There is an old saying, “Just because you sit in the garage doesn’t make you a car.” Well, I don’t really know if it is an old saying, but I heard it a long time ago, and I’ll admit I always heard it along with, “And just because you sit in Church doesn’t make you Christian.” There are many who profess to be Christians, even Orthodox Christians, who seldom if ever find themselves in Church or living the Christian life. Have you ever wondered if it is even possible to be a Christian in “name only”?
In today’s Gospel reading (you can read the entire passage below) Christ offers a clear warning against attempting to be a Christian in name only. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven.” It’s Christ’s way of saying, “Just because you sit in Church doesn’t make you a Christian.” We need to do the work of Christ. We must do the will of the Father. What is the will of the Father? Saint Paul says God, “Desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 1.2)
We have work to do as Christians. Our work is to bring the Gospel to others, but to also live the Gospel in our own lives. Don’t be confused about our work, however, because as today’s Gospel teaches many who were shut out of the Kingdom also did work for God. There was still something lacking. “And then will I declare to them, I never knew you.” We have the opportunity to know God. We just need to walk the talk.
The Lord said, "Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'" – Matthew 7.21-23