From the Word
21 “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.
Matthew 7:21, RSV
If we are to do God’s will, we must first know for a certainty what it is, and how to do it. This our own wisdom and thoughts do not teach, or all men, heathen and Turks, could do it as well, and every fanatic would come and pretend that whatever pleases him was God’s will. Therefore we must hear God’s Word alone, which reveals plainly unto us what the will of God, the Father, is. First that he has sent his only begotten Son into the world to reconcile us sinners unto God by his death, to purify and sanctify us through his blood without our merits; this he has proclaimed to every one by the gospel, and requires you to believe and accept it. Then, when we have received such grace and salvation, have been baptized into Christ and believe, his will is that we should afterwards live accordingly, obey God and do what is commanded in the ten commandments, every one in his calling confess God’s Word, honor and support it, avoid and flee from sin, be good, patient, chaste, modest, kind, faithful and true.
This God will have preached not only with the mouth, but in the heart and in the deed. Whoever neglects this or teaches, believes and acts contrary, should know that he has not done God’s will and is already judged, that he does not belong to the kingdom of heaven, because he is without faith and love. It will do him no good to boast of Christ as though he were serving him faithfully, preached much and did great wonders. On the other hand, if you earnestly do this will of God, cheerfully hear and believe God’s Word, honor him and do good to your neighbor, you can bravely and joyfully say before God: Lord, Lord, and comfort yourself with the kingdom of heaven which God has given you. Whether on this account the world reviles and condemns you need not trouble you. For now you hear that God does not wish you to seek praise and honor when you say: Lord, Lord! But you are to do the deed and bear fruit of him, who does the will of God. Then measure all doctrine and life with this rule to the praise of God and you will not be deceived.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 315–16.