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 who is in heaven.
That is to say: “I shall close heaven against the very ones who serve Me, who think that their cause is the best, who are seriously endeavoring to get into the kingdom of heaven, and who think they have it, in preference to everyone else.” It is a frightening judgment, that no one is deeper in hell than the great servants of God, the most saintly monks. Since the devil is a villain who cannot hide his own villainy, he has made up a proverb to poke fun at his own saints, which says: “Hell is paved with nothing but tonsures.”38 This is the same thing that Christ says here, that those who brag about being the greatest saints shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Why? “Because,” He says, “they say, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but they do not do the will of My Father who is in heaven.” What? Do you mean that they are not doing the will of God when they serve God day and night and work miracles besides, as we shall see? If they shall not be saved, what is to be the fate of the great common crowd? Answer: You hear him saying no to this and making a distinction between saying, “Lord, Lord,” and doing the will of His Father. He says: “The ones I want are those who do My Father’s will. I do not want those who incessantly cry, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and come with their great devotion as if I had to lift them up to heaven. They hope, in fact, they count on getting to heaven themselves, and also on bringing others in by their merit, on occupying high thrones, and on getting special crowns.” They boast defiantly: “Should not a Carthusian merit more and have a higher rank in heaven than an ordinary layman or a wife? Otherwise, what is he doing in the monastery with his ascetic life?” But it does not say: “Carthusians or servants of God39 enter heaven,” but “those who do the will of God.”
To do the will of God does not mean to put on cowls or gray coats or to run away from human society into the monastery. It is not written that we should do those things, but that Christ preached and taught this: that we should believe in Christ and be found in a calling that has a word of God, and do in it what He has commanded. Take the Ten Commandments in hand, and look how St. Paul teaches all the stations on the basis of these (Rom. 13:8–10): There should be fidelity and obedience from inferiors to superiors, and among the others there should be mutual love and service, and everyone should perform his office faithfully. You find nothing here about clericalism or monasticism, about gray coats, or about any other special way of life. Now, whoever lives according to this, does the will of God, as Christ Himself has testified. These are the ones who belong in heaven, not the ones who neglected the Word of God and yet supposed that they were serving God very seriously and devoutly by saying the word twice, “Lord, Lord,” while the rest of us hardly say it once. They are always busier and more energetic in their worship than the genuine Christians; but since they have been doing their own will, they had better look for another Lord to hear them and to open up heaven for them. By this He intends to warn us again that we should be careful not to let ourselves be seduced by those who present such great and wonderful services, even if they work miracles. We should abide by what He calls good so that everything proceeds and is done on the basis of His commandment, though it may not be very ostentatious or pleasing to reason. He has given us the sure indication that no schismatic spirit will be able to abide by that or be able to teach about good fruit, much less to bear it, but only about his own ideas, spun out of his own head.
Now, the first ones whom Christ rejects are those who come and fill the world with worship, as He predicted about them in Matthew 24:5, 23, 24: “Many false Christs and false prophets will arise and say: ‘Lo, here is Christ!’ or, ‘There He is!’ and they will lead many astray.” Next come others, who not only say, “Lord, Lord,” but also do great wonders and signs. About these He says now:
Luther, M. (1999, c1956). Vol. 21: Luther's works, vol. 21 : The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (21:268). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.