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I Never Knew You

aymon de albatrus

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.” (Mat 7:22-23)

“But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not from where you are; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.” (Luk 13:27-28)


I never knew you. That is, I never approved, loved, or regarded you as my friends. See Psa 1:6 2Ti 2:19 1Co 8:3. This proves that, with all their pretensions, these people had never been true followers of Christ. Jesus will not then say to false prophets and false professors of religion, that he had once known them, and then rejected them; that they had been once real Christians and then had fallen away; that they had been pardoned, and then had apostatised. The truth is that these have never been true Christian believers.

They had never been true Christians. Whatever might have been their pretended joys, their raptures, their hopes, their self-confidence, their visions, their zeal, they had never been regarded by the Saviour as His true friends (Joh 15:14). This verse proves that true Christians do not fall away from Grace (1Jo 2:19). Whatever these people had, they were never born again from above (Joh 3:3).

‘I never knew you’ will be pronounced at the Day of Judgment publicly before men and angels which must be understood consistent with the omniscience of Christ; for as the omniscient God He knew their persons and their works. He knew they were workers of iniquity; He knew what they had been doing all their days under the guise of religion; He knew the principles of all their actions, and the views they had in all they did; nothing is hid from Him so it is not that He is unfair to them.

By the epitaph “I know you not” Jesus is saying: I never had any love, or affection for you, I never esteemed you, I never made any account of you as mine, as belonging to me; I never approved of you, nor your conduct; I never had any personal conversation with you, nor you with me.

"I have not known you of old," from ancient times, or from everlasting for God knows who are His for He elected them to salvation even before the world was created (Eph 1:3-4. 2Ti 2:19). By this terrible phrase Jesus says that He knew them not from His Father’s choice or as a gift of the Father to Him, nor He saw them in the book of life (Rev 20:12,15). He never knew them as His sheep He called by name for whom he died. He did not see them preaching His Holy name nor seen their love for Him or exalt His holy person. They talk of the works they did for Him but He knew not of one good work in all their lives, with a single eye to His glory or His blood or His sacrifice on the cross. Wherefore, He will neither hear, nor see them; He has nothing to do with them.

Christ declares that He knew them not; that is, He did not like them; He would not admit them into His presence and glory and continues with “depart from me, ye workers of iniquity” following the previous awful sentence. Christ the judge; is banishing them from His presence, whereby nothing is more terrible: for as it is His presence that makes heaven but His absence means hell and the lake of "everlasting fire" prepared for the devil and his demons.

Banishment from Christ’s presence is the terrible punishment and a heavy loss to be sent to everlasting burnings which displays Christ’s almighty power. By being “workers of iniquity”, does not necessarily mean that they were adulterers; or murderers, or drunkards, or extortionists, or thieves, or any other openly profane sinners; but inasmuch as they did the work of the Lord deceitfully (Psa 6:8). They may even have been decent moral persons, but preached themselves, and not Christ; sought their own things and not His; what they did, they did with a wicked mind and not with a view to His glory; in this they wrought iniquity, whilst they were doing the very things they pleaded on their own behalf for their admission into the kingdom of heaven, but all things have to be done only for the glory of God (1Co 10:31)

Ultimately, everyone will stand before Jesus Christ. We all will meet Him face to face without any doubt and receive from Him either Grace to Paradise or condemnation to Hell according to His will.

On that day there will also be many who attempt to enter into heaven through a variety of means. They will cry out all the good works they did in the name of the Lord. They will loudly proclaim the rituals they went through in the name of the Lord. They will demand entrance based on their own good works, brilliant mind, feelings of having done well, and some even by their own amendments and 'corrections' to the teachings of the Bible.

“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.” (Mat 7:22-23) but Jesus Christ will answer them thus, 'I NEVER knew you'?

These people can be of two types: Firstly are those who may have casually known of Christ but never actually set up a personal relationship with Him. They may have gone to church and even participated in the social aspect of church religiously, but they never became real friends with Jesus Christ. They are just like someone who might have gone to a celebrity party, rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, but never actually made a friend.

Secondly, there are those who went to Christ on their own terms. Cain is an example of such folly. He didn't like the way Christ told him to approach Him, so Cain just made up a way that seemed good to him, and then he tried to make it acceptable to God. It didn't work for Cain, and won't work for anyone else either. These are the settlers who are attempting to go to the home of God and then modify it to fit their own image of what God's home should be like according to their precepts.

For those who go to God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son, the words 'I never knew you' will not be heard for they were elected to eternal live before creation.

Sadly there will be people on the Day of Judgment that are going to be expecting to go to heaven, yet instead of inheriting the Kingdom, they are going to hear those saddening words of Christ; “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” There will be deacons, Sabbath school teachers, Elders, Pastors, TV evangelists, miracle workers along with countless others (i.e. all church people!) that will be turned away for they didn’t truly know the Lord and where not Born Again from above and He will say to them “…depart from Me, for I never knew you.”

