In Matthew 7:21-23, we find Jesus speaking about some who would not enter into the Kingdom of God. He claims that not all who merely say Lord, Lord will make it in, but rather those who DO the will of His Father. But then he goes on to say that there will be those prophesying, and doing miracle in His name, and yet he will tell them that He never knew them. Remember in another section of the Bible, the disciples ask Jesus if they can call down fire from heaven on those who were prophesying and healing in Jesus’ name and Jesus says something like, “Of course not, for those who are not against us are for us.”
So what gives?
Towards the end of the Gospel of Matthew, there is parable that Jesus tells where in it, people are declared righteous for the “good works” they did for other people around them. When the king in the parable declares them righteous they respond by pretty much saying they have no idea what He is talking about. (There righteousness has nothing to do with their belief systems).
So in one instance we find people believing and doing works in Jesus’ name (which we would consider essential today) and yet not entering into the Kingdom, while in another instance, in the same gospel, we find those who did works and didn’t have a clue they were doing them unto Jesus, who are in turn declared righteous for their actions.
I would argue that this flies in the face to our modern day understanding of the gospel which says it’s all about what one thinks/believes about Jesus.
So what did those who were declared righteous in Matthew 25 do differently than those who were turned away in Matthew 7?
And does one have to “know” Jesus (think the right things/acknowledge him at all) in order to believe in him?
I hope to continue the conversation tomorrow by arguing that one doesn’t…