by Mike Ratliff
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.’ Matthew 7:21-23 (NASB)
The best test of everything is not how it appears here and now. Unlike those preachers who draw throngs of people to hear their, “Have your best life now!” sermons, those with real godly wisdom know that the best tests of everything is how it will appear in the moment of death, in the morning of resurrection, and at the day of judgment. Thankfully, the Word of God does give us the truth about these things. Let’s take a long slow look at Matthew 7:21-23 where our Lord lays it out very clearly about people who will find that what they believed to be true about their eternal state is nothing more than the product of self-deception.
First, they went a long way in religion. They called Jesus, “Lord, lord!” They were busy in a high level of Christian service. It appears that they were very successful in that service. They had a high level of energy in their service. They appeared religiously orthodox. They did everything in the name of Christ.
Second, they kept up this level of service for a long time. Men did not silence them. The Lord did not openly disown them during their lives. They fully expected to enter the Kingdom. They clung to that false hope even as the Lord was denying that he had ever known them.
Third, they were fatally mistaken. They prophesied, but did not pray, They cast our demons, but God did not regenerate them so that would be free of Satan and his demons. They sought to do mighty works in Jesus name, but they ignored the essentials of “Faith Alone.” Works of lawlessness or iniquity accompanied their mighty works.
Fourth, they found out their hope was false in a terrible way. Jesus solemnly tells them, “I never knew you!” They were religious, but they had omitted Jesus from their religion. With Jesus’ solemn words they would become full of terror of what was implied. They had a false hope, which they must now abandon forever. These people must stand before our Lord stunned at the awful truth of what He said to them. They were utter strangers to His heart. Our Lord had not chosen them nor communed with them nor approved them nor did He care for them. Our Lord’s solemn statement to these people was one of permanence. It would never be recalled, altered, or ended. He told them, “Depart from me!” That is a separation from Him forever.These people were religious and would be looked upon in our day as “Christians,” however, it is our Lord’s knowledge of the truth that counts, not what we believe to be true.
5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB)
We must make a close self-examination here. Are we in the faith? If we are looking to our religion as the evidence of saving faith then we are looking at the wrong area. Do we know Him? Is He truly Lord of our lives? Are we looking at our works for assurance instead of our relationship with Him and at the good works He is doing in us to conform us into His image? The worst time and place to discover the awful truth of a bankrupt faith is as we stand before the Lord. This life is all the time we have to get right with Him. Do you know Him and does He know you?
Soli Deo Gloria!