Monday, July 26, 2010

I Never Knew You

"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." Matthew 7:21-23

Years ago when reading the above text, I skimmed over it thinking I already understood it.  However, God told me that I did not really understand and made me read it again. 

I thought God was speaking of knowing someone in a worldly sense, i.e. I know Melissa down at the grocery store.  Yet, the knowing here is something much more deep and intimate.  God is speaking of knowing us as a man knows His wife.

The big mystery of the ages is simply that God desires to have intimate communion with us.  He wants to have fellowship with us on an individual and personal level so that we truly become one with Him as we are transformed by His Spirit.  It is in His presence that we are revived and fulfilled.  This requires that we spend quiet time alone with Him.  Yet, that can be a very unnatural process for the flesh because it is the antithesis of what the flesh gravitates to.  Hearing that still, small voice often requires us to be still and small. 

Man's instinct is often to make things so complicated.  As a result, it is easy to get drawn into a performance-based relationship with God.  By performance-based, I mean that we subconsciously begin to look for something we can "do" or "know" which will make us acceptable to God.  We have been trained all of our lives to believe that rewards come as a result of performance, so there is just an innate urge to DO something.

This performance mindset can come across in many ways, but usually winds up being manifested as legalism and bondage.  Being in Jesus Christ becomes about the name I call Him, the day I worship, the clothes I wear, the knowledge I attain, the food I eat (or don't eat), the fellowship I attend (or don't attend), the missions I undertake, the offerings I make...

God is not interested in our acts of piety and righteousness.  They are all to Him as filthy rags.  In Matthew's text, Jesus describes those who have been running around doing many things, but have neglected that intimate time with Him.  They are indeed performing many good works, but have not entered into the relationship God seeks.

The Father introduced Himself to Moses as "I Am that I Am".  What a way to name yourself!  God just exists; He simply is.  And when we are in Him, we become the same.  We just are.  In Him we live, move and have our being.  In Christ, we are freed from having to earn God's approval or perform for His pleasure.  We simply rest in Him and let Him work through us.  Although this is a simple truth, it is often one of the hardest for man to grasp.

Do you know why there is liberty in Christ?  Because we are free to be who He has created us to be!   Freedom because it is not about what we can do or what we know, but about who He is and what He is doing within us. We cannot initiate that work or even complete it. THAT is freedom, because there is no more performance.

No longer is there a division between us and God; no longer must we have a man go in to God on our behalf.  The veil has been rent and we are able to approach the throne of grace with boldness.  We do not have to live up to any man's expectations of who we should be.  We only need to avail ourselves of our Heavenly Father, who has already made us accepted in the Beloved!

"Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. 

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42

Mary sat at Jesus' feet, and that was the good part which was needful.

How many times are we tempted to run around "doing" for Jesus, when what He truly desires is for us to sit at His feet and learn of Him?  I am not speaking of being a lackluster believer with no works as evidence of faith.  I am talking about putting first things first and having our priorities in order.  Then, when works are being done, it is not us "doing", but God working through us.  It may sound like splitting hairs, but there is truly a big difference between the two.

When our communion with God begins to be defined solely by what we do for Him, then we miss that which is needful.  Don't neglect the good part.


  1. Amen!! I was just thinking about the difference between dying to self and allowing Christ to live through me and works of the flesh. The difference I came up with was the fact that I am called upon to make myself available for God to change me by getting into His presence, so I fast and pray and study my Bible not to perform form God, but to place myself in His presence to change me so that He can live through me. Once He manifests Himself in me I am complete in Him. So when some one says that we need to fast, pray and study to show ourselves approved these acts are not works of the flesh for reward, but presenting myself according to Romans 12:1 to commune with God for transformation (metamorphosis). This is so simple.

  2. This nearly brought a tear to my eye because our nature is to please God or others by the works that we do that we completely miss the point that we're approved by God through Christ and thats it. God is great and am forever greatful that he send his Son to die for me so that i can have direct connection with him. Praise God!!

  3. Amen to that. Many are times when we forget to have that intimate time with God but run away doing the good works for others.what abt the time we should spend talking to our Father?surely this is an eye opener. Thank you for sharing ths wth us.

  4. This seems to be a blow to organized performance based religion, while taking the believer unto the God of the bible. I ran into a situation this evening where a guy who had the floor seems to be too caught up in the ability to say things rather than relationship in which we are to strive, be it establishing on or making the on that we have closer.

    I really enjoyed the article and do prefer a relationship over any accomplishment that man has to offer.

    Be blessed!

  5. The article is good, but not completely. Matthey 7:21 “…but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven…” then one has to ask himself ‘what work do I have to do/or what will of God do I have to do to enter the kingdom of heaven?’ and the best answer is found in the bible and not our own conclusions.
    Is spending a quiet time alone with Him a requirement for us to enter the kingdom of God (as you put it in the fourth paragraph)is this not a performance-based relationship with God? You May say no, then what is it? You say that “Being in Jesus Christ becomes about the name I call Him, the day I worship, the clothes I wear, the knowledge I attain, the food I eat (or don't eat), the fellowship I attend (or don't attend), the missions I undertake, the offerings I make...” is this really true?if it is true is it bibilicall? If yes prove with the bible
    Does being in Jesus become about the name I call Him? Don’t people call him lord lord? Are all this right? The day I worship? The clothes I wear? the food I eat? The offerings I make? You try to escape performance based relationship with God but you come to the same conclusions. Making other to do the same “so I fast and pray and study my Bible to place myself in His presence” “.what about the time we should spend talking to our Father? surely this is an eye opener.”
    I’m not saying these things are bad but all this are performance, if there is any performance needed is this “Matthew 6:28-29 Then they said to him, what shall we do then, that we might WORK the WORK of God? Jesus answered and said to them this is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent” you see the bible is simple and clear we need to believe on Christ and he will not profess unto us, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” This he assures us as we continue down through John 6:37 …and he that comes to me will no wise cast out.

  6. Hello Amazing Ace Graphics,

    Thanks for your comments, however, it is clear that you have not really understood what is written. I encourage you to read it again when you get a moment.

    Please also notice that the problem with those whom the Lord cast out was not lack of belief, but lack of obedience.

    "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. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and DOETH them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock." Matthew 7:21-24

    To assert that there is nothing left for us to "DO" or work out (Philippians 2:12) after entering salvation is to be in error. It is surely not anything we can do in our own power, but we are empowered to do so by the Holy Spirit. It is God's work in us, but we must submit to it.

    As you say, we must "come" to Jesus, and that is present tense, not past. We must continue to come/submit to Him as we live.

    Perhaps the following would help you to understand what the Bible says in this area: License, Legalism, or Liberty?

  7. Hello Amazing Ace Grace, I believe the context of the scriptures you quoted, John6:26-29 was in reference to the provisions Jesus provided earlier and not salvation.To be clear though, as it relates to salvation, believing is paramount but so is repentance and obedience

  8. Hi Tarre Stanley,

    That is an important point which may not have been very clear in my comment: the evidence of belief is obedience. If we believe, then we will obey. Faith is not a "feeling", nor is it just being in agreement that doctrine is right/wrong. Faith is the action of obedience in response to believing God's word. If we do not obey, it is because we do not believe (or have stopped believing).


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