In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus deals with this very sort of situation.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
We find here in this passage, one the hard sayings of Jesus. He clearly says that many people who claim the His name are not headed for Heaven, but for Hell. What’s that movie title from some years back? An Inconvenient Truth.
How can that be? How is that possible? Did these people lose their salvation? Well the truth is, the key is right there in Matthew 7:23, when Jesus says, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you.”
It’s not that Jesus doesn’t know who these people are—He knows who everyone is. The Bible uses the word “know” to show an intimate relationship. Jesus tells these people who profess to know Him to depart—you think you know me? I sure don’t know you—and I never did. These people were never saved!
The truth is, the clearest hallmark of salvation is obedience.
Look at verse 21 again. Jesus says, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
…and here’s the real key….
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Jesus is not speaking to people who aren’t religious. On the contrary, they are a very religious people. He’s not speaking to atheists, or agnostics. He’s not speaking either to people who belong to pagan religions. He’s not even talking to people who hold heretical or unorthodox.
No, he’s talking to people who have their doctrine nailed down. He’s talking to people who are orthodox as can be. He’s talking to many people here who are, like the Pharisees, as righteous as a man can get by his own doing.
But all their knowledge about God has never made the long trip, the toughest 18 inches to cross, from their heads to their hearts. All of their knowledge about God has never translated into obedience to the will of God.
To be sure, obedience doesn’t save us—eternal salvation is a gift of God, something we can’t earn. But to be equally sure, saved people obey. A life changed by the Gospel is one of obedience, not a life open sin, not a life that says I’ll live Christianity on my terms.
If we’re really saved, and we sin—and we will—it will bother us, and we’ll feel real remorse. No, it’s not about perfection… but it is about direction. As a Christian, I may not be sinless, but as time progresses, if I’m truly a born again believer, I ought to sin less.
Get my meaning?
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