Since doing "the will of my Father" is critical to entering the kingdom (Matthew 7:21), it is important to understand the topic of God's will in the gospels. What exactly does this phrase mean?

The Evidence

The way to understand what a phrase means is to see how it is used. The following items illustrate how the "will of God" or the "will of the Father" is used.

A. Jesus doing the Father's will

1. At the cross

MT 26:42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, You will be done."

LK 22:42 saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done."
2. In ministry, bringing salvation to people
MT 18:14 "Thus it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

JN 4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.

JN 5:30 "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

JN 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

JN 6:39 "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

JN 6:40 "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."
B. Men doing the Father's will
MT 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.

MT 12:50 "For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother."

MT 21:31 "Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The latter." Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax-gatherers and harlots will get into the kingdom of God before you.

MK 3:35 "For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother."

JN 9:31 "We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing, and does His will, He hears him.
C. Men Eager to See God's will done
MT 6:10 `Thy kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.`
D. Knowing God's will
LK 12:47 "And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, ...

JN 7:17 "If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.

The Meaning

"Doing the will of God" is generally a euphemism for obeying God. In a minority of cases, the "will of God" is not something that can be "done" by anyone, but it is an abstract way of representing God's providential plan or desires (e.g. Mt 6:10), especially the salvation of mankind (see item A.2 above).