Have you ever noticed there are some very hard sayings in scripture? They are generally words that we can be tempted to either skip over or forget about; sometimes intentionally because they challenge or scare us. Let’s consider Matthew 7: 21-23:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
What does this mean? Clearly, the people in this situation thought they were doing the work of a Christ-follower and expected to be included in those who would enter the Kingdom. Yet Jesus says to them, “I never knew you.” I don’t know about you, but this statement certainly gives me pause! It brings up many questions in my mind and makes me want to take an up close look at who I am. What does a true believer look like? We can go back and take a look at Matthew 5, 6 and 7 for some answers. Is it enough to just believe in Jesus Christ? After all, James 2:19 says that even the demons believe that there is one true God and because of that they tremble or shudder. They certainly won’t be entering the Kingdom of God. Maybe it just isn’t as simple as some today make it seem. How many times have I heard it said “believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” Are we propagating cheap grace? Fire insurance? and numbers? or are we truly interested in making disciples as Christ instructed? It is certainly worth consideration!
Romans 10:8-9 tells us: “8 But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART “– that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.…” How if we have done this, do we go from salvation to depart from me, I never knew you? Have we come to a place or are we coming to a place in the western world where we teach about salvation and then drop the ball when it comes to scantification? Do professing Christians look decidedly different in their lifestyle than non-believers?
I want to be careful here to explain. I am not talking about looking different by telling everyone they are going to hell because… 9you can fill in the blank0. Nor am I talking about people who go around telling everyone one what they are doing wrong and why in a judgemental and condescending way. That is not how Jesus worked! Jesus met people where they were along His way and He loved them. Did He tell the woman at the well and others about their life, yes. But He did so in a way that compelled her to go back to her people and tell them about this man who told her all about her life and invited them to know Him. That tells me He was gentle and loving because judgemental and condescending generally does not produce positive results but anger and resentment.
Another possibility is that we in the western world do not understand the concept of Lord. Most have never been under an immediate autority other than our parent(s). We may have been under authority at work where we are ‘paid’ to do as we are told. AS a whole, we are very independent and most often whether right or wrong self-governed people. Submission to someone else is quite foreign to many of us. Christianity is all about submission to Christ. Paul said follow me as I follow Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1). Christ is our ultimate example of how we are to live our lives. His life was lived according to what Father God asked of Him. The mark of a true believer/follower is to be conformed to the image of Christ. Everyday our life should look a little more like His if we are truly His followers.
Perhaps one explanation of the above scripture is that those Jesus would say this to were attracted to the power and miracles but not to the person of Christ. Maybe they imitated His outward actions but did not imitate His personality or inner behavior. Perhaps they lacked the heart connection that comes from a personal relationship with the Lord and were using Him for what He could do for Him rather than having the heart of one who follows and serves. Could it be that the pull of the world and love of worldy pleasures were just to great for them to lay down or overcome? How are we doing personally? Is the pull of the world greater than our desire to become more like Jesus? Who do we look like? The world? Or are we being conformed from glory to glory into the image of Jesus Christ? Preaching to myself here…
Heavenly Father, thank you for Your grace and mercy to Your people! Lord, thank you that wisdom is available to each of us if we ask You for it. I pray that you will give us a heart for You and to be Christ’s representative’s on this earth; loving others as He loved us and walking out the Fruit of the Spirit with each step we take. I ask that Your Bride will arise and walk differently in this world, that we will be known for our love each other and for others and that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control will dominate our lives and touch the lives of all who are around us. May there be unity among the body and may revival breakout beginning with the body of Christ. In the mighty and powerful name of Jesus Christ!
May grace and peace be multiplied through all who believe!