ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Will of the Father in Matthew 7:21

Updated on January 19, 2019
marcelocarcach profile image

Pastor of Iglesia Conexiones, and author of Biblical Prayer for Today's Believers: Transform Your Prayer Life (available on Amazon).

On the Road to Damascus
On the Road to Damascus | Source

What Is God's Will?

A sister in Christ recently shared with me an article regarding Matthew 7:21, where the Lord says that only those who do the will of the Father will enter the kingdom of heaven. The article attempted to define the will of the Father, but I do not think it defined it successfully. In this article, I will try to provide a clear definition of the Father’s will in Matthew 7:21, and to explain how I arrived to this definition.

Salvation Is through Faith Alone

The New Testament makes it clear that human beings cannot be justified by obeying the Law of Moses or doing good works (Galatians 3:11-12, Ephesians 2:8-9). Instead, we are forgiven and given entrance into the kingdom of heaven through faith only (John 3:16, Acts 2:38). Salvation through faith may at first seem unrelated to the will of the Father in Matthew 7:21, but that is precisely what His will is.

God's Will and The Sermon on The Mount

The difficulty with interpreting the Father’s will in Matthew 7:21 consists in that we tend to equate it with the Lord’s sayings in Matthew 7:24. Nevertheless, doing the Lord’s sayings in Matthew 7:24 is not the same as doing God’s will in Matthew 7:21. Doing the Lord’s sayings in the Matthew 7:24 is putting into practice the instructions the Lord has given in the sermon on the mountain (Matthew 5:1 to 7:29), but doing the will of God is putting into practice the point the Lord is making throughout the sermon on the mountain.

Did Jesus Abolish the Law?

While some may regard the Lord's sermon on the mount as a new law for the citizens of God’s kingdom, a law that would replace the Law of Moses, Matthew 5:17-19 makes it abundantly clear this is not the case. Jesus did not come to abolish Moses' Law, but to fulfill it; therefore, the Lord exhorts his listeners to teach and obey the Law of Moses and the Prophets (the entire Tanach, or Old Testament). In other words, the Lord Jesus is not giving us a new set of commandments that we must obey to enter into the kingdom of heaven, that is not the point of the sermon on the mountain, and that is not the will of the Father.

Therefore, obeying the Lord’s commandments does not enable us to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and much less does obeying the Law of Moses and the Prophets make it possible for us to enter into the kingdom of heaven. The scribes and the Pharisees were dedicated students and practitioners of the Law and the Prophets, nevertheless the Lord warned that their righteousness was not sufficient to get them into the kingdom of heaven: our righteousness needs to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees for us to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20).

Repentance and Hypocrisy

I find that when we read through the synoptic gospels, it is important to identify the main points of the authors and to keep them in mind as we read the rest of the work.

Matthew first teaches us that Jesus Christ is the descendant of Abraham and David, and that His birth and ministry fulfilled the prophecies of the prophets. However, beginning on chapter three, Matthew lays the foundation for us to interpret the Lord’s teachings and understand His doctrinal perspective.

Matthew tells us that in light of the Lord’s advent and the kingdom of heaven, John the Baptist preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Matthew 3:2, 5, 6, 11). John preached that people should repent of their sins so they would be ready to receive the one who was coming (Matthew 3:3), Jesus the Messiah. That is all that was necessary: baptism was only a symbol of repentance and cleansing, a public statement that people were repenting and receiving forgiveness.

But when the Jewish religious leaders (the scribes and the Pharisees) came to be baptized, John rebuked them for their hypocrisy and exhorted them to produce fruit meet for repentance (Matthew 3:7-8). In other words, from John's and Matthew's perspective, the religious leaders were coming to John not because they were repenting at John’s preaching, but because they were hypocrites: they were only pretending to repent. Therefore, John rebuked them and exhorted them to truly repent, to produce works that demonstrated that they had repented indeed.

Legalism and Hypocrisy vs. Repentance

Let's look now at the Lord’s ministry. Matthew tells us that after Jesus was baptized by John and temped by the Devil, the Lord preached the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 4:17 and 4:23). That is, the Lord Jesus was preaching the same message of repentance that John had been preaching (the difference was that God had already confirmed Jesus as His Son, the one who was coming to baptize with the Holy Spirit and to judge with fire).

When attempting to interpret the sermon on the mountain, it is absolutely important for us to keep in mind that the Lord was preaching the same core message as John the Baptist. Jesus was exhorting people to repent. In fact, he did not even ask them to be baptized; He only asked them to repent. That was the core of John the Baptist’s message, and that is what the Lord Himself was preaching.

In his sermon on the mountain, the Lord was not about to contradict John the Baptist, much less Himself. Instead, the point He was making is the same point John made to the scribes and the Pharisees: don’t be hypocrites, but live in a way that shows you have truly repented.

Just about every instruction in the Lord’s sermon on the mountain is meant to teach people the difference between practicing religion out of hypocrisy and obeying God’s word genuinely (as one who has truly repented). We can easily see this when we study the following verses in the sermon on the mountain: 5:20, 5:21-22, 5:33-37, 5:38-41, 6:1, 6:5-6, 6:7-8, 6:16-8, 6:19-21, 6:31-33, 7:3, and 7:21.

Repent and Believe

From the Lord’s perspective, the religious leaders of his time (most of them) were hypocrites and did not have a real relationship with God; instead, they were only concerned with being praised by society. On the other hand, those who have truly repented and believe in Him (5:11) have a real and meaningful relationship with God the Father because they are his children (5:9, 5:16, 5:45, 5:48, 6:8-9).

According to the Lord, those who were following him while hypocritically calling him “Lord, lord” just to fit in with the rest of his followers would not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21); neither will those who practice religion and work in the ministry enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:22); but only those who do the will of the Father will enter the kingdom of heaven.

What then is the will of the Father? The will of the Father is the point of the Lord’s sayings (Matthew 7:24), the point of the Lord’s instructions in the sermon on the mount: that we would genuinely repent and believe in Jesus Christ (see John 6:28-29).

Questions for Reflection

  1. True or false: Moses taught people could enter heaven by keeping the Law?
  2. How were people justified in the Old Testament?
  3. How are repenting and believing different actions but one same process?
  4. Have you truly repented? How do you know?

© 2019 Marcelo Carcach


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • marcelocarcach profile imageAUTHOR

      Marcelo Carcach 

      2 years ago from Westminster, MD

      Thank-you for your kind words of encouragement. May the Lord continue to bless us through His word.

    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Marcelo, this is the first time I have read any of your articles. I am an ordained Bible teacher. Therefore, I know you did a great job explaining the Will of God according to Matthew 7:21. I could follow along with your commentary on the subject.

      I will check out some of your other articles. Blessings to you and many blessings on your articles so others can learn and be edified by them!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)