“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.