Summary: In light of Jesus’s judgement on those who claimed to have been rightoues and Jesus Mission statement for His life, Matthew gives us conclusion that no matter how hard you may try, you can’t be righteous. The only way you can be saved is through Jesus who
Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to me, ’Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ’Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ’I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Let me ask you this. How many of you have read these verses? How many of you were troubled by these verses before or even now? Actually, the scripture verses we just read are one of the most controversial scripture verses. I don’t think it is wise to claim to know the answer absolutely when dealing with controversial matter. However, I believe as we observe these verses rather closely, we may realize what most people ignore.
They are the ones who called the name of the Lord
They are the ones who prophesied in His name
They are the ones who drove out demons in the name of the Lord
They are the ones who performed many miracles
Is it wrong to call the name of the Lord?
Is it wrong to prophesy in the name of the Lord
Is it wrong to drive out demons in the name of the Lord
Is it wrong to perform miracles in the name of the Lord
Of course, it’s not
We know and they knew and of course Jesus knew nothing wrong with what they did. Actually, I am sure, what they did was commendable. Then why did Jesus call them unrighteous, evil doers?
What is obvious here is the fact that though they might look righteous person, they don’t before Jesus.
Why is it? Simply because God’s righteous standard is different from theirs.
Let me show you what I mean.
"whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all," James 2:10;
he pronounces every one accursed "who continueth not in ALL things written in the book of the law to do them," Galatians 3: 10.
Matthew 5:29-30 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. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
“You must be perfect-just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” 5:48
They didn’t realize God’s standard.
What they did as such is not wrong. But, what’s wrong with them was that they thought they could go heaven by what they did. They thought having done some righteous things would make them righteous.
Though they say they believe in Jesus, they were depending on what they do for their salvation. Probably they did their best to earn righteous status.
Do you know how the Bible calls people like them?
Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
Let me ask you this, is it wrong to keep the law. Nothing wrong with keeping the law. Then why the bible calls them trying to keep the law in such harsh manner. (Because they didn’t acknowledge God’s absolute righteousness and standard)
Galatians 2:16 a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
Going back to the focal verses, I found at least two things that trouble me.
First, it says ‘on that day’ referring to the day of judgment.
This means they didn’t know what is involved in God’s judgment in all their life. They lived all their life with all the confidence only to find that they were wrong. How sad it is if you come to know His standard of judgment only at the judgment day. You and I can live all our lives in self-deception and self righteousness which leads us to destruction.
Secondly, Jesus says, “Many people” If Jesus used ‘many’ in a sense that He used in Matthew 7:13, 14 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. “ It means more than many people but most people.