Now I don't know about you, but as a growing Christian for nearly 13 years now, that verse found in Matthew 7:23 (paraphrased), is to me the single most frightening scripture found in the Word of God! Why? Listen carefully to what Jesus is saying. "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'" Matt. 7:22 Do you see it? "He said these people prophesied in His name! They drove out demons! They performed MANY miracles? Who exactly is Jesus talking to you?
Do you think a non-believer can cast out demons? Don't answer that yet? How about prophesy? perform miracles? Doesn't Jesus himself say in Mark 16:16 -19, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
I mean it sounds like "true" believers have miracles following them on account of the power of Jesus, and he clearly says they will be able to drive demons in his name? So WHO in the world are these MANY Jesus is telling to get away from him?
I am going to share with you something God has been speaking to my heart about over the last several weeks. I was really, really perplexed about this because I am wondering in my head then WHO Lord can make it to heaven? Who Lord will spend eternity with you and KNOW that their eternal destination is secure?
He said, "Rachel, did you hear any of them saying, "Did I not accept you as my Savior, Jesus?", "Did I not trust you whole heartedly for my salvation?" I said, "No". He said, "And you won't because accepting salvation, found only in Jesus, is the ONLY way to heaven." I accepted that and rested, but then another interesting point came to mind.
So I asked, "Well, these people that came to you, Lord, they drove out demons! They performed MANY miracles! How could they be anything BUT a Christian?" Now, I am not going to claim that I have got this whole scripture figured out, anyone that has been in the Bible any amount of time knows this one is a doozy, but I will share what I believe Jesus showed me.
People that come to the Lord through Jesus can be used mightily by God including performing miracles, driving out demons, etc., etc. Those same people however, can fall away. They can choose to walk away from the living God in willful disobedience to his known will for his life. I am talking about mature Christians who have operated in the gifts of the Spirit, as found in 1 Cor. 12:1-4, making a choice to walk away. Preposterous right?! Apparently not.
Secondly, the devil mimics gifts of the spirit. This is evidenced by Balaam in Numbers 22, Simon the Sorceror attempted to buy them in Acts 8, King Saul prophesied in 1 Samuel 19, and well even the Sons of Sceva attempted to use the gifts unsuccessfully as found in Acts 19. This leads me to believe the "Many" are a combination of these two groups of people.
What I find to be most interesting however is that Jesus says to them, "I never knew you." He means I was never intimately acquainted with you. I never made my permanent residence in your heart. I never supped with you. He is saying, you never really knew me. You didn't realize I was the only way. You didn't get it that apart from me your works were nothing. You missed it in thinking my gifts were something that earned you salvation.
You see, Jesus doesn't give a rip about what we can do for him. He says so in Isaiah 64:6, "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." Did you catch that? All our RIGHTEOUS acts are like FILTHY RAGS. Now ultimately God does care how we act and what we do with our time, talents and treasures, but that comes AFTER we are in an intimate relationship with him. At that point he leads and directs each step until we are home safely in his arms.
So then what can a man do to be saved? How can a man enter heaven and know that he won't be met with the infamous, "Away from me, I never knew you?" Accept the fact that God came as a man, Jesus Christ, and that he was nailed to a cross where all of humanity's sins were nailed past, present and future including yours and mine. That he then rose from the grave on the third day and currently sits next to God as a holy and perfect high priest ready and willing to be your eternal sacrifice, friend and guide from earth to heaven. We receive it by faith and grace which is our a free gift from God. There will only be one person in heaven that will eternally bare nail pierced hands.
He made his move more than 2,000 years ago, are you willing to make yours?
God bless ya! Hope you are having as much fun in life as I am! With Jesus it's possible and his power, love, joy, and peace never, ever run dry!
Picture Reference: http://philmoser.com/2012/02/