Why does Jesus not allow [those] even doing works in his name into heaven?
Answer: Because they did not do what he asked!
Question: So, What did He tell us to do?
John 3:5: "Truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water
[baptism] and [born of] the Spirit he cannot enter
into the kingdom of God"
What is that?
1. Born of water.
2. Born of the Spirit.
So, how is being "born of water" not baptism?
The remaining question: What is being "born of the Spirit?"
This one is more subtle. People will vary on their responses to this question. However, let us consider this: Who wrote Scripture? The apostles/disciples? Well, sure. But, Who else? The Holy Spirit.
Now, how can we be born of the Holy Spirit? We can immerse ourselves in Scripture — the Word of God. While many believe there are other ways, this one is a slam dunk. If we immerse ourselves in the Bible, we are internalizing the Mind of God, delivered by the Holy Spirit. Whatever else we think, it is secondary to this fact.
We must also hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized. We must then live godly lives. Only if we do these things will we inherit eternal life.
It is truly amazing that so many will completely disregard this response. They will call it "legalistic" or use any number of other denigrating terms to convince themselves, and others, that this is unnecessary. And, they all sound perfectly convincing when they tell you this.
Following Christ's directions, that is, obeying Him is actually very simple, and it gets much easier over time. First, let us understand that belief in Christ is "a work":
John 6:28-29: "Therefore they said to Him, 'What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.'”
All of the conditions of salvation are "works." Christ's Law is comprised of the essential works of:
1. Hearing the Word (Rom. 10:17;
2. Believing in Christ as Savior (Jn. 6:29);
3. Repenting of sins (Acts 26:20);
4. Confessing that Christ is Lord (Matt. 10:32);
5. Being baptized — immersed — in pure water, and,
6. Living a sustained life of godliness.
Many people reading this will reject baptism. They will offer any number of excuses why baptism is irrelevant. Is it really so hard to convince those that they are in a very precarious situation and do not realize it?
You had better believe it is!
People will resort to almost anything to reject these simple truths. That is why Christ will tell them, "I never knew you — depart from me!" The simple fact is, they utterly refuse to do what He asked. Their almost unanimous responses are "baptism is a work!" "Works are unnecessary in the New Testament!", "baptism is merely an outer sign of an inner grace", etc., etc.
James explains the following: "Faith without works is dead" (Jas. 2:26). Number (6) above includes worship consisting of prayer, communion, songs, and biblically-founded preaching. It also includes studying the Word of God (as above, immersing oneself in the Holy Spirit).
Omitting vital obedience to Christ is why "those who seem to be doing good works, even ones that might be associated with very committed Christian [behavior]" are actually lost. God expects obedience before all burnt offerings and sacrifices (metaphorically)! This has always been true: God does not change.
The rest we finally enter, our Promised Land in Christ, is an eternal rest with God, the New Testament Sabbath. Such obedience to God will result in:
Salvation, Forgiveness, Justification, and Newness of life in Christ.