Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord,
- “that day” = the Day of Judgment
- Refers to the future day of judgment when Christ will:
- Reward the believers
- Judge the non-believers
- Other references to the Day of Judgment in the NT:
- I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. "Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. (Luke 10:12-14)
- For [God] has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:30b-31)
- This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. (Romans 2:16)
- Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day (2 Timothy 4:8)
"in [Jesus’] name"
Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?
- “in [Jesus’] name” = acting by Jesus’ authority
- They claimed (and probably believed) they were acting on Jesus’ behalf as they:
- Drove out demons
- Performed many miracles
In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus contrasts the outcome on the Day of Judgment for two categories of people:
Category #1: Concerning His true followers, of Christ describes:
Their character : “he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (7:21c)
Their final outcome on the Day of Judgment – “will enter the kingdom of heaven” (7:21b)
Category #2: Those who claim to be Christ’s followers but are not
Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?! (7:22a)
and in your name drive out demons?! (7:22b)
and perform many miracles?! (7:22c)
Their true character: you evildoers [literally, “you workers of lawlessness” - ESV]! (7:23c)
Their final outcome on the Day of Judgment: I will tell them plainly,
I never knew you. (7:23a)
Away from me, you evildoers! (7:23b)
This is why Jesus gives so often warns those who sin that they are in danger of going to hell:
- But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:22 - ESV)
- If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5:29)
- Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28) !
The New Testament writers also warn professing Christians to examine themselves lest they face condemnation at the Judgment:
- Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-- unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5)
- Work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12b)
- Make your calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10)
- If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26-27)
How Jesus’ (and his apostles’) strong warnings against disobedience are sometimes misunderstood:
- Some wrongly conclude that we are saved by our own obedience
- Some wrongly conclude that someone who is truly saved can lose their salvation.
We are clearly not saved by our own obedience or good works!
- For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. (Romans 3:28)
- We . . . know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. . . because by observing the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:15-16)
Instead we are saved because of Christ’s perfect obedience and His perfect sacrifice on our behalf
- God made [Christ] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6)
And we experience that salvation the moment we trust (believe, have faith) that Christ’s work was offered in our behalf:
- Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already (John 3:18a)
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31)
However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. (Romans 4:5)
And once we are truly saved by Christ – we remain saved forever!
- [Christ speaking:] My sheep [those who belong to Christ] listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy– (Jude 1:24)
So if we never can lose our salvation once we are saved, why does the Bible give so many warnings to Christians about obedience?
- Because there are many who appear to be saved (even to themselves), but they really aren’t saved – like the false believers that Jesus describes in Matthew 7:21-23
- They called Him “Lord”
- They did many mighty works in His name
- But Jesus never knew them
How do we keep from becoming like the false believers described by Jesus?
- We must obey Jesus’ teachings today and every day so that we can be assured that when the final “storm” (the Day of Judgment) comes we will be able to stand before Him unashamed.
- This is the point of the parable that Jesus tells in the next four verses (Matthew 7:24-27):
- 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
- 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
- 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
- 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”