I Never Knew You
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven…” Matthew 7:21. This verse is quite frequently misinterpreted. Many claim this verse proves we can lose our salvation. On the contrary, this verse proves there are those who claim to be saved (Christians) but who are not. The folks who Jesus is referring to in this verse are those who attempt to take whatever path pleases them the most to achieve their goal of entering Heaven, neglecting and rejecting the one true way. In the next verse the familiarity of these people can be seen even today in regards to some professing Christians, and numerous cults that erroneously clam to be Christian.
“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?” Matthew 7:22. The answer to their question is yes. These people, who our Lord says are many, had performed an abundance of wonderful works. Today there are those who stand firmly with these same types of folks accomplishing good works, all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. But in Jesus’ response to these people we are given a look at what they were actually all about.
“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:23. The word “profess” in the Greek is “homologeō”, which actually means to “declare openly.” In other words Jesus is not just speaking to those particular foolish people, but to all who would hear His words. He’s declaring in no uncertain terms that the “many paths” crowd is dead wrong. All their good works will never be enough as an entry point to the Father.
Jesus continues with the phrase “I never knew you.” When a person becomes justified/saved there is only one way that that can be accomplished - only by believing in the Son of God. At the point when we first believe, God justifies us and thus we are born again, born from above, from God Himself. Hence God would certainly know us at that point. But Jesus claims no knowledge of these folks in question. Why? Because they were not born again, they were never justified in God’s eyes. They were merely works oriented and this was their attempt at getting into Heaven.
Then Jesus tells them to depart from Him. He didn’t even want these folks near Him. This sounds unusual for our Lord since we know Him to have a loving, caring, gentle soul. There must have been something horribly wrong with these folks who were prophesying, casting out devils, and doing good works in His name. When we take a closer look at the original Greek language our eyes are opened to a more complete picture of this situation.
The Greek word “ergazomai”, which is translated into English as “work”, can also mean “minister”. So these folks were not just workers of iniquity but ministers of such. They were ministering to others. What they were doing is exactly what many people continue to do today when they claim there are numerous paths to Heaven. They were teaching such egregious lies that Jesus professed (declared openly), for the entire world to hear, that they should “get away” from Him. Anyone who convinces another person that they don’t need Jesus to get to Heaven is a devil. Anyone who teaches Jesus plus works as the path to salvation is also a devil. There are many devils in this world and many Scripture verses where we can plainly read that Jesus does not want devils around Him.
The last word in verse 21 is “iniquity” and in the Greek it’s “anomia” which actually means wickedness, unrighteousness, or lawlessness. By a simple interpretation of the Greek we discover a mass of underlying evil connected to these folks who claimed kinship with Jesus. But God cannot be fooled. God knows all His Children and they are those who have truly turned their lives over to Him; they are His possession. Jesus claims He doesn’t know those who only give Him lip service, they are not His possessions, but He does know their evil deeds.
The Lord, Lord professors in the above verse were intent on making Jesus out to be a liar by demonstrating their demonic powers to the simple minded, yet claiming they were performing their good deeds by the name that is above all names, Jesus Christ. But they were not professing Jesus Christ as God and Saviour; they had not said yes to Him. They didn’t really believe in Him. They were only attempting to use His power to perform their tricks and good deeds so they might be seen as righteous by others, all to accomplish their own foolish goals.
Jesus says many will say to Him Lord, Lord but they will all perish because He never knew them. When our Lord speaks of many He’s actually speaking of multitudes. Huge throngs of people. It’s the same word He uses when He says many will follow the wide path which leads to destruction. Who are these folks who will cry out to our Lord after it is too late? They are those on earth who has rejected Him as the One and only true way to the Father.
Evil exists in many forms, and most of those forms seem benevolent to the casual observer. This is why Jesus openly declared these workers of iniquity as evil, and told them to get away from Him. This pervasive evil is exactly the same as we see spreading over the entire globe today. We may look at someone who to us represents the epitome of good in his or her life, and we might even become convinced that they are godly individuals when in fact they are simply well dressed and well versed workers of iniquity. When Messiah Jesus tells us He is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man comes to the Father but by Him we should take His statement very seriously. All the religious organizations who establish programs so their congregations can work their way to Heaven are working for Satan; even the ones who claim to be Christian.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you. Satan’s deceptions run deep. Imagine all the people who are caught up in the lies of their works orientated religions standing before Him at His White Throne Judgment Seat and crying Lord, Lord, perhaps we should tell them the truth before it’s too late.
“…but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21. I purposely left this last part of verse 21 out until this point in the commentary. It’s the answer to why those people who cried “Lord, Lord” were never saved in the first place. The will of God for all mankind is to believe in His only begotten Son, thus by doing so He may justify them and set their feet on the strait and narrow way. This is what was lacking in the ones who were prophesying, casting out devils, and doing good deeds all in Jesus’ name. They never had the Son. They had no use for their Messiah Jesus. They were convinced in their own minds that they would go to Heaven simply because of their own meritorious living, which included their good works.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” Matthew 7:24. Jesus concludes His thoughts with a promise. Those who hear (read) His words and believe them while putting their hope in the Rock of Ages (Messiah Jesus) are those who have nothing to worry about in regards to their eternal destination (Heaven). Their house (salvation) is secure from all storms.
On the other hand, the foolish are those Jesus likens to having built their house on the sand. When I lived in California and Oregon it was a common occurrence to read about someone’s home washing out to sea or being condemned because it was no longer safe to live in as the foundation had eroded away. The people had built their homes too close to the ocean – on the sand. “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:” Matthew 7:26. This verse always came to mind every time I’d read of another family who had foolishly built their home on sand, and multitudes foolishly continue to build on the sand.
If we have the Son we have the Father as well. If we don’t have the Son, Heaven will never be a part of our eternal destination. Do you know Him? Do you trust His words? Or when your time comes will Jesus profess unto you? “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Jesus is our foundation, the only solid ground. Build your life on Him.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed