“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!’”
Jesus continues his thought on false teaching of the previous verses by showing that religious profession does not mean biblical reality or authenticity.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven,
The repetition of the word “Lord” indicates robust religious zeal. Religious profession is not equivalent to biblical authenticity. There are many religious fakers out there. Religious zealots will not enter the kingdom simply because of religion.
but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
The Greek word for “but” denotes sharp contrast. The central thesis rests on doing “the will of My Father.” All true belief revolves around the will of God’s thinking and purpose represented in Scripture.
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?’
“That day” is the day of ultimate judgment. Religious people will claim at the judgment that they performed spectacular religious activities. Use of the “name” of Christ to back religious activity does not prove authenticity. The question in the Greek expects a positive answer but, to their shock, these questioners get a negative answer.
And then I will declare to them,
The “then” refers to “that day” of the previous verse—the future day of judgment. The word “declare” carries the idea of openly proclaiming at the judgment. The judgment will be public.
‘I never knew you;
There was no point where the Lord knew them. Their religious activity did not impress Him.
depart from Me,
These people had a physical connection with Christ’s presence but no spiritual connection. Jesus demands they leave His physical presence eternally.
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels . . .” Mt 25:41
you who practice lawlessness!’
These religious, altruistic leaders find that they were never true believers. Not all people who do miracles and cast out demons are of God.
“Lawlessness” is iniquity. Lawlessness is doing what is contrary to God’s will. The religious deeds of these people did not accord with God’s will. They are the wolves in sheep’s clothing of verses 15 and following.
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Ti 2:19
Outward profession of religion is not equivalent to authenticity of faith.
Many religious fakers will get a great shock at the Great White Throne Judgment. They thought that through their religious altruism God would be impressed with their religious works but find themselves entering a Christless eternity. Naïve people today have the simplistic thinking that if it is religious, it is right. This is deadly thinking. It is just masquerading religion contrary to God’s will. There are many religious counterfeits out there.
Many people within the evangelical church know the religious language of evangelicalism and its practices but have never personally come to know Christ. There is a great problem of profession without reality in the church today.
Just a comment, look at the words in 1 Corinthians 8:3 “but if anyone loves God, he is known by God” and put them together with the words of Christ in this verse “I never knew you”. God knows those who love Him, and those who love Him obey His commandments(in contrast with the workers of lawlesness that Christ was casting out). Also there was a spelling error in the part above matthew 7:22 it should read the will of my Father not “the wife” of my Father.
Thanks for the spelling correction. Matthew is not fully edited as yet but I appreciate the correction.
I am confused what you mean with the comparison to 1 Co 8:3. Did you go to my commentary there?
Sometimes the word “know” is used in the metaphorical sense of come into intimacy with. The idea of “knew” occurs in this sense in Matthew. In other words, Jesus is saying that He never came to a place where He acknowledge these people as believers.
On a human level He knew them and what they were up to. However, when Jesus operated in His humanity, He did not utilize His deity or He would violate His humanity. Theologians call the union of His person with two natures as undiminished deity and true humanity. Jesus could not be true humanity if here were everywhere or all knowing. He obviously was not everywhere sense He lived in Palestine.
The theological term for becoming a man is that He set aside the voluntary use of His incommunicable attributes (He would not set aside His incommunicable attributes and still be God). Incommunicable attributes are attributes cannot be shared with man (everywhere presence, all knowing); communicable attributes can be shared with man (love, justice, etc).
As a man, Jesus did not know everything at one time. As God, He can.
Hope this helps,
Based on results of not doing the will of the Father, departing from the Lord for eternity, this sounds like something pretty important. Could you flesh out what it means to, "do the will of my Father"?
Thank you so much,
Joshua, I am in Africa and will respond upon return.
Joshua, this passage is not dealing with believers but false teachers.
How do I know I'm not a false teacher?
In other words, I think I am a disciple of Christ but this passage says that those who do the Father's will will be told to depart. There are times when I do not do the Father's will and I sin. Is what I am asking is:
(1) How can I know that I will not be told to depart even though
(a) Jesus says, "he who does", this is present tense with no definite time of completion in view. He does not say, "he who does most of the time but confesses and turns from that sin if he fails".
(b) God expects perfection cf. Matt. 5:48.
(c) I am not perfect.
(d) I know that I sin daily and constantly and consistently fall short of God's glory. I am making great strides in holiness but I am still not perfect.
(e) Jesus is the author of salvation to all who obey Him (Heb :9).
(f) I know that if I enter heaven it will be through the righteousness of Christ by faith (Gal 2:16) but here Jesus is saying, in essence, "obey me perfectly or else".
(2) How do I reconcile these truths?
Joshua, It is the Lord who tells people to depart. He does this to false teachers, not believers. The word "perfect" means "complete" or "mature." It does not mean sinless perfection. No Christian is sinlessly perfect but we can be immature. This passage is not dealing with how to become a Christian but with people who make false professions of belief.
Thank you for your explanations Dr Grant. What passage should I study to examine whether or not my profession is genuine?
Joshua, I would suggest that you study Jude 24 in my studies. That study involves the issue of eternal security: http://versebyversecommentary.com/jude/jude-24c/
What acts fall under "mighty wonders" or in my bible "mighty works"? Can false teachers as these verses are referring to also heal in the name of Jesus.?
Alice, note this passage 2 Thes 2:9 "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,"
Have any of you ever known anyone to cast out a demon in Jesus Name and be a believer?? Or do any "wonders" in Jesus Name.. without being a believer in Him?
THERE IS NO SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE THAT THIS IS EVEN POSSIBLE…
(yes the sons of sceva couldnt do ti..)
are people still commenting here?
Dale, evidently people have no information to respond to your request.
SO, Jesus is speaking of false teachers when HE says: “Depart from ME, I never knew you.” ?? So He’s not talking to half hearted believers?? Thanks Ryan for how you contrast those two scriptures..
Allie, the primary system of interpretation of Scripture is context. First, a person must get the context of the argument of the book, then the argument of a section of a book of the Bible, then the immediate context of that book. In the immediate context of this passage Jesus is dealing with false teachers, not believers. To bring in Scripture from other context is a distant means of interpretation.
Thank you. I read your post on Eternal salvation. And, it was helpful.
As we discuss false teachers and I am studying for my Sunday school lesson on these very same verses, I must share this. I will quote from the Lifeway study guide “Explore the Bible” (winter 2015-2016) covering Matthew chapters 1-13, that many other Southern Baptists are also reading this week. Following verse 21 the commentary reads…
“Jesus clearly widened the point of reference from false prophets to everyone. He declared that EVERYONE whose claim to be Christian is nothing more than a matter of outward appearances and empty words will find themselves outsiders to THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEAN. Some may even say all the right words, like, “LORD, LORD”. …” (I capitalized the italicized words and left the original punctuation.)
Brother Grant, As I read this it seems like a perfect example of false teaching. I realize that the end point of his comments is to promote the readers to not just be pew warmers, and that deeds are important. It shows how the author (Southern Baptist Pastor), uses scripture to “fit the purpose”, in his own way. Will he not be allowed into the kingdom? Even though he has a high position in the church & well educated in theology, only Christ really knows his heart. How is the layman average believer) to know what truth is sometimes. What is the result though, from all the many, many people who will be reading and believing this, in Sunday School this morning? Your input would be more than welcome on this entire situation. Thank you, Gregg
Gregg, I do not have enough context to know what that lesson was all about. Normally Lifeway has good materials.