“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonderful works in Your name?’ But then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice evil.’
Matthew 7:21–23 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
This passage is often cited. It is often used to scare folks, or as I like to put it, ‘thump’m with Bible.’ Most often, this is used in conjunction with those who claim some obedience, endurance, or perseverance to keep salvation.
Some even use this to point out that people that are truly saved can lose their salvation. It’s an often-used text to prove that. However, that simply cannot be true. Jesus clearly states, “I never knew you.” That statement excludes Him knowing someone as saved and them walking away from it. It cannot happen.
If you don’t understand… A saved person cannot lose salvation. It is testified to right there.
There is another sobering truth presented here. This passage is clearly about people that never came to Jesus in faith, but they do come to Him to show their works. These folks cling to their shiny trinkets, the prophesying, casting out demons, and the good things they did. It’s as if they are trying to trade or buy their way into the kingdom.
Jesus says that doesn’t work, “I never knew you.”
But… Do you understand what else is in that “good works?”
Depending upon your obedience to get to heaven is a good work. As is enduring and persevering in the midst of trials and persecution. Even depending on these things to keep being saved sets aside the work of Jesus.
What counts is the personal relationship with Jesus. He needs to know you. And you need to know Him.
As You have given Him authority over all flesh, He will give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.John 17:2–3 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
There is no other Way to heaven, but by resting in Him. It’s not working. It’s not doing good things. It’s not persevering.
You need to know Jesus so He knows you.