It is easy to judge someone or oneself based on deeds. However, it should be noted that transformation only happens on the level of ‘being’ rather than doing. No wonder Christ says in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” The statement raises a pertinent question. What does Christ imply by ‘the will of My father.’ Those who, according to Christ, say ‘Lord, Lord’ seem to be doing amazing stuff, such as; Prophesying in Jesus’ name (Adventists pride in their prophetic gift), Casting out demons in Jesus’ name (exorcism is a crucial ministry is Catholicism), and performing miracles in Jesus’ name (Miracles are the lifeline of evangelicals). Surprisingly, Jesus does not know them. One is left to wonder what the ‘will of the Father’ is.
The statement by Jesus in Matt 7:21-23 should arouse us from our comfort zone. Attending church every week and actively participating in worship services do not guarantee a personal and genuine relationship with Jesus. Jesus says in Matt 7:20, “Therefore by their fruits, you will know them,” and in Luke 11:28, he says, “blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Apparently there are those who, like the Pharisees, focus on doing rather than being. Jesus rebukes the Pharisees in Luke 11:39 “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.”
In reality, Jesus is more interested in who we are (our being) than what we are doing ‘in His name.’ It is the reason He reminds us in Luke 11:13 that “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can successfully transition from doing stuff to appear holy to being after the similitude of Jesus Christ. This is what transformation is all about.
“Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness” (Steps to Christ, p. 18.)