and following Him (Luke 9:23). The substitution of religion for righteousness is equally unacceptable. Eternal life is determined by knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ who was sent by Him (John 17:3). Moral living plus fasting twice a week and giving generously is not an acceptable substitute for walking humbly and righteously with your God (Luke 18:11-14).