And why call you me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
I. In the first place, OUTWARD OBEDIENCE IS THE NECESSARY FRUIT, AND THE ABSOLUTE TEST OF INWARD LIFE. He alone will enter into the kingdom of heaven "that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven." Let us pause over the words. They cannot refer to the man who accidentally does the will of God because it so happens that his pleasure coincides with God's pleasure, just as a person may walk in the same path as another without intending to be his companion. In such an act there would be no inward element. But they must refer to the man who intentionally does God's will; does it, that is, because it is God's will; independently of any further consideration of whether it be pleasant or not in itself. Observe, therefore, there is no picking and choosing in such an obedience. The word "doeth" does not mean intention, profession, or promise, but action in those practical details of actual life, which make up the real sum total of human existence. A saving religion is not that which is up in the air, but that which plants its sacred feet on the solid earth of daily life. Such a religion is exceedingly difficult, and there is one power alone which can accomplish it in us. It is the power of God. To use an respired illustration, "we are God's workmanship." Not only does an artist's work show the genius of the artist, but every artist has his own touch and style. We look at an exquisite picture, and we recognize the hand of the painter: we exclaim, with undoubting confidence, "Raphael," "Guido," "Rembrandt." Thus when we look at a true Christian who bears and reflects Christ all over him, we say, "God." That is God's work; God's Spirit alone can have done that. God is "admired in His saints, and glorified in all them that believe." And how can it be otherwise if we reverse the order, and, instead of looking from the act to the principle, trace the principle down into the act? For what is salvation, but deliverance from sin; and what is sin, but opposition to the will of God? To be saved, therefore, is to be brought into conformity with God's will. A good man is full of the Holy Ghost. Bat the Holy Ghost can no more abide in a heart without making it holy, without compelling it by the most sweet inward necessity to do God's will, than there can be a sun without light, a stream without water, a summer without flowers, a life without activity.
II. But there is another point of view from which the lesson may be regarded. OUTWARD OBEDIENCE MY BE, IN THE HANDS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THE INSTRUMENT OF INWARD LIFE, AND THEREFORE, WHERE INWARD LIFE ALREADY EXISTS, THE MEANS AND STIMULANT OF A HIGHER GROWTH IN GRACE. A man is truly in earnest, and sets himself without reserve to do God's will as he finds it in His Word. What is the first experience that such a man will gain? what his earliest lesson, his first upward step Godward, although it be apparently a step downward into the dark? I say that it is a knowledge of failure and of sin. He cannot keep God's will in its inward spirit and power through the weakness of his flesh. Must he not ask himself why he fails? Ah, why, indeed, but from indwelling sin I Thus there flashes upon the soul a sense of sin and a consciousness of guilt before God. And when the soul once stands face to face with this truth, the impossibility of self-righteousness and of doing God's will as he fondly thought in his own strength must become clear as the flash of the sunshine. "Then I am a helpless sinner," he exclaims, "vile and worthless, and where shall I find help and hope? If I cannot save myself, who can save me?" He flings the arms of his faith around the feet of the dying Jesus, and cries out, "My Lord and my God, my Saviour, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification."
(E. Garbett, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?