Friday, January 30, 2015

I Never Knew You; Depart from Me

I don't know about you, but these words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:21-23 are some of the most horrifying words in Scripture.  As a young girl, I used to be terrified, wondering if I was going to make the cut.  If these guys didn't get in to Heaven, then what chance did I have?  I would constantly measure myself and think well, maybe it's not for us to know until we stand before Him on That Day.  Will we be worthy enough to enter in?

We are told in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to test ourselves to see if we're in the faith.  I've been pondering this verse for a few days and posted on my Facebook page for others to test themselves.  For whatever reason, I recently thought of those in Matthew 7 who cry out, "Lord, Lord!"  What disqualifies them from the Kingdom of God?  And can we compare ourselves to them in order to know if we're in the faith?

Ever since that question took root, I knew I'd have to do a study on these verses.  So with some prayer and contemplation, I want to share what I've learned on the subject.

First, Christ lays out the fact of it - not everyone who calls Him Lord, Lord shall enter the Kingdom, BUT he who does the will of His Father.  What is God's will for believers?  That can be found in John 6:29: "that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

We also know elsewhere in Scripture, that those who do the will of God are part of Christ's family (Mark 3:35). Therefore, some who claim, "Lord, Lord" are not in Christ's family.  They also have no faith in Him.  Because of this, they are not born again.  We know from 1 John 5:12 that only those who have the Son of God have life.  These do not have the Son of God.

Now, Christ expounds further on what He has just laid out.  He gets more specific for a purpose, otherwise true children of God would seriously question their own salvation.  Let's take apart these people's excuses from Christ's example and see why they don't measure up to a true Christian.

They say the word, "Lord, Lord" twice, as if to accentuate to the Lord Himself that they really mean it.  In biblical times, repeating something twice had much significance.  If Christ said, "Truly, truly", it meant, "Hey, listen up, this is important."  They then tell Jesus they have prophesied, cast out demons, and have done mighty works in His name.  Let's outline what these things are, first and foremost.

Prophesying can mean two things - you're either foretelling the future as a prophet of God, or you're giving interpretation of Scripture, such as a pastor exposits verse by verse.  

Casting out demons can mean either demon possession, or someone "driving out" the "demon" of sickness or addiction, etc. 

Mighty works means just that, great things such as a big tent revival, reaching millions on TV, or being a missionary to the nations.

Now, let's contrast all these things against the original statement Christ made, that only those who do the Father's will shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  We already know these people do not have the Son and therefore do not have life.  This means whatever "prophesying" they were doing, it was false.  Thus, they are false prophets.  God has some very choice things to say against false prophets in Jeremiah 23.  We know there are no more prophets like Isaiah and Elijah, because God no longer talks to us in that way.  We have been given the full revelation of God in Jesus Christ Himself.  This is proven by Hebrews 1:1-2. So we know out the gate anyone claiming further prophecy of God for the future -- that isn't in chapter and verse -- is a false prophet.  Otherwise, their words would be on par with the Word of God, and we're just not willing to call their prophecies "Scripture".

If these people are pastors or teachers expositing Scripture, then they are either interpreting the Bible in the wrong manner, with the wrong intentions, or with doctrines of demons.

Casting out demons could have been for show, or perhaps deceit on the demons' part to give "validity" to this person's "ministry" to serve their own purpose.  However, Christ told His disciples in Luke 10:20 NOT to rejoice that the demons obeyed them, but to rejoice that their names were written in Heaven.  Because these people bring up the demons obeying them, it would be safe to assume they never rejoiced that their names were written Above.  In other words, pride filled their hearts that demons obeyed them, and they never humbled themselves to rejoice in their salvation.

The mighty works show these people rely on their own strength and righteousness.  They have pride in themselves.  They believe their accomplishments will impress the Lord and get them a pass into the Kingdom - like the Pharisees - banking eternity on themselves instead of surrendering their lives to the finished work of Christ.  Their works have won them much acclaim in life so as to make them comfortable in death, only to find out they weren't saved at all.  These aren't just works, but "mighty" works, assuming big, flashy works hold sway in God's courtroom (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).  This means they have no knowledge of grace.  They underestimated Heaven's currency.  Their "mighty works" are a pittance - filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  Their works cannot make them perfect.  They are not covered in Christ's own perfect righteousness. 

