"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. 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?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'"
I must say before posting anything about what this passage means, that my concerns about this passage are as much for me as for others. I do not ever want to stand as one looking out as judge deciding who this will be and who it won't. I have feared at times in my life that it is me.
With that said, this has to stand as one of the scariest verses in the Bible. We get a picture of the horrible side of eternity. Imagine this scene. People coming before the Lord Jesus Christ with great anticipation of what is ahead and then hearing that earth shaking voice declare the verdict none should long for, "I never knew you; depart from me."
Lest we casually dismiss this passage as simply those who are unsaved, let's look at who Jesus is talking about. I mean, He does give us some details about these people, so it would be wise for us to examine them and ourselves to be sure there are no parallels.
First, these are people who say, "Lord". Now we know from further description that the operative word here is "say". They may call him Lord, but they have not made him the Lord of their lives. That word, Lord, means master. When Jesus is truly Lord of our life, then we, like any other good slave, will do whatever the master says to do. That's why Jesus says that the ones who will enter the kingdom of heaven will be the ones who don't just call Jesus Lord but treat him as Lord... they do the will of God.
I used to think that these were people of other faiths: Mormons, Buddhists, etc. But notice, these are people that call Jesus Lord. Who does that? Christians. He's talking about people who call themselves Christians.
Friends, head these words of Jesus. Do as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:5 "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves." And also, 2 Peter 1:10, "be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure." Don't just sit around hoping that something you said or did in the past is enough to get you to heaven. Follow Jesus. That is salvation. When we believe (not just say) that Jesus is Lord, we will follow him, not just pay lip service to him.
How frightening and hopeless for those people on that day. People who went through this life just thinking everything was fine with them and Jesus because of what they call him. And then they are separated from Him in utter anguish forever.
Sobering. Let it not be us. Live for the King of kings. He is worthy. His grace is sufficient to supply all our needs. He is so much more satisfying than those things that keeps us from following him.
How much better (and how worth it) to hear the words spoken to those who persevere: "Well done, good and faithful servant... enter into the joy of your master." (Matthew 25:23)