The people Jesus will say He “never knew” will be those who never felt the need to truly “know Him”, and yet these are the people who “think” they are going to heaven!

The Bible clearly teaches that we are saved by faith in Christ and even that is not our own doing but a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8-9 is about as clear on this as possible. We are not saved by our works. Yet, there is an incredibly important role that our good works play in relation to our salvation for by our good works in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:10) we demonstrate to ourselves and to the world that we are His.(Jam 2:17) The Apostle Paul exhorts us to ensure we are in the faith: “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?” (2Co 13:5). How can we ensure that in fact we are in the faith and saved? A good insight is to examine honestly our thinking and behaviour:

  • Have you experience a total change of nature, from self centred to God centred?

  • What fills completely your soul and thinking every moment of the day, are the things of God and His Christ? Or are the things of the world (1Jo 2:15)?.

  • Do you put God above all things even above your family and your own life? (Luk 14:26)

  • Do you have a strong desire to be with the people of God?

  • Do you desire with much desire to be with the Lord as soon as possible and away from this life?

  • Are you terrible distressed by your sins not by fear of Hell, but rather for letting God down?

  • Are you prepared to die for the sake of Christ? If you were requested to say “Caesar is Lord” to save yourself form death penalty, would you negate Christ?

If you can fulfil the above questions the chances are that you are Born Again from above and a child of God.

In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus tells of sheep and goats that are separated at the judgment. The sheep are welcomed into eternal life in Heaven and the goats are sent to eternal punishment in Hell. When they ask why one group goes to heaven and one does not they are told that one group, the sheep, visited the sick, fed the hungry and the thisty, clothed the naked and they really did those things for the glory of Jesus. The other group, the goats, failed to do so or they may even had done them but did these things for themselves or even for the people however they failed to do so for Jesus. What is amazing is that Jesus said to the goats, away from me, I never knew you. Incredibly, these goats called Him Lord in the story. They claimed to know who He was, but He denied knowing them for they were not His.

So what are we to make of this? Is Jesus teaching that we are saved by works? Is he saying that we can earn our way to heaven when other parts of the Bible clearly say otherwise? Is he saying that we can loose our salvation if we don’t do enough good works? The answer is going to be found in understanding the less clear parts of the Bible, in light of the perfectly clear parts. We have to use Scripture to understand Scripture.

Besides Ephesians 2, the next place to consider is “What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” (Jam 2:14) The answer that James gives is no, it can not. What we need to be clear about is this, James is talking about a certain kind of faith, not saving faith. In essence what he is saying is this: “can a faith that does not manifest itself in a changed life, that shows no evidence of doing the works of God or live a life not dedicate to Christ, that does not forgive people, serve people or love people as ourselves (especially those of the household of God Gal 6:10), really be a faith that saves?” The answer is again NO.

True saving faith will demonstrate itself by how we live or more precisely, how we LOVE. If we love God with all we have and all we are, we will love our neighbour (1Jo 4:20), wee will serve them and care for them. That is what Jesus says the sheep did. That kind of faith demonstrate that you are indeed saved. 'Faith' that does not show up in loving others is really no faith at all. That kind of faith is not salvific faith.

That is the issue with the sheep and the goats. The goats thought they had faith, they thought Jesus was their Lord, but their faith was pure lip service. It was not people service. They did not walk their talk. What the Bible teaches is that if you have a faith that is guided by loving God and loving your neighbour, then you will show people your faith by how you serve them in their time of need. Those good works do not save you, but they are the evidence of the true faith that you have received that saves you. Failure to love God and to love your neighbour would be an indication that saving faith is not present. People who show no evidence of loving God by serving others may be shocked to find out that Jesus does not know them as his sheep.

"I never knew you: Depart from me." Can you imagine standing before God and hearing those dreadful words? Can you imagine the fear and terror that would grip your heart when you realize that you were never saved after all?

Sadly, many people will die to be told those awful words by Jesus to then go to Hell. These people are those who have a false sense of security as far as their salvation in concerned. These people mistakenly thought that they had a free card to get out of Hell by making a personal decision at some religious meeting but they were playing a dangerous game when it came to matters of their eternal destination and were terribly wrong.

These people who somewhere along the way got the notion in their head that to make it into heaven, all they had to do was say some meaningless words and have the same confidence a “hopeful” in the Pilgrim’s Progress story. They believed that all they had to do to get out of Hell was to recite a few choice words and then presto, now they have "got saved ticket." And then the mentality of these people is, "Hey, I can do whatever I want -- all the fornicating I want, all the lying I want, all the cheating I want, break all of the commandments I want. Why? Because I said the magic words, and I now have 'got saved.'"

