But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him. Matthew 21:28-32
How does anyone inherit eternal life? Who will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven? Jesus makes it very clear in this parable about the Two Sons. As Christ said “Unless you are Born Again , you can see the Kingdom of Heaven” (John 3:3) This is the heart and root of this parable, your religion can’t save you, your family can’t save you, only the blood of Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit can save you! You have to be transformed and renewed, you need to become a New Creature (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The first son, rejected God at first, they were a wretched sinner, however eventually they repented. The word Repent means to change your mind or turn away from, Repentance is vital to your salvation. You must repent of your sins with godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10) You need to be Born Again in Christ, you can’t still be the same sinner you were and claim to be Born Again. As the scripture says “As a dog returns to its own vomit” (Proverbs 26:11) This is the same to someone who claims to have repented yet continues in the same sin, your a dog going back to your own vomit. Remember Repent is to turn away , it’s a change, you need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit!
The other son, claimed to obey God, they claimed to love God, but didn’t do anything God commanded them to do. They are a Lukewarm Christian and Christ said he will vomit them out of his mouth (Revelation 3:15-16) They are the most repulsive people to God, those who claim to be religious yet live like a devil. Those who have not truly repented, have never become Born Again in Christ, they have never received the Holy Spirit, yet they claim they are a Christian. They live for the world instead of Christ, they live for power and prestige, they are not saved because they have not done the will of our Heavenly Father
There is a clear line drawn between the saved and the unsaved. Jesus said “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15) From the beginning of Christ ministry, he preached repentance for salvation. Yet today we have watered down the gospel so much, everyone believes they are saved without repentance. They are like the second son, claiming to love God, but their fruits (Matthew 7) their lives tell a different story
Jesus ends this parable with a shocking statement “The tax collectors and the prostitutes will enter the Kingdom of God before you” I believe this was directed at the religious leaders listening. Religion won’t save your soul, only Jesus Christ can save your soul, Repent and believe the gospel , Amen!