Now, notice how these people say they did all these things "in Your name".  We know they're not in the family of God.  Therefore, they have taken the Lord's name in vain.  Only one who is a citizen of the Kingdom of God can actively and productively do things in Jesus' name.

Notice too how these people do not seem to accept the Lord's Judgment upon them, assuming there must be some mistake.  Instead of accepting His will as His child would do, they argue with Christ!  This arguing is very telling.  Perhaps they also "argued" with Scripture or didn't quite believe or teach what it said in full.  Perhaps that is why they are false prophets, because they chase after their own lusts and what they wanted Scripture to say.  Because of this contrary attitude, they prove Jesus is not the King of their hearts, for their argument is surely the correct one.  "Didn't we...?"

Questioning Jesus' Judgment is questioning the Word of God.  This reveals the very first sin of Adam and Eve.  These that stand before Christ at the Judgment have questioned Christ's integrity.  "He must be wrong.  Didn't we do all these things?  There's a mistake!"  This also insinuates they believe He might be fallible.  And it's obvious they have no fear of God if they're willing to argue with the Judge of all the Earth once their sentence has been read.

Then for Christ's rebuttal.  "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"

Most people think of these words as relational.  These people didn't have any intimacy with Jesus.  They didn't even have any passing knowledge of Him through the revelation of the Scriptures.  If they did, they would have known that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  They wouldn't have doubted His judgment.  They wouldn't have had to unravel their laundry list of why they should be granted entrance into Heaven.  Because they didn't know Christ, they had no relationship with Him which means no prayer life, no study life, and were likely led by mystical feelings and their own false prophecy.

"Knew" in this passage is Strong's #1097, which is "ginosko" in the Greek.  It means to become known, to understand, to know, to become acquainted with, or its sometimes used as a Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse.  It is safe to say, then, that the Lord had no familial relationship with them.

However, it also means something much, much deeper.  "I never knew you."  This assumes not EVER, not just within the span of their lives, but in eternity past.  Christ never knew these - He never FOREknew these as outlined in Romans 8:29-30.  This means these were never called by the Spirit, never written in the Lamb's Book of Life, and never known by God.  


Ultimately, when Christ says, "Depart from Me", what He truly means is, "You have had your reward."

Matthew 6:2, Matthew 6:5, Matthew 6:16

These people might have been able to fool men in life, but they cannot fool the One who can search hearts and minds (Proverbs 15:11). 

Therefore, let us review the traits of these who cry out, "Lord, Lord!"

* They had not love.  They were resounding gongs and clanging cymbals.
* They had not the Son, which means...
* They had not the Father (1 John 2:23)
* They relied on their own works of righteousness for salvation.
* They argued with the King of Glory.
* They questioned the Word of God.
* They had no fear of God.
* They had no prayer life.
* They didn't study the Scripture.
* They didn't trust in Christ's finished work.
* They didn't believe in the grace of God.
* They gave no glory to God for their "mighty works" and took the glory for themselves ("Look what we did!") 

All of these are glaring reasons for why Jesus did not know them.  All of these are excellent examples that we can compare ourselves to in order to test ourselves and see if we're in the faith.  Brethren, we do not need to be worried that we'll "accidentally" fall in to the Lord, Lord crowd.  If you do not resemble them, you will not be counted among them.  These words are not for God's true children.  They are for the charlatans and the ones who only pretend at being disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.  They have fooled others and maybe even fooled themselves, but hopefully God will open their eyes to their deceit and compel them to surrender and rest upon His finished work by His grace alone.

It is my prayer that God opens all our eyes in these trying times to return to our First Love.  And not just because we don't want to go to Hell, but because it is our earnest hope and our greatest desire to be with Him in eternity future as our Beloved Bridegroom and the Lover of our souls.  If the desire of our hearts is to be with Him where He is, no matter the cost to us in this life, then rest assured, we are known of God.

Praise the Lord.

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