Understanding Matthew 7:21-23: to the legalist who believes Jesus is espousing a works salvation…
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)
Why were these apparently “faithful” servants rejected and prohibited from entering the Kingdom? Answer: Relationship
Jesus was speaking to those who did many wonderful “works” in His Name…they probably sought the law, maybe they were Sabbatarian addicts, much like many today who seek same as a facade, as they worked to earn their way into the Kingdom via self-righteousness…these people worked and worked to serve the Lord and when judgment came, they were rejected, why?
These workers of the law and slaves to letters and good deeds NEVER ESTABLISHED A COVENANT RELATIONSHIP with the Father by faith in the Son, Jesus Christ…much like the legalists in these forums? Therefore, Jesus rejected them as they were workers of iniquity, they were lawless because they never surrendered their will for the Father’s will and believed in the One the Father sent into the World to provide atonement for their sin and receive the righteousness of Jesus imputed into their life by covenant promise (John 6:29; John 3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 8:12).
Their “works of righteousness” were equated as a “filthy garment” (Isaiah 64:6) by the Father as they performed those works motivated primarily by self-righteousness as opposed to the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit who is given the faithful in Jesus as Guarantor of covenant relationship (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Christian’s follow a “law” that is infinitely superior to letters etched in stone and scratched upon parchment…Christians follow the Law of the Spirit in sanctification as arbitrated by the conscience…something that legalists and self-righteous Jews and Israelite’s and Hebrew Roots fanatics and cults and sects know nothing about.