“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.  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?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23
This is the scariest passage in the Bible. In this little parable Jesus shows a group of people who are refused entry into heaven. They were never known by Him. They claim to have prophesied, cast out demons, and done mighty works. This claim is not refuted by Jesus. But still they are forced to depart from Him.
It should first of all stand out to us, as it had to have for those listening to the Sermon on the Mount, that Jesus is claiming that He will be judging in those days. That is a pretty incredible claim.
These are supposedly exemplary Christians. These are not dirty rotten sinners hearing these words. They are externally excellent. – How many of you prophesy, cast out demons, or do might works? Got a lot of healings under your belt? They say the right things and the do great work and wonders. They say that they do these things in God’s name but they are also claiming that they are doing them and not God doing it through them.
These are exemplary Christians and would be all-stars in our churches, but they get it wrong. Prophesied things about other people- but did they pray? They cast devils out of others, but what about the devil in them? They did marvels, but not the essentials. Did they serve others, pray in secret, did they have meekness, did their hearts break for the wounds of others?
How many Presbyterians are going to get to heaven and say- “Lord, Lord, didn’t I show up to Sunday most weeks, put money in the offering plate, serve as a liturgist, do coffee hour, serve on session, serve on the deacons…?”
Just because God is using you does not mean that your relationship is right with God. The opposite is clearly expressed in the life of Job. Just because your life is not going well does not mean that your relationship is wrong with God. God does with us what God wants.
I think this is so scary because it makes it difficult to know where we stand with God. Are we known by God or not? I am especially terrified by these verses as a pastor. Am I leading people to Christ or just to the church? How many of my people will hear the words “I never knew you” on that day?
But to understand this passage, you have to read it with the next passage. I will explore that in my next blog.
This blog is based on a recent sermon. You can listen to the sermon at http://jordanrimmer.podbean.com/e/the-scariest-passage-in-the-bible/.