Well, I simply chose the muscle, because muscle atrophy parallels soul atrophy so well. I think by now, you and I know the difference between human works and God's works. If anyone reading this page doesn't understand that fundamental principle, then they probably shouldn't be reading our conversation in the first place. Anyways, Paul likens the spiritual life to running a race. You could say that implies work, but it really doesn't, because we are the craftsmanship of God.
I'm always like that because I have my brain running everything in a sort of autocorrect. So even if I forget things, I'll still come to the same conclusions based on the mental database. Ergo, 'muscle' can never be likened to spiritual growth (in my mind).
Paul likens the kingship to a 'race' because of the variables (re: prizes & contestants), but it's not a 'muscle race' and Hebrews 12:1 explains that:
1 Corinthians 9:24 Don't you know that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore seeing we are also compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Matt 7:21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
I think you should look at Matt 7:21 in its full context. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt 25) the foolish virgins (who are believers too) say "LORD, LORD", and our Lord's response is "Amen, I do not know you".
The will of the Father begins
with believing in His Son, but that is just the beginning
. To complete His will, you must abide in Christ
I have read Matthew 7 in its entirety, all believers enter via believing Christ paid for sins. To say its maturity instead is not grace. What makes it different from Matthew 25 is the inclusion of 'the will of the father'.
I'm not sure if the foolish virgins are believers as well in that parable (to be honest it's one of the parables I just didn't like and never bothered to look into it deeply)-- because they didn't have any oil and had to buy some. However, oddly enough Christ brings up the Lord, Lord in Luke 6:
Luke 6:46 And why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and don't do the things which I say?
Luke 6:47 Whoever comes to me, and hears my sayings, and does them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
However, there's no guarantee that ALL of the people Christ was speaking to were believers.
And of course that brings us back to Luke 13:
Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
Luke 13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
Luke 13:26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
Luke 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
Luke 13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
Notice it doesn't mention outer darkness this time to those who CAN'T enter? But it does mention wailing and gnashing of teeth which is also linked to outer darkness (every single time). And the whole reason why this group of people is being 'thrust out'. However, if these were unbelievers, why were they IN the kingdom and then sent out? And of course then that trickles back down to Luke 6, Matthew 25, and Matthew 7-- implying that it's not unbeliever exclusive.
So it's a full circle again, however the fact that belief is all that is required to ENTER should not be broken.
(I'd take a look more into some of the OLTs, but I had to reinstall windows and don't have BW9 installed atm).