Believe it or not, that is the most important question of your life! Does Jesus know you? Why is it so important? Consider the following: Jesus is speaking:
21“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 evil doers!’” (Matthew 7:21 – 23, NIV)
OK. I hope I have your attention. This concept that some who call Jesus Lord, will not enter into Heaven is difficult to grasp.
Let’s start here: Jesus tells us exactly why those people won’t get into Heaven. That reason is, He doesn’t know them. Let’s go to another brief passage of Scripture, this time from John. To say the Pharisees studied the Scriptures is a gross under-statement. Never-the-less, Jesus told them:
“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)
There is a common theme here. The Pharisees were the experts on the Bible of their times – the Old Testament. They knew the Scriptures “backwards and forwards,” but failed to apply them in their lives. They knew the Old Testament prophesies; but either could not, or would not, recognize Jesus as the Messiah to which those prophesies pointed. Blinded by their religion, they did not let Jesus change their lives, …for Eternity.
Now, why would the Pharisees not get into Heaven? Because they would not go to him for Life.
And now some of you are saying, “Wait a minute, that’s not the same thing at all. The Pharisees didn’t recognize Jesus as the Son of God. All of us who call Him ‘Lord’, do. That’s a big difference!” Well maybe there is a difference and maybe there isn’t, …from God’s perspective. Therefore, we must understand what Jesus means when He says, “I never knew you”.
But, everybody knows that Jesus already knows EVERYTHING about them – not only what they do, but even what they think, Right? Yes, He does. So, evidently that is not what Jesus is talking about.
To know what Jesus is talking about we need to start way back in time. All the way back to a point shortly after the creation of Adam and Eve. Can you imagine what it must have been like to walk and talk directly with God? Now, in Genesis 3: 8,9 we see that God has come to talk with Adam and Eve. They hear Him approaching. And for the first time, they hide from Him. Why, because they have disobeyed Him; and, they are experiencing strange new emotions… shame and fear.
Their disobedience (or sin) broke the direct relationship God desired with man. That relationship would not be repaired for thousands of years. Not until Jesus died on the cross; thus “covering over” our sin, did we regain a pathway to direct relationship with God.
The sad part is, that “wedge of sin” remains firmly in place for anyone who does not re-establish a personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. And, by relationship, Jesus is not talking about mere knowledge or simple recognition.
We each establish our unique and personal relationship with Jesus when we believe and acknowledge Him as our Lord and Savior (Christ). We commit our will to follow Him at any cost. We can not acknowledge Jesus as our Savior today, and withhold making Him our Lord until a later date. This acknowledgment must include all of yourself, leaving no part of your being unaffected. You, all of you, must move under the Lordship of Christ.
A.W. Tozer put it this way:
“To accept Christ is to know the meaning of the words, ‘And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world.’ (1John 4:17). We accept His friends as our friends, His enemies as our enemies, His ways as our ways, His rejection as our rejection, His cross as our cross, His life as our life and His future as our future.”*
That’s not always easy. You will be changed. God will change you. There are things you will have to give up. God will provide new interests. Some life directions will change, some may not. And, you will struggle with this (off and on) for the rest of your days here on planet earth. Why? First, and very important: it is not a sign that you are not saved. Rather, it is because you live on a broken planet; in a broken culture that is more in tune with Satan than Christ. But clearly, that is not a blanket excuse to sin! Jesus “knows” those who are truly working for God’s Kingdom.
<<< Please stop right now and read Psalm 139. >>>
David was a man who knew God, and God knew Him (Imperfections and all). He talked to His God …frequently and frankly, …hiding nothing. What He wanted from God, He asked for …bluntly. When God spoke to Him, whether directly or through others, David listened and took action …immediately. We are not “David”. But he’s a pretty good role model; and, Christ is our ultimate role model.
The question we need to ask ourselves is: “Are we committed (“all in”) for Jesus? He is our Lord. Are we under His perfect Lordship. He has great and glorious plans for every one of us. Why would we withhold anything from Him?
In His plan I will reach my maximum potential and richest contentment. (It took me a very long time to really believe this). There are times I realize I’m still taking “baby steps”. And sometimes my big steps are in the wrong direction. There are times when I find myself hanging onto …things. O.K, let’s call it what it really is – sin. Things I should have let go of, or changed, long ago. Things like grudges, fantasies, values, hurts, guilt, idols – oh, I could go on; but, I think you get the idea.
Yes, Jesus already knows every bit of this – with far better understanding than I have. But, it makes all the difference when I sit down with Him, and He hears it directly from me. And then, together we work on a course correction. That’s building our relationship and that’s what my Lord, and best friend, is looking for.
And, like I’ve said before, it’s a very good thing for me that His love is unconditional – and boundless.
* The Best of A.W. Tozer, Book One, pg. 103, compiled by Warren W. Wiersbe, WingSpread Publishers, 1978, 2000. (Scripture from New Living Translation).