I Never Knew You
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV)
Jesus spoke here of a proper verbal confession, where these ones called Jesus Lord. This is vital, but never enough by itself.
We must use the language of “Lord, Lord,” we cannot be saved if we do not. Though hypocrites may say it, we should not be ashamed to say it. Yet it alone is not enough.
This warning of Jesus applies to people who speak or say things to Jesus or about Jesus, but don’t really mean it. It isn’t that they believe Jesus is a devil; they simply say the words very superficially. Their mind is elsewhere, but they believe there is value in the bare words and fulfilling some kind of religious duty with no heart, no soul, not spirit – only bare words and passing thoughts.
This warning of Jesus applies to people who say “Lord, Lord,” and yet their spiritual life has nothing to do with their daily life. They go to church, perhaps fulfill some daily religious duties, yet sin against God and man just as any other might. “There are those that speak like angels, live like devils; that have Jacob’s smooth tongue, but Esau’s rough hands.” – John Trapp
I Never Knew You
It is staggering that Jesus claimed He is the one that people must stand before on that final day of judgment, and He is the one rightly called Lord. This obscure teacher in a backwater part of the world claimed to be the judge of all men in that day.
By saying “in that day” Jesus drew our attention to a coming day of judgment for all men. “What is the chief object of your life? Will you think as much of it “in that day” as you do now? Will you then count yourself wise to have so earnestly pursued it? You fancy that you can defend it now, but will you be able to defend it then, when all things of earth and time will have melted into nothingness?” – Charles Spurgeon
The people Jesus speaks of here had impressive spiritual accomplishments. They prophesied, cast out demons, and had done many wonders. These are wonderful things, but they meant nothing without true fellowship, true connection with Jesus.
Jesus did not seem to doubt their claims of doing the miraculous. He didn’t say, “You didn’t really prophesy or cast out demons or do miracles.” This leads us to understand that sometimes miracles are granted through pretended believers, reminding us that in the final analysis, miracles prove nothing.
Significantly, they even did these things in the name of Jesus. Yet, they never really had a relationship of love and fellowship with Jesus. “Through my love.”
“Through my love to the souls of men, I blessed your preaching; but yourselves I could never esteem because you were destitute of the spirit of my Gospel, unholy in your hearts, and unrighteous in your conduct.” – Adam Clarke
“If preaching could save a man, Judas would not have been damned. If prophesying could save a man, Balaam would not have been a castaway.” – Charles Spurgeon
In the end, there is one basis of salvation; it isn’t mere verbal confession, not “spiritual works,” but knowing Jesus and being known by Him. It is our connection to Him – by the gift of faith that He gives to us; that secures our salvation. Connected to Jesus we are secure; without connection to Him, all the miracles and great works prove nothing.
In addition, these are not people who lost their salvation. Instead, they never truly had it (I never knew you).
Those words, “I never knew you,” are among the saddest words Jesus will ever utter. Those words would be the worst words ever heard by those people.
Lord God, we seek to know You and to make You known. We want to know You more each and every day. Help us to live out and share the good news of Jesus Christ. In Jesus name, Amen.
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