by Mike Ratliff
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? ’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)
This life here and now on planet Earth is only a small fragment of reality. I once encountered a fellow who tried to shut this blog down with his hateful attack on me and everyone who commented here. One of his attacks was that we are paying way too much attention to eternity. In his “theology” we needed to forget all about that and treat it as a myth because this life is what its all about. Even though most professing Christians would not agree with that statement they actually appear to live out their life here and now as if what that fellow said was true. For instance, some “church services” appear to be little more than rock concerts these days in an attempt to make a select group of people happy and keep them coming back each Sunday.
One of the best tests of the veracity of how we live this life here and now is how it will appear in the moment of death, in the morning of resurrection, and at the day of judgment. That is the true reality my brethren. That is why we must not become so tied down to this life and the things that most people cling to in order to have “significance.” In Matthew 7 our Lord gives us a picture of certain persons as they will appear “in that day.” What is seen as “valuable” or “desirable” should be viewed within the light of “that day.” I am positive that if we will do that it will change a great deal of how we live now.
For instance, I have been in some form of Information Technology since 1973. I probably have forgotten more about computers than the majority of people know. There are times that I find myself “lusting” after the latest and greatest monitors or computers or printers. What I have now works just fine so I don’t “need” those things, but they are way cool! I can discover myself lusting after these things as if I just have to have them. However, I have begun to analyze what I am pursuing like this in light of eternity. When I do that I quickly realize how foolish it is to be so wrapped up in “stuff.” Then those “desires” just melt away. This works for money, sports cars, cameras, and nice new houses too.
Riches, honors, pleasures, successes, self-congratulations, et cetera should all be set in the light of “that day.” This test should especially be applied to all religious professions and exercises. Why? It will happen in “that day” that all of these things will be tried by fire. Now let us look at our Lord’s exposition of what will happen on “that day.” He uses the example of certain professing Christians who went a long way in their religion.
Read the passage I placed at the top of this post (Matthew 7:21-23) if you haven’t already then come back here. In that passage we see that these folks made an open profession of faith. They called Jesus, “Lord, Lord!” Most Christians I know would look upon people who professed Christ like that as brothers and sisters in the Lord. These folks also undertook Christian service at the highest level. They habitually prophesied and worked miracles. They obtained remarkable success in that they appeared to be casting out demons. They had high energy as well as they had done many wonders. These folks were not just pew sitters. Their ministries actually astonished most people. They were diligently orthodox in that they did everything in the name of Christ. These folks sound like Christian leaders who had it all together.
They kept it up for a long time and were not silenced by men. However, as we read in this passage, the were not genuine, but no one discovered their falsehood, or detected their inconsistencies. They were not openly disowned by the Lord Himself during life. They were not made a laughing stock by being left to use the Holy Name without result like the Jewish itinerant exorcists Luke wrote about in Acts 19:13-17. Demons were actually cast out. Because of all of this, these folks expected to enter the Kingdom. They clung to that false hope right unto “that day” then they dared to say, “Lord, Lord,” to Christ Himself.
However, these folks were fatally mistaken. They spoke like Christians and claimed many good works, but what they spoke was belied by what they actually did. Even though they said, “Lord, Lord,” they were not doing the will of the Father. They used His name, which is used by genuine disciples in their walks and works, but they did not possess the nature of obedient servants.
46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? (Luke 6:46 ESV)
They prophesied, but did not pray. They cast our demons, but Satan was not cast out of them. They surrounded themselves with marvels, but no essentials. They produced wonders, but were also workers of iniquity. Who does this sound like in our day my brethren?
However, these folks found out the truth in a terrible way. They obviously had some knowledge of our Lord and professed that He was theirs, however, please take careful notice of these truths. Our Lord solemnly stated, “I never knew you.” They claimed to know Him, but that is not the standard by which men are saved. No, the saved, the genuine Christians, are known by the Lord. He had been omitted from their religion.
Notice that what our Lord said to them must have created terror beyond our understanding. He told them that they must depart from all hope, and continue forever in that departure. Our Lord always speaks the truth my brethren. What He said to these folks is the truth, but it is an awful truth. They were utter strangers to His heart. He had not chosen them, nor communed with them, nor approved them, nor cared for them. Our Lord’s command, “depart form me,” would never be recalled, altered, or ended. No, it will stand for eternity.
Now my brethren, what about you and I? Can the Lord say to some of us that He does not know us? He has often heard our voices and answered our prayers, right? He has known us in repentance as we sought mercy and received it. He has known us in gratitude as we blessed His gracious name. He has known us in adversity as we sought His aid and thrived through the fire as He came along side. He has known us in reproach as we became targets for those who despise Him. He has known us in difficulty as we sought His help and safety under His wing. He has known us in love as we have enjoyed happy fellowship with Him. In these things and in innumerable others, He knows us.
Does Jesus know you? Your church may know you. The place of your employment may know you. The world knows you, but does Jesus know you?
Note our Lord’s open confession before men and angels, and specially to the men themselves: “I never knew you.” I knew about you; I knew that you professed great things; but you had no acquaintance with me; and whatever you knew about me, you did not know me. I was not of your company, and did not know you. Had he once known them, he would not have forgotten them.
Those who accept his invitation, “Come unto me,” shall never hear him say, “Depart from me.” Workers of iniquity may now come to the Savior for mercy; but if they set up a hope of their own, and ignore the Savior, he will bid them depart to endure the rigors of his justice. Is it not striking that preachers, casters-out of devils, and doers of wonders, may yet be workers of iniquity? They may work miracles in Christ’s name, and yet have neither part nor lot in him. – Charles Spurgeon
Come unto Him all ye who are being called by Him and find eternal life in Him. Then He will know you.
Soli Deo Gloria