“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.’
This passage has caused me more fear and self doubt than any other in Scripture, because it tells the story of people who have heard the word and done the deeds and seem genuinely shocked when Jesus rejects them at the seat of judgment. These people sure sound sure of their salvation when they are begging Jesus to reconsider, and the possibility that you could be so sure and have borne what seems to be such good fruit and still not make it is a very scary thought.
I have yet to find an interpretation of the passage that I am confident in and can endorse, so I will instead list my questions and thoughts and see if any of my readers have any ideas. Growing up, I was taught that this passage referred to people who simply claimed to be Christians but never repented and never showed any fruit, being unregenerate because they have never actually been saved. My teachers said that these were the hearers of the Word, but not the doers – those who came to church as kids or who had learned all about the Bible but never believed, never let it change them because they never turned over control of their lives to God. It kind of felt like being told there was a monster in your closet ready to eat you if you disobeyed your parents.
I don’t think that it’s a correct interpretation. Here’s why. Continue reading The most terrifying verses in the Bible