Matthew 7:21 – I Never Knew You

Salvation

21 “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. 22 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?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Here is what I think upon reading this. First, the will of the father is to believe in the Son, as per John 6:40, which states:

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.”

So we can conclude that the people in this passage did not believe in Christ for their salvation. What then did they trust? The passage appears to show they trusted in their good works and never had a relationship with Jesus. Jesus exposes trusting in their works as evil because he calls them workers of lawlessness.

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?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

So, to sum it up, this passage speaks about people who

  1. Never believed on the Son (Jesus) for their salvation
  2. Trusted in their good works to get to heaven
  3. Never had a relationship with Jesus

Also, another possibility,

4. They never truly repented and they are considered a ‘carnal Christian’

How are we saved?

Salvation

Ephesians 2:8-9 states: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Titus 3:5 states: He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit

Romans 10:9 states: Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

It is therefore abundantly clear, the only thing we are saved by is being covered in the blood of Jesus, through God’s mercy and grace.

It is not based on works done by us in righteousness, because then we could boast about what we did, not what HE did. In fact, those who trust in their works may be excluded from heaven! Because Matthew 7:21-23 states

“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. 22 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?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

It sounds like these people were trusting in their works, and Jesus says depart as he calls their works evil!

However, repentance is an indicator of whether one has true saving faith. People with true saving faith will be changed by Christ, and not be living like the world, because they will have a change of mind that leads to action. While that does not save them- it is an evidence of faith, and a fruit of it, and will tell you if you have true saving faith, and are born again! Salvation doesn’t come from faith AND works, but faith THAT works.