“DEPART FROM ME – I NEVER KNEW YOU”
By: Norm Rasmussen
Who truly belongs to the Lord, and who doesn't?
“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 (NKJV)
I believe four points need to be stressed in the above scripture warning. They are:
1): Doing the Father’s will
2): Speaking on behalf of God and/or doing supernatural feats
3): Being engaged in lawlessness (evil)
4): God knowing us
But to exclusively focus on just these four points can take us on a tangent that can cause us to miss the MAIN point God is trying to communicate to us, which IS:
You can know whether you’re on safe ground with God or not by the quality of the spiritual fruit that is coming from your life.
We back this conclusion up by the preceding scripture passages leading up to Matthew 7:21-23, which are verses 7:15-20:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
Before launching any further into this, I believe it is wise to establish some clarity to the word “prophet”. In my firm opinion, anyone who is communicating to others what they believe about spiritual matters, God places into the category of a “prophet”. A “prophet” to God is someone communicating what they believe God would have them communicate, whether it be spiritual truth – spiritual facts, if you will – to others in some way, or something specific from the heart of God to be given to one or more people, often for reasons of warning and/or correction.
Thus it seems extremely sensible to me that God is first and foremost addressing “prophets”. He’s primarily purposing to communicate to us that we need to discern at any given time a “false” prophet from a “true” prophet. He’s purposing to warn the wise to take inventory of what they are communicating to others about spiritual matters at any given time.
James 3:1, to me, supports this premise:
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, know that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
Let’s pause a moment. I would be lying if I didn’t state that I believe God has much extended grace for humble sinners saved by His grace who are very careful about being so dogmatic about certain of their spiritual beliefs.
Yet His grace diminishes … and diminishes QUICKLY … for people who claim to be some sort of an authority on spiritual matters, and seems driven to try to convince everyone who will listen to them that they are THE authority on certain spiritual matters, when in fact, they aren’t.
Now here is where the rubber REALLY meets the road. As I sit here typing these words, I realize I may be projecting the assumption in the minds of some that what I’m writing makes me an authority on the topics being addressed, though I certainly don’t believe I am at all. In fact, just the opposite! I’m trusting the Holy Spirit to give me words to write that make sense to YOU, the reader, and if He’s NOT truly inspiring me to do that … then: “Lord – PLEASE give me the wisdom to stop writing on this topic and instead go fishing or hunting or shopping for a new dress for my dear wife! Do ANYTHING to get me off this keyboard!”
Let’s now focus on these very key words: Practicing Lawlessness (evil)
What is God attempting to communicate to us regarding these two words? I believe it can be summarized this way:
1) Rightly dividing the word of truth (See: 2 Tim. 2: 2:15)
2) Wisely obeying the word of truth (See: Romans 2:8; Gal. 3:1)
There is only ONE “word of truth” from God’s perspective, which is all that really matters: GOD’S perspective. That’s the Holy Bible - The Old and New Testament (Though Jesus Christ is also Truth personified). All other spiritual writings will never be placed at the level the Holy Bible is placed at by God. Take it up with God if you believe differently. (I’m not going to spend paragraph after paragraph attempting to prove my case in this writing that I’m on solid God with God in the matter).
Furthermore, no matter what you may believe about accepted translations of the “word of truth” being mistranslated … I take a confident stand that everything humanity needs to know to please God can be found in the popular, accepted New Testament bible translations. I hang my spiritual hat on that belief. If a person truly wants to please God that will pass the scrutiny of God Himself from now until Judgment Day … there is clear instruction found in the popular, accepted translations of the New Testament.
Trusted Bible scholars have learned from the Holy Spirit that there are wise ways and unwise ways to come up with conclusions about what a person is to believe and teach to others what God wants us to believe about what is recorded in the New Testament. There are trusted WISE rules of bible interpretation that every serious student of the “word of truth” will do well to adhere to, ESPECIALLY TEACHERS AND PREACHERS AND MISSIONARIES (simply anyone attempting to communicate to someone else regarding spiritual matters) if they strongly desire God’s MAXIMIZED smile of approval on the Judgment Day.
