It is often quoted and misquoted by non-believers and Christ-followers alike. Non-believers especially love to throw the very first verse at us when we take a stand against some abhorrent sin or deviant "lifestyle." The name-it-and-claim-its like to snatch Verse 7 out of context and build a theology around it. Those of us who went through elementary school before 1962 memorized Verse 12, though to learn about Verses 13 and 14, we needed to attend Sunday school and church, the same place where we heard about Verses 24-27. We even sang the song and did the motions for the latter verses.
Wedged snuggly in there, beginning at Verse 15 and continuing through Verse 20, Jesus gives us some warnings and instructions about being fruit inspectors, advice we need today. The folks who love to buffet us with the first verse completely ignore these verses. They don't understand the difference between judgment and discernment. (That's a topic for another article.)
These verses lead into one of the most troublesome, perplexing, downright frightening portions of Scripture for many Christ-followers.
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. 22 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?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ ~Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)
Does Christ say these hard things to keep us stirred up and uncertain of our salvation? I don't believe so. He is the One Who says, in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
Looking at these verses, I notice that those saying "Lord, Lord" are centered on what they have done. Not once do they mention an actual relationship with the Lord Whom they address. They claim to have done miraculous things in Jesus' name, but Jesus--Who cannot lie--denies He had any part in those activities. Henry Morris, in his Defenders Study Bible (World Publishing) says, "There are actually prophets and miracle workers who--perhaps sincerely, perhaps not--profess to be Christians but instead are unsaved, deluded and even enabled to do 'wonderful works' by Satan in order to lead people to follow a false christ." These people can talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk.
Words we don't want to hear: "I never knew you"
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord... ~2 Peter 1:2 (KJV)Because of Christ,