22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
When we read this passage, it should cause us to worry. Jesus is explaining in more depth the meaning of the previous verse, that just by paying Him lip service, we will not spend eternity with Him. Notice here that Jesus is explaining that our salvation or eternity with Him isn’t reliant upon doing good things: even casting out demons and performing miracles in His name. This is why discipleship is so important. We must follow Jesus and abide in Him. This is what Jesus says in John 15:
4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
If we truly believe that Jesus is the Christ and we want to be “Christians,” then it is more than just proclaiming Jesus as our Lord, but living as such. Our salvation provokes a complete change of who we are and how we act. Yet if we do it the other way around, acting as if we are saved but not really believing in Him for who He really is, we are just deceiving ourselves and others. Jesus explained throughout this sermon how as humans we tend to do good things for the recognition of others. We pray, fast, and give in a way to show off our religiosity to others but we really gain nothing more than their applause. Furthermore, in talking about relational issues (anger, adultery, forgiveness, worry) Jesus explained that we aren’t to live by the world’s standards, but by His so that we may experience the true freedom of His Kingdom. This is what Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 5:
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Our works are meaningless to God if we don’t do them to serve Him. If we are “good” so that He will accept us, that is selfishness because we are doing it for ourselves, not Him. Good works are selfless and for God’s honor and glory. Everything else is garbage. Why do you do what you do?