One day I will meet the Lord face to face and I am confident that He will know me, but there is a Scripture that has always concerned me about what a genuine relationship with Jesus looks like. It reads: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23) The Lord is pointing out here that we need to do the will of the Father and we can only do that if we truly know Jesus and He most importantly knows us.
Just imagine if you told everybody that you knew a mega superstar and you collected all the information you could about that person; you would absolutely know all the facts about that person but you would not really know that person. Also, it would be highly unlikely that the mega superstar would actually know you based solely on your fact gathering. Although you would feel like you really did know that person, you would really only know about that person. In order to have a true relationship, you would have to speak to that person regularly and spend time with them to be known. An authentic relationship can only take place when there is two-way communication and time spent with each other. To know someone demonstrates intimacy.
It is quite confusing when the Lord says in this passage: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” It appears at first glance that these were genuine believers who were performing these miracles. However, if this is true why does the Lord rebuke them and call them those who practice lawlessness and what is lawlessness? Worse yet, He says depart from me for I never knew you.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:27) Lawlessness is a form of wickedness, iniquity (the mystery of iniquity) or man’s fallen nature. In other words, sin. Here we see how the religious Pharisees put on an appearance or air of righteousness to men but inwardly their hearts were full of hatred, hypocrisy and wickedness. So it is possible to operate in Jesus’s name and see great miracles but still not know Him. That just blows my mind.
At the root of lawlessness lies the lack of love for ourselves and for our brothers, sisters, neighbors, co-workers, congregations, the world etc. Though people often look upon man’s outward appearance and make conclusions, God looks deep into our heart and exposes hypocrisy and wickedness. Jesus looks at our motivation and the state of our relationship with Him. We can do all the right things for all the wrong reasons. The very nature of grace is that it changes us from the inside out not the outside in. In other words, when we are truly born again we will have the love of Christ in us and He will reside in us as King and Lord of our lives; then we will operate out of His power and not our own or worse yet, the power of the enemy.
The Man of Lawlessness
In contrast, if we are not truly converted into Christianity by regeneration of our spirit, we are in danger of knowing about Jesus and even performing miracles, but not truly know Him or be acquainted with Him. “The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of power,sign, and false wonder, and with every wicked deception directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them. For this reason, God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie, in order that judgment will come upon all who have disbelieved the truth and delighted in wickedness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9)
I have personally seen time and time again those who profess to be Christians, not walk in love and in fact walk after false gods such as new age, Buddha, spiritualism, occultism, horoscopes, psychics, illuminati and the like. I often wonder, do these folks really know who Jesus is. Jesus Christ trumps all of these false gods and false religions. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” (John 14:6)