Submission and Obedience


"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"

Jesus spoke those sobering words in Matthew 7:21-23. Obviously, He described men and women standing before Him at the future Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). These will be religionists who lay claim to great works they did in His name to qualify for a place in heaven.

Whoever they are and remain to be seen relied on using special gifts of healing, tongues, prophecy such as those enumerated in I Corinthians 12 and 14 to display their faith and witness. Great gifts, miraculous gifts, eye-opening gifts, supernatural gifts! Yet, Jesus Himself said unequivocally, "I never knew you."

When evangelicals fellowship together, it is usual to hear, "I know Jesus as my Savior" or "I love God with all my heart!" Statements like these voice the person's conviction that they are born again and on their way to heaven whenever it is their time to die. My own sister, a few days before she died suddenly from a fulminating cancer, claimed she knew all was well between her soul and God. Perhaps her frightening diagnosis turned her heart to Jesus, and I must rest in the hope that what she said about her assurance of salvation was true.

You see, according to Jesus' statement, it isn't what we claim about our relationship to God that is nearly as significant as what He Himself says about us. "I never knew you; depart from Me...!" What a fearsome pronouncement against people who thought they had salvation in their pocket!

To know someone, really know someone, means that we get behind their facade, their make-up, their designer wardrobe, intellectual vocabulary, pasted-on smile, and gain admission to their inner-most being where they hurt, love, mourn and are their honest selves. Until we know a person that intimately, we don't know them at all.

People who say all the right things at the right time in the right way can fool us. We may believe they are sincere disciples of Jesus, but we base our judgment on what we see and hear. God founds His judgment on what He knows intimately.

Camouflaged arrogance, willfulness and self-centeredness never come clean with God. Yet, God, who absolutely humbled Himself on our behalf in the Person of Jesus Christ, expects the same degree of humility from us. As long as He is not allowed into the inner-most recesses of our being, He does not consider Himself to be our Savior: "I never knew you!" Quite frankly, it is like a marriage that was never consummated!

We may assume Jesus is our Savior and profess that He is, because we have repeated some shibboleth. Not until He gains complete access to every facet of our personhood are we destined for heaven, regardless of how much we do in His name and how much we talk religious talk.

What worse words can anyone hear on judgment day than Jesus declaring: "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"

You may profess to know Jesus, but words are cheap. Does Jesus know you intimately? That relationship is what counts now and for eternity!

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®
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