Matthew 7:21-23……”Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”
The term Christian these days doesn’t mean what it meant in the days when the Apostles first began preaching the gospel. Some people think that just because they believe God exists, that means they’re Christian. But the Bible clearly says that even the “demons believe and tremble.” But their belief in His existence won’t change their eternal destiny. Some think because their name is on a church roll somewhere, then that means they’re a Christian. Wrong! The first verse says that only those who do “the will of my Father who is in heaven” will enter into the kingdom of heaven. So, just what is the will of the Father? John 6:40 says:
“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Now, this verse is not saying that EVERYONE will look on the Son and believe. It says that everyone WHO looks on the Son and believes. That latter statement is pointing to a distinct group of people; those who look to Christ and believes that HE is the only way to salvation.
In the last part of verse 23, Jesus says that he will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” The word “knew” in this verse isn’t referring to having a knowledge of someone. God knows who we are. God obviously knows every person that has lived and will ever live on this earth because He created us all. The word “knew” in this verse comes from the Greek word “ginosko” which refers to knowing someone intimately. Mary used this term when she said, “How will this be when I do not know a man?” In this sense, she is referring to sexual intimacy, but the word doesn’t always refer to that type of intimacy. We can know a little about person we work with, but we don’t know any of the more intimate details of their life such as, how do they like their steak cooked, or what is their favorite movie or song, or what was their childhood like growing up. In his commentary, John Gill writes this:
“for as the omniscient God he knew their persons and their works, and that they were workers of iniquity; he knew what they had been doing all their days under the guise of religion; he knew the principles of all their actions, and the views they had in all they did; nothing is hid from him. But, as words of knowledge often carry in them the ideas of affection, and approbation, see ( Psalms 1:6 ) ( 2 Timothy 2:19 ) the meaning of Christ here is, I never had any love, or affection for you; I never esteemed you; I never made any account of you, as mine, as belonging to me; I never approved of you, nor your conduct; I never had any converse, communication, nor society with you, nor you with me. The Persic version reads it, “I have not known you of old”, from ancient times, or from everlasting; I never knew you in my Father’s choice, and my own, nor in my Father’s gift to me, nor in the everlasting covenant of grace; I never knew you as my sheep, for whom, in time, I died, and called by name; I never knew you believe in me, nor love me, or mine; I have seen you in my house, preaching in my name, and at my table administering mine ordinance; but I never knew you exalt my person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; you talk of the works you have done, I never knew you do one good work in all your lives, with a single eye to my glory; wherefore, I will neither hear, nor see you; I have nothing to do with you.”
It will be sad day when some will come before Christ and boast of their works only to hear, “Depart from me for I NEVER knew you.” Jesus knows who belong to Him. Those whom the Father gives to Him are the ones He died for. Those who are His sheep, will hear His voice and respond to the gospel. No amount of good deeds or extraordinary works will give anyone free access to heaven. There’s not enough good works we can do to satisfy the debt that we owed. Only Christ, in His perfection, was able to satisfy that debt when He died on the cross.