Have you ever wondered (like I have) what Jesus meant when He said there will be some who will call Him Lord but He never knew them?
I’ve studied this out before because if it’s possible to hear those words, I want to avoid whatever it is that would make Him say that to me. What I first discovered was the emphasis Jesus put on the word lawlessness. Let’s read it and I’ll explain:
“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. 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?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” (Matthew 7:21-23).
There’s so much here. First, Jesus said He will only know those who do the will of His Father, or we could say, those who follow His commandments, adhering to the Word of God. Then secondly, Jesus clarified an important aspect of what it means to follow the will of God by using the word lawlessness.
Jesus was very clear that our new covenant is under a new law — the law of love (Mark 12:30). Therefore, if lawlessness, by definition is a lack of the law, then Jesus was warning us, “I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you… you who practice [a lack of love]!” Love is the new law. Lawlessness, under the new covenant is a lack of love and this statement is directed towards those who make a practice of not showing love. This isn’t an accusation against the occasional bad day but this is serious to God because He is love (1 John 4:8).
But there’s more to this warning. Jesus said many will call Him Lord but his reply will be, “I never knew you.” How is that possible? Doesn’t God know everyone? Of course He does. This word knew describes intimacy in the same way we see it written how Adam knew his wife Eve (Genesis 4:1) or how Jacob didn’t know Mary until she brought forth her firstborn son (Matthew 1:25).
God desires to know us — not just by name, but intimately. This means it’s necessary to have a personal relationship with Him. Let me give an example:
There are some people you would talk to on your porch but because you don’t know them well, that’s as far as they go.
Then there are others who you know a little better and you invite them in to the living room to sit on the couch to visit awhile.
There are still others who you are very comfortable inviting in to the kitchen to sit around the table, share a meal and a story, because these you know very well.
But there is only one person you share the bedroom with — your spouse. This is the most sacred of places and is reserved for the one you intimately know.
In the same way, there is a place in your heart God wants access to. It’s the intimate place where He knows you (and you know Him). This is what Jesus was referring to. And if we have this kind of relationship with God, guess what? You won’t be practicing lawlessness. It’s impossible to spend intimate time with the God of love and not carry His heart.
So of course God knows who you are, but does He know you? I promise He wants to.