neverThe word “never” occupies a significant place in one of the scariest passages of Scripture:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
(Matthew 7:21-23)

Jesus doesn’t say, “You used to know me”, or “You hardly knew me.”  Instead, Jesus says, “I never knew you.”  These are not people who knew Christ for a while, and then fell away.  Rather, these are people who never knew Christ at all.

But they thought they knew Him.  They taught, wrote, preached, and prophesied in the name of Jesus. They studied the Bible for years. They read all the best Christian books. They wore WWJD bracelets, and they put fish on the bumpers of their cars. They hung pictures of the cross in their homes.  They listened to Christian radio.  They prayed daily, and they always told people about their love for the Lord.  They even experienced some great manifestations of spiritual power. They cast demons out of some who were oppressed. And they worked some mighty wonders in the name of Christ.

Yet in all this, they never knew Jesus.  Not for one day.  Not for even a little while.

They read about Him, thought about Him, prayed to Him, talked to people about Him, and they tried to worship Him. Yet they never knew Him.

Jesus said He never knew them.  Then in the following verses He continues:

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

It is not enough to hear the sayings of Christ.
It is not enough to believe the sayings of Christ.
It is not enough to memorize the sayings of Christ.
It is not enough to teach the sayings of Christ.

To know Christ, to love Christ, and to truly follow Him, we must do the sayings of Christ. We actually must obey Him.  As Jesus Himself said,

“If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

We cannot love God without also keeping His commandments.  What He tells us to do, we must do.  Otherwise, we prove we do not love Him.  And if we do not love Him, then we do not know Him.

On judgment day, Jesus will look at some large groups of “devout Christians”, and He will say, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”  After spending their lives assuming they were “saved”, they find out they were never saved at all.

May we diligently seek to avoid such a fearful end!  May we daily live in faithful obedience to Christ, showing our love for Him, by keeping His commandments.  The apostle Peter encourages us to work diligently to this end:

“brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election
sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall”
(2 Peter 1:10)

My friends, do not settle for sugarcoated Christianity. Salvation cannot be found in fashion, decoration, music, or entertainment, no matter how frequently the name “Jesus” is used.

The only way to know Christ is to love Him.
And the only way to love Christ is to obey Him.

Never let anyone tell you differently.



This is day thirty-eight of the 40 Days of Blogging.
For more articles on “never“, check out these bloggers.

About Fr Joseph Gleason

I serve as a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois, and am blessed with eight children and one lovely wife. I contribute to On Behalf of All, a simple blog about Orthodox Christianity. I also blog here at The Orthodox Life.
This entry was posted in 40 Days of Blogging, Matthew 7:21-23. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Never

  1. Lord have mercy!

    Matthew 7:24-27 reiterates this teaching as well. It is not enough just to hear the teachings of God. We must DO them, or else our house will fall – greatly!

    I do not want to hear the word “never” come from Jesus to me on that day of judgment.

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