Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:22-23)
My Aunt asked me about this passage on Sunday. She could not remember the reference, so her first question was, “Where in the Bible does it say ____” Which is a question I get often and as a Pastor I always know the answer… Seriously I offered a few guesses, that I knew were not right.
But then my Aunt asked the more important question, “What does the passage mean? How can someone perform miracles, but not be a part of His Kingdom?” And again my pastoring skills were a let down. I wondered at answers, but really had no clue. I referenced the seven sons of Sceva in Acts. I talked about the power of the name of Jesus. I mentioned faith, but faith is required for miracles, right? I have never laid hands on a person and had the cancer melt from their body – how could a miracle worker not be a part of God’s family?
Of course these questions came in the midst of grilled hot dogs and marshmallow guns (the gift we gave my dad). So the topic quickly changed. I did not think about it again until reading scripture yesterday when I stumbled onto the passage my Aunt was seeking. It was right before the wise and foolish builders – the VBS passage I was intending to read.
And again all the questions came back. But still no answers arrived. And this does not feel right. We expect there to be answers for everything. We want theology to come in tidy packages – ready to be unwrapped.
As the church we have simplified salvation. Each denomination is a little different. In the Baptist Church we invite people to Come forward before the church, say prayer, and declare their faith in Christ. The person is then baptized – a symbol of their faith.
But the scripture, like Matthew 7, reminds us that salvation is not so simple.
The lack of clarity can be frightening. But the best things in this world are never clear. How do I make friends? How I do I hold my family together? How do I fall in love??
And Jesus came to give us the best – not the easiest. So He calls out, “Come Follow Me.” What does that mean? What do we have to do? I am a pastor, but I do not know all the answers for you. You must find His call yourself, as you walk with Him.
And in your walk together, the theology may be murky. But our faith is not answering test questions. It is a relationship. And when you follow, His love will always be clear.