21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Wow, this is a very confronting scripture that leaves me wondering ‘could that be me’.
This scripture is clear, a list of ‘good works’ does not guarantee heaven. The phrase ‘I never knew you’ shows us that a ‘personal intimate relationship with God’ is what creates the saving faith and obedience that leads to eternal life.
As a broken person living in a broken world this is a problem for me. There are times, I have failed the obedience test and there are even times I have chosen to ignore God.
So where do I stand?
After spending some time in careful consideration, I don’t think the context of this scripture is eternal judgement. It is part of the closing argument in the ‘The Sermon on the Mount’. Jesus was sharing His insights into successful kingdom living and His closing argument was ‘Unless you have the right foundation you will not see the benefits of a blessed life’. The statement was made to illustrate that the foundations for the things we do and its likely outcome are linked, not to create a fear of eternal judgement.
True, the fear of eternal judgement can be motivating but it’s not the basis for a healthy relationship. Fear will never be the basis for an intimate relationship. However, it is also evident a ‘once saved always saved’ attitude does not lead to the qualities God is looking for in His people.
So take the opportunity today to consider the foundations of your own relationship with God.
Dear Lord, I thank you that in our brokenness you are glorified, and we find eternal life, not based on what we do but what Jesus has done for us. Amen!
Written by David Newton