Well, being saved is not just having an emotional moment when the preacher gives the altar call. Being saved is not just lifting up your hand at your buddy's funeral when you are feeling your own immortality. Being saved is not something you "get," as though you can pick up a quart of "saved" from the corner market and then just go home and store it away on a shelf for emergency use only.

How can you say, "Jesus, come into my life and be my Saviour and Lord," or whatever the words were, and then continue on wilfully living a life of sinful rebellion? Friend, if you have zero interest in pleasing the Lord, following the Lord's commands, learning of the Lord, or turning from your sins, you are probably not saved!

For example let us say that I decide to marry and so with my spouse to be I go in front of the priest and after all those marvellous words I say “I do” but subsequently I continue in my debaucher life like before, I am still married? Sure legally I may be but not in my heart, for nothing has changed in my inner being and in my behaviour.

Similarly I will be deceiving myself if after having said a few quick words of commitment to God at the altar but after I continue living my ungodly life as before for there is no evidence of a changed life for Christ. But many of these professors just do that. If one is really saved there must be some clear indication of that in his life. We cannot add to what Christ did on the cross, but if Christ is my Saviour and Lord and the Holy Spirit is living inside of me, that should manifest itself in some clear way. I should want to do the will of my Heavenly Father, I should love Jesus' name and should crave His Word. I should hate sin in my life and surely I would not see salvation as something that gives me a license to sin.

If I am truly saved I would definitely make these verses mine:

“I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” (Luk 13:5)

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2Ch 7:14)

“He that said, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1Jo 2:4)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (Joh 10:27)

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” (Heb 10:26-27)

Jesus Christ will receive and adopt any repentant contrite soul who comes to Him with humbled broken heart. That means going to Him on His terms, with full surrender and a heart that is willing to conform to His image. Christ is not interested in settlers. Squatters are people who come to Him with the idea that they want to change heaven to suit their idea of heaven. There will be no settlers in heaven.

First, everyone gets an invitation to enter the kingdom of heaven through Jesus Christ, but many are called but few chosen: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Mat 22:14)

Second, the invitation must be accepted while the individual is living. The invitation is void upon death.

Third, the invitation is not an invitation to have fun at a celebrity party but it is an invitation is to begin an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Saviour and the Lord of your soul.

Ultimately, everyone will stand before Jesus Christ, face to face without any doubt. On that those who are His will know in advance that their place in heaven is secure because they know Jesus Christ personally, and they are entering in through the official entry, not like “hopeful” who did things his own way kind like that song “I did it my way”.

On that day there will also be many who attempt to enter into heaven through a variety of means. They will cry out all the works they claim to have done in the name of the Lord. They will loudly proclaim the rituals they went through in the name of the Lord. They will demand entrance based on their own good works, brilliant mind, feelings of having done well, and some even by their own amendments and 'corrections' to the teachings of the Bible. But all to no avail for they are not His.

Throughout history people have performed many deeds (including wars) in the name of God believing they were called to do them in Christ, but He never called them to do such things. These people did these things to glorify themselves and therefore they will not receive recognition from Jesus. Indeed they will have retribution for those. For example, once I gave my daughter a little job to do around the house on a regular basis, but she never did it. One day coming home I found that she had done a huge amount of jobs that I never asked her to do and she was expecting to receive thanks from me, but I got terribly mad at her, saying: “I did ask you to do a little job every day but you never did it, and now just because you decided to do all this you want a reward ,no way, you will receive a reprimand from me instead for having acted in rebellion and not doing what I had asked you”. An so is with God, it is not how much one does that counts with Him, but how much one is obedient to His commands, indeed anything outside that is sin (1Jo 3:4).

God may ask you only to help a little old woman cross the road every day, but you think this is below your high dignity and so you go build cathedrals in His name that He has never asked you for. But be well sure that you will be condemned for your rebellion to His will for you and you will not hear those marvellous words: "well done faithful servant".

For example in our decadent modern democratic age we have the great heresy of women preachers and pastors. I fear that these women will hear these sad words from Jesus Christ, as He judges those who went into the world without His true apostolic ordination. When the woman is in the wrong place, her right place is empty. True apostolic women are humbly worshiping in the pews, working the altars, loving their husband and children, and maintaining an integrity and sanctification characteristic of holiness. They have no ambition to take over the Pulpit. This is the true position of the  woman as the Word commands (Tit 2:3-5; 1Ti 5:9-10; 1Pe 3:3-5) but she is not called to preach or teach (1Ti 2:13-14).  The women in rebellion to these orders are not known of Christ.

CONCLUSION:

“I Never Knew You” and “depart from me, all you workers of iniquity” are terrible word that will be uttered by Jesus Christ to those who are not His at the Last Judgment.

But these words will be even more bitter to those that expect the rewards of Heaven but instead will receive condemnation to Hell for their selfish deeds. For this reason it behoves us to be absolutely sure of our eternal state lest we live in deception: “These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1Jo 5:13)