I Never Knew You – Part 2

Play

What did Jesus mean, when He said in Matthew 7:23 “I never knew you; depart from me”? 

What Jesus is referring to here is not an intellectual knowledge but a relationship.

To understand a verse, we always have start with the context.  Jesus is wrapping up His Sermon on the Mount with a final warning.  Jesus foresees that false prophets will be coming as wolves in sheep’s clothing. (Matthew 7:15)  They may appear to have religious authority, but they will not belong to the Lord. 

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew youdepart from me, ye that work iniquity.” 

The phrase “In that day” is used throughout the Bible to refer to a future time of judgment.  A day when people – but not all – will stand before God and be judged.  I say, not all – because this judgment will not include those who have been saved through their belief on Jesus Christ.  The judgment for those believer’s eternal destiny was done on the cross.  Their sins were laid upon Jesus who paid the penalty for them.  When we repent and trust in Him – we receive forgiveness of our sins and His righteousness is imputed to us. (2 Corinthians 5:21).  We also receive the gift of eternal life (John 3:16) and the gift of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. (John 16:13) We are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

So, this judgment spoken of in Matthew 7 is the Great White Throne Judgment written about in Revelation 20:11?

That’s right, Elder.  It is a judgment of non-believers – AND it’s a judgment of works.  Those who think their good works will merit salvation – who place their faith in the “many wonderful works” of their flesh – will be judged according to those works.

But for the believers who trust that it is by Jesus’s work – not ours – they will have been made worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.    

When Jesus spoke those words in Matthew 7:21-23, he had just finished talking about how we can judge false prophets by their fruit. (Matthew 7:15-20)  The passage is very clear.  It speaks of wolves that look like sheep, thorns that look like grapes, and thistles that look like figs.  Jesus spoke of the contrast of good or fruitful trees and corrupt trees with bad fruit. 

Man’s fruits are his works.  We cannot judge the heart of man, but we can judge his works.  Both the profession of faith in Christ and the evidence of the fruits of faith and love should be apparent in every believer’s life. 

It seems that those in the Matthew 7 passage have evidence of good fruit – but are denied by Jesus.  That seems confusing.

 

Let me clarify it for you.  Matthew 7:21 says, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the WILL of my Father which is in heaven.”  We have to ask – What is the will of the Father?

Since Jesus was obedient to the Father’s will – by living a perfect life and atoning for our sins on the cross – couldn’t we say that salvation is the will of God the Father?     

Exactly!  Only, those who do the Father’s will – by accepting Jesus’ work – will be known by God and be allowed to enter heaven.

The people spoken of in Matthew 7:22 are those who are numbered in the group Jesus spoke of in verse 21.  They will not enter the kingdom of heaven because they have not done the Father’s will.  They have not trusted in Christ.  Therefore, God does not know them. 

It says in verse 22 that Jesus will judge them by their words and their works.  So, in that day of judgment they will call upon Jesus as Lord.  But on what basis do they know, Him?  They spoke of the worthiness of their good works – not the work Jesus did to secure salvation for mankind.   


Elder Young

So, your saying they were being self-righteous by boasting about their works?


Chris

That’s right!  They have not understood that salvation can’t be earned.  When Jesus saves us, we enter into a relationship with Him.  We know Him and He knows us!   

Jesus makes it even more clear when, after saying in verse 23 “depart from me” He adds, “you that work iniquity.”  Meaning, works done for our own self-centered reasons do not glorify our Father in Heaven.  If these people truly knew Jesus, they would be praising His works, not their own works.


Elder Young

Aren’t we supposed to do good works?

 

Chris

Jesus was asked by some men in John 6:28 “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”  Here’s His response in verse 29 “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”   

Paul describes how those who are born again by faith in Christ will produce good works of love – to the glory of God.  Would you please read Ephesians 2:8-10

“For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

When Jesus said, “I never knew you,” He meant that He never recognized them as His true disciples or His friends.  There never was a relationship established.  They had no intimacy with Christ. 


Elder Young

So, your saying it’s all about a relationship with Jesus?


Chris

 

It is!  

Podcasts

Come Follow Me

Listen on Google Play Music

Talking to Mormons

Print

Atonement – Part 1

Play
Play

From the Missionary Guide – Preach My Gospel it says, “Our Father’s plan for us to be successful in this life and to return to live with Him is called the gospel of Jesus Christ, with Jesus’ Atonement at the center of that plan.  He satisfied the demands of justice when he stood in our place and suffered the penalty for our sins.  Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can receive eternal life if we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent, are baptized by immersion for the remission of sins, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying of hands, and strive to keep His commandments to the end of our lives.”

I agree with some of what is said.  But, beyond exercising faith in Jesus Christ that He paid the penalty for our sins, nothing else is necessary or required of us to obtain eternal life. 

The Guide also says, “In paying the penalty for our sins, Jesus did not, however eliminate our personal responsibility.  We must show Him that we will follow His commandments.”

So, there is no assurance of having eternal life, unless you prove yourself worthy by working diligently to keep ALL, of His commandments? 

Mormons also believe that, through the Atonement of Christ they can qualify for exaltation through obedience to all the laws and ordinances and first principles of the gospel. (Preach My Gospel)

Mormonism says that a person’s salvation must be earned.  But this is not a biblical concept, in any way, shape, or form. 

Acts 10:43

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”

Paul validates that message in two of his epistles. 

Colossians 2:13-15 and Ephesians 1:13-14

“And you, being dead in your sins, and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”                                                                                                     

And then in Ephesians, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise.  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Paul is declaring that all sins – past, present, and future – are said to be forgiven, once for all. 

The author of Hebrews says in chapter 10 verse 10 that “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Verse 14 adds, “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

Note the emphasis on these verses:  We are sanctified – made holy and perfect – through His atonement, when we accept Jesus as our Savior. 

Please continue reading verses 15-18 in Ephesians chapter 1.

“Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.  Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”

But don’t you have to have good works in order to be saved?

Well, those good works come from the effects of the Atonement in our lives.  When we accept Christ’s payment for our sins, we become new creatures in Him. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” 

Paul goes on in verses 18-21, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”


Are you trying to say  – the acts of our sinful nature are replaced with the fruit of the Spirit – which is love.

For a Christian, good works are done out of gratitude for the gift that has been received – the gift of eternal life. 

Print