I Never Knew You- Matthew 7:22-23

As we continue in our examination of the conclusion to Jesus Sermon on the Mount, we are looking at Jesus warning to those who call Him Lord but do not live with Him as Lord. This warning is not intended for believers to judge one another, but is intended for self examination, intended to cause each who call Him Lord to examine the fruit of their lives and determine if they are living with Him as Lord. He now informs them (and us) of the ultimate fate of those who do not take His warning to heart and repent. These verses are among the most terrifying and tragic in the entirety of the Bible. He begins verse 22 by using the word “many”, telling us that this is not merely a few, but a multitude. The phrase “that day” here is a reference to the day of judgment, the day when all will stand before the throne to give an account of their lives and receive their eternal judgment. His specific reference here is to those who call Him Lord not but do not “do the will of my Father”. The question thus arises here as to whether Jesus is teaching a “works salvation” here, that it is by our own efforts, our own behavior, that we become worthy of entering the kingdom of heaven. This is certainly not the case, for Jesus use of this language here tells us that good works are not the cause of salvation but the result of salvation. Those who are truly regenerated (born again) will naturally produce the fruit of good works, will begin to do the will of the Father, just like a pear tree will naturally produce pears. The fact that this is the case is also reinforced here in Jesus own words. When those who call Him Lord but do not live with Him as Lord are asked why they should be permitted to enter the kingdom, we find that they point to their own works. The fact that they do so clearly reveals that they do not know the truth, and they do not know Jesus, for all who truly know Him would never point to their own works as the ground of their salvation, but only and always point to Jesus works and their faith in Him. When those who call Him Lord but do not live with Him as Lord ultimately stand before Him, they again refer to Him as Lord, and claim that the works they did were in His name. To do something “in His name” here refers to doing something according to His will and character, to do something for His glory and to build His kingdom. They have not done this, for all that they have done has been for their own glory and to build their own kingdom. They have lived their lives as hypocrites, like wolves in sheep’s clothing, pretending to be what they are not. Jesus, however, sees right through their hypocrisy, replying to them that “I never knew you”. The Greek term “knew” here is ginosko, the knowledge of personal relationship, and Jesus is telling them that they claimed to know Him but never really did, never established that personal relationship with Him. Jesus also specifies here just what type of relationship He is referring to here, the relationship of Jesus as Lord and believers as subjects. It must be noted here that Jesus ultimately refers to those here as “evildoers”, literally “doers of lawlessness”. The true nature of our relationship with Jesus is that He is Lord and we are subjects. He, as Lord, determines what is true or false, right or wrong, good or evil. We, as subjects, then order our lives accordingly. These “doers of lawlessness” do not do so, do not submit to His law, but live as a law unto themselves, living as their own lords, determining for themselves what is true, right and good, ordering their lives according to their own wants and desires rather than according to His will. Jesus then utters some of the saddest words that will ever be spoken, “Away from Me, you evildoers”. So what does all of this mean to us in the church today? What it means is that their will be many who faithfully attend church and claim Jesus as Lord, but do not live with Him as Lord. Who “prayed a prayer” or “made a decision” at one point, but never truly “took up their cross” and followed Jesus, who professed to be converts but never truly became disciples. It is their “fruit” which ultimately identifies them, for their lifestyles will reflect the fact that Jesus is not truly Lord, for they will live, behave, talk and think just like the world, will give no evidence of the work of sanctification in their lives. The words in this passage are among the saddest and most tragic in the entire Bible, and are intended as a warning, to get the attention of those who are headed for this fate. It is our prayer that any who encounter this passage of Scripture or any proper teaching of it would take it to heart, embrace its message and respond accordingly, would take up their cross and follow Jesus, living as true disciples, with Him as Lord and themselves as subjects, never hearing those tragic words, but hearing instead, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Master”.

No Comments Gospels and Acts  //  Law and Grace  //  Salvation and Redemption

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