I Never Knew You: What Did Jesus Mean?

Dear friends;

May the grace and peace of God our Father, and of Jesus-Christ our Lord, be with you. One of the most famous, albeit controversial statement by Jesus is recorded in Matthew 7:21-23. The objective of this letter is to provide some light, by the grace of God, on what Jesus meant.

Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 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? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

In this passage, Jesus gives in no uncertain terms the criteria for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. But if you think that you already know what those criteria (or that criterion) might be, then I plead with you that for a moment, you place that knowledge on the side, and meditate on this passage.

In the passage above, Jesus states that the only people who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven are those who are doing the Will of His Father (verse 22). This is as clear as a statement can ever come. But what is the Will of His Father?

If you look at the context, you will realize that Matthew 7:21-23 comes at the end of a long sermon that Jesus gave, commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount, which started two chapters earlier in Matthew 5:3. From Matthew 5 up to the passage above, Jesus taught the people precisely on the Will of His Father. He then confirmed, in his concluding remarks, that what He taught them is indeed the Will of His Father by stating.

Matthew 7:24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock

One MUST hear the words of Jesus AND do them TO enter the Kingdom BECAUSE what Jesus says IS the Will of His Father. Do you see the link?

Now, Jesus did not stop there in Matthew 7:21-23. He also said “I never knew you”. How are we to understand that statement? I submit to you that the first error one should avoid is to take that statement in isolation. Instead, one should consider the whole statement.

Matthew 7:23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Consider the following: If Jesus professes that He never knew us, then how does He know that we worked iniquity? This paradox alone should tell us that when Jesus tells us that He never knew us, He is not meaning it in the literal sense of the word, and that is, because He clearly indicates that He knows something about us…that we work iniquity. Jesus knows us very well actually, all of us! Those of us who work iniquity are very well known by Jesus indeed.

Therefore, irrespective of whatever experience you’ve had in your life with Him, the only conclusion I believe we can reach is that when Jesus says “I never knew you”, He simply means that He only identifies, He only relates, with those who do NOT work iniquity.

Although He knows everyone – He is Jesus – He only identifies with those who do the Will of His Father. These are who His friends are, these are those He knows and spend time with, and these are those He will gladly present and acknowledge to His Father on that day. 

It should be also noteworthy from the passage that Jesus did not say that those people who made these claims of doing many wonderful works…IN HIS NAME by the way…were lying. No…what disqualify them is that iniquity will be found in them. 

In other words, your good works (even if they are legitimate) do not make up for your evil deeds. Your good works and praise of Jesus are not some credits that you can use as a pass to disobey God. We may infer therefore, that one is prohibited access to the Kingdom of Heaven not because of his lack of good works (although good works are expected), but because iniquity is found in him. One who will be found to be a worker of iniquity, yet who did things in Jesus’ name (as in this passage) will be guilty of attempting to serve two masters, something that Jesus warned about, right here in this sermon.

Matthew 6:24No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

It is a sobering realization that Jesus Himself says that many will be found in that situation, and therefore be denied access to the Kingdom. It is impossible to achieve “balance” between obeying God and serving the flesh.

A balance that makes us a “cool” Christian.

There is no balance with God. The flesh must die. God MUST be honored. The ONLY way to honor God is by obeying Him! Try to be a cool Christian, and you will find yourself denied access to the Kingdom.

Note as well that it is Christians who address Jesus as “Lord”. It is Christianity that acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus. Hence, many “Christians” will be denied access, because they were foolish into thinking that they could serve two masters.

Matthew 7:24,26Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock….26 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

How much more can Jesus warn you, my friend! How much more? When that day comes…where will you be? Let us strive to obey! To OBEY!

May the Lord Jesus work in our hearts, that we may obey His voice, to the Praise and Honor of His Father, the God of Heaven.

In Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Do Not Shy Away From Them

May the God of all grace be with you. Today, allow me to exhort you on not shying away from your least favorites verses. All of us individually, our denominations, and our churches are likely to have favorites verses in the scriptures. There are also universal favorites, as well as universally unpopular ones.

But if you believe that the Word of God is the truth, then you are doing yourself a MAJOR disservice by shying away from those least favorites, since in them, are some of the most profound revelations that God has given us about Himself. Hence, when you shy away from them, your view of who God is, what is His nature or His character, is most certainly heavily skewed, and therefore inaccurate. As uncomfortable as they might be, I plead with you to dwell on them at the very least as much as you dwell on your favorite ones.

Allow me to share some of them here…a very small subset…

John 14:22,23  – God does not love everyone the same way: He makes Himself at home only to those who love Him

“But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

Matthew 7:21 – Many professed Christians won’t make it!

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.

Hebrews 12:14 – Holiness is mandatory to make it

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Isaiah 53:2 – Jesus was not physically attractive

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

2 Timothy 4:3 – Many professed Christians fabricate their own custom Christianity – A Christianity that suits them

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

John 14:15 – The only way to Love Jesus is to do His commandments

“If you love me, keep my commands.

1 John 2:3 – If we are not keeping His commandments, then we actually do not know Him

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

Philippians 1:29 – Suffering for Christ is part of the deal

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him

Ecclesiastes 1:2 (and 12:13,14) – Everything we do, without exception is absolutely pointless, unless it is out of our  reverence for God.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

May the Lord be with you all my dear friends, and may He give you the grace to take His entire counsel.