I never knew you
“I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
These must rank among the most awful words ever uttered by Jesus.
How is it that Christians who addressed Jesus with the earnest “Lord, Lord”, or who claim to have done spectacular things in His name, may end up receiving such a deathly pronouncement from Jesus on that day?
Weren’t they professing Christians? This is not in doubt, for we read that they have heard Jesus’ words, and they call Him ‘Lord’; Jesus is not talking about non-believers here. Hadn’t they done mighty acts of ministry? Prophesying, exorcism, and mighty acts (I think of divine healings, mass conversions) – there is no denial here that such things were done.
Let us be clear first that it is not wrong to profess one’s faith as a Christian. In fact, we ought to! Indeed, baptism calls for such professing. And concerning mighty acts, who should deny the Spirit if it chooses to work mightily through you?
But, and this is crucial to note, we may do all these and miss the most important things. Jesus wants us above all to take our relationship with Him seriously. It is possible for two persons to be married to each other, but practically live as two singles (or two strangers!) under one roof. This is not what God wants for us. We are called to be sons and daughters of God, the bride of Christ. He wants us to know Him, and be known by Him.
If we knew Him, we would take His Word seriously. This means we would do it.
“If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
If we say that we belong to Him, then we must show it with our lives. We would honour Him with all of our being – not only with our words but also with our thoughts and actions.
We would nurture our relationship with Him, making Him the centre, the foundation of our lives (like building your house upon rock). Our lifestyle must be patterned after Him.
If we reject His Word, and grieve His Spirit – we effectively treat Him as a stranger. What then should you expect Jesus to say when He meets you but “I never knew you”?
Jesus says that many will receive such a shocking rebuke from Him on that day. His warnings are directed at Christians who have been living divided lives – their mouths, minds and hands do not agree. And so we plead with you – take Jesus seriously. Take your relationship with Him seriously. Take His Word seriously.
Here’s the blessed promise:
But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. (1 Cor. 8:3)
A practical suggestion: Take time off from your work, and spend an hour with your Father in secret. Read, reflect and pray through the Sermon on the Mount.