Woe to Those Who Shut the Door to Heaven

December 7, 2021

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in (Matthew 23:13).

The problem with false religions and cults is not that they aren’t ethical, moral, or mentally, emotionally, or physically helpful. It’s that they aren’t spiritual. Religious organizations can feed the hungry, educate the ignorant, comfort the emotionally distressed, counsel families on interpersonal relationships, or teach employers and employees how to maximize their resources - and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if a religious organization does not lead a person to faith and salvation is Jesus Christ, it damns the soul to eternal separation from God.

Christian churches and organizations should be involved in the activities mentioned above, and many are, but they are secondary to addressing the spiritual need of a person for salvation in Jesus Christ. We can use such activities as vehicles to bring people to Jesus Christ, and we should, but to feed a hungry person’s body without nourishing his/her soul is inconsistent with the witness, work, and will of Jesus Christ.

The real issue with the Scribes and Pharisees is that they were unable to lead people to faith in Jesus Christ because they didn’t have faith in Jesus themselves. They were religious, but lived under the false theology that because they were sons of Abraham they were already in the Kingdom of God. Because they were recipients of, and obedient to the Mosaic Law, they were automatically approved of God. Not so. They knew about God, but they didn’t know God. Because of this, they stood outside rather than inside the Kingdom of God. Those who came to these priests and religious leaders for help in understanding who God is and what faith in God is all about were being turned away from God rather closer to God.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said (Matthew 7:13-14), Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. And in case people were confused by these words He explained (John 10:7-9), Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. And again (John 14:6), I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The Scribes and Pharisees were condemned for shutting the door to eternal life. Jesus came to open that door to all who put their faith and trust in Him.

“Thank You, Lord Jesus, for making clear to us the way to salvation. Thank You for being that door through which we enter Your Kingdom, and that door will never be shut to those who believe in and receive You as Lord and Savior. Amen.”


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