Now then, let’s address Point 4: God Knowing us. God knows everything about each of us, because God is all-knowing. That’s a given. What Jesus is addressing when He states, “I never knew you” … is twofold, though the two essentially confirm the other to end up meaning the same thing:
First: The Holy Spirit is addressing the issue of people believing they’ll be okay with God and get to heaven some other way than believing (and willing to die for that belief if necessary) what Jesus accomplished for them by dying on the cross and taking full penalty for their sins, so they not only can be forgiven of them, but qualify to receive His imputed righteousness.
Expressing it another way, Jesus and the Father never knew them in a “saving way.” The following scripture bears this out:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out… I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:1-3; 14-15).
Secondly: Is that He finds nothing about that person at the core of their being that He and the Father and the Holy Spirit sees is worth redeeming and subsequently trusting with a glorified body on the Resurrection Day. Redeemed saints aren’t going to be given glorified bodies just to show themselves off to angels and each other. God has reasons for giving us glorified bodies far beyond just being given “incorruptible status” for prestigious sake. (See: 1 Cor. 15:51-54). Along with being given “incorruptible status” will come great responsibility, and those responsibilities will only be entrusted to those who can be trusted with those responsibilities. God the Father knows who can be and who can’t be trusted before they ever make Jesus Christ their personal Lord and Savior. He knew that about each of us before we were even born, in fact, amazing as that might be to comprehend, because He’s all-knowing – all wise. He knows what each of us will do when we are challenged to make a decision, before we even make a decision. He’s got our number.
Unfortunate for Satan, Satan was not worth redeeming. Nor was the third of the angels that were kicked out of heaven along with Satan, however many in number those angels were. Why weren’t they worth redeeming? Because they began operating in spiritual rebellion. They demanded their right from God to determine the rules in which they wanted to obey and which ones not to. They may not have came right out and overtly demonstrated their desire for such right in God’s presence … but their actions clearly demonstrated to God what they were thinking and desirous to do if given the freedom to follow through with it.
Nothing has changed since then. God tells us that if we carefully observe the actions of a “prophet” (a mouthpiece regarding spiritual matters), we’ll eventually form an opinion about that individual, based on their actions. Furthermore, scripture warns us to “test every spirit” to see whether the Holy Spirit is the Father of their spirit, (in other words the power source behind their thinking and actions) or the Anti-Christ (Satan) is the Father of their spirit. (See: 1 John 4:1-6).
But here’s the qualifier. One has to have the Holy Spirit as their power source to accurately discern the difference! You have to truly “want to be known” by Jesus before you qualify to have your power source be the Holy Spirit. And if there is no substance of character in a person that Jesus finds worth “knowing” (which is the refusal to love the truth and show a willingness to obey the truth) – finds worth redeeming and useful to Him and God the Father and the Holy Spirit … that individual has an even ruder awakening come Judgment Day (though our initial judgment for each of us is when we pass from this life into eternity).
This we can safely assume. Every person who will spend eternity suffering in hell will have one common denominator: God didn’t find them worth redeeming (knowing) because they loved spiritual darkness (spiritual deception) more than they loved spiritual light. HAD God found them worth redeeming (knowing), God’s grace would somehow have been extended to them and they would have been granted mercy and forgiveness and be granted His imputed righteousness which would then qualified them for eternal life with God.
Before going further, confusing as this may sound to some, we must understand that no human is worthy enough to be saved, because they were born sinners. Once they make Jesus Christ their Savior and Lord, then it is Christ in them that makes them worthy (fully acceptable to Him and the Father and the Holy Spirit, in other words). But obviously those who have a love for the truth and a desire to obey it, and have a love for spiritual light ... God determines these are worth saving.
Saying it a little different way to try to bring a little better understanding to the reader: None of us are worthy to receive eternal Salvation, because we were born sinners -- spiritual rebels. But because of God's great love and grace for those who have a love for truth and a willingness to obey truth, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit makes them worthy in Christ Jesus when they ask Him to be their Savior and Lord.
Why will God not forgive Satan and the angels that fell with Satan, and never will? Because they are not worth forgiving, simple as that. They all loved spiritual darkness (sin) more than they loved spiritual light (righteousness). They all loved lies more than they loved truth, let alone having any desire to obey truth. The same applies to every person who will be judged by God and sent to hell. They weren’t worth being forgiven and granted eternal life in the presence of God for eternity, and never will be, because they didn't love truth and showed no desire to obey truth. Rather - they loved lies (deception) and practiced lies (deception). At the core of their spirit being, they remain with the seed of rebellion still deeply ingrained in them. They may not all fully realize it, but the Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit does.
