When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, "Lord, Lord, open for us," He will answer and say to you, "I do not know you." ... There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. (Luke 13:25-28)The professor did not contradict this woman. He agreed that this verse made him uneasy. Would he be one to whom the Lord says, "I never knew you"?
After a period of deep distress (anfechtung) for me, a pastor preached the gospel to me and assured me of Jesus' promises and that His death atoned for my sins and that in baptism He claimed me as His own. Thanks be to God for Tom Baker!
this section of Luke came up recently in Bible class. I know too many people who quote verse 24 ("strive to enter through the narrow gate") as if it were preaching salvation-by-works. C'mon! You have to strive! You have to do what's right! The entryway to heaven is narrow, so you better get it right, and do all the right things!
So I had questions.
Pastor talked about how our "striving" is not so much striving to do all the right things, dot the i's and cross the t's, and pile up our goodness. It is striving against the Old Adam -- the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh (Galatians 5). Our "striving" is when our sinful nature is drowned daily and dies with all sins and evil desires. Our striving is putting to death that inherent pride which thinks God will look on us in kindness because we've been such good Christians.
He "knows you" by lavishing forgiveness upon you. And if you can't be sure that Jesus knows you, it's because you are relying (at least to some extent) on your works.
I love it when Pastor goes on a rant-of-sweetness about certainty, about the promises Jesus has made to us, and how He is the one who holds onto us.