So dear reader … when is the last time you did some serious soul searching … asking God to reveal to you what He thinks about you? What are the qualities you have that He finds attractive – worth redeeming? That you’re zealous for God? That doesn’t get it. The religious folks hung Jesus on the cross, and they were most zealous for God. Try this on for size. Is the number one quality you posses a zeal to KNOW Truth … start practicing Truth … before you consider yourself some authority by communicating to others what they’re to believe about Truth?
If you don’t posses this quality, I can’t encourage you enough to do some serious business with God and ask Him to do a spiritual heart transplant on you this very moment. Tomorrow may be too late. God does not need you and God does not need me to tell others about spiritual matters. Quite the reverse. We need God! We need God wanting to be around us more and more. We need God loving to hear our prayers. We need God wanting to confirm to us as often as is needed that we’re A-OKAY with Him.
The wise do not continue playing spiritual games with God over character issues – especially regarding what is Truth and what is not Truth, and how well we’re doing at rightly dividing Truth to wisely understand it and how to wisely apply it. The wise ASSUME they can be just as deceived as those who hung Jesus on the cross, and just as deceived as Satan and his angel followers were, and frequently ask God to reveal their character flaws so they can be dealt with.
These are the one’s Jesus and the Father likes knowing. These are the sheep, not the goats nor the wolves. These are the wheat, not the tares. These are the real-deal, not deceived wolves trying to hide themselves in sheep’s clothing to devour innocent sheep. These are they that have no issue any longer with allowing Jesus to be the rule setter. They no longer fear taking orders from Jesus. They have been fully persuaded that when you obey Jesus, Jesus has the power to reward you for it … or withhold reward from you … because Jesus has full backing from God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
We have long entered the time that spiritual discernment is becoming of less and less importance to the masses. Spiritually lethargy and spiritual apathy is increasing leaps and bounds. People are tuning out the mouthpieces of God who are shouting from the rooftops about spiritual compromise - spiritual perversion - seeping into Christianity at every level. Between economic hardship and emotional stress, more and more Christians are becoming more and more selective in who they will listen to and give their money and allegiance to. It the messenger doesn’t tickle their itchy ears, they are tuning out. If the messenger is shouting, “Beware! Beware! Wolves in sheep’s clothing are knocking on your door” … it gets interpreted as fear mongering, doom-and-gloom, Christian radicalism; not “positive” nor “encouraging” at all.
The world stage is being set for voices to arise to offer false hope, because frustration and fear is growing in people as is hopelessness, and the majority of these voices will not be from messengers sent by the Holy Spirit. Rather … they will be “front runners” for the anti-christ to come upon the world scene to offer false hope to a very troubled world, and rather than the masses turning to the true Messiah (Jesus Christ) for peace and economic safety as well as personal safety no doubt, they will allow themselves to be conned by the voices of the false messiahs who speak the will of Satan as the king wolf in sheep’s clothing.
For the wise, now is not the time to detach from diligently learning how to allow God to teach you how to spot deception in the world, and crawl into our little world of “safe” denial. The end-time stage is being set faster than what many truly care to realize. And please don’t assume I’m talking about the rapture. The rapture will take care of itself, when the Father decides it’s time for it to happen. I’m talking about spiritual compromise for the buck ($$$$) and lust for spiritual power and outright lies and deceit at alarming levels, folks … at EVERY level in society, both within spiritual circles and without. God warned us it was going to happen. (For starters, see: Matthew 24: 11-12;24; 2 Peter the 2nd and 3rd chapters)
The sooner we learn to discern what is Holy Spirit endorsed, and what isn’t, the more peace and faith we’ll receive in our relationship with God until our time is done here on earth. And until that moment comes for each of us, we will be more equipped to help others spot deception and stay free from it as much as possible, so they too can help others to do the same.
Here is another writing that I would recommend you read that dovetails with this one: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/u-z/WhoIsAChristian.htm
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