“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Some short thoughts here. Many people claim to be Christians, but never repent of their sins and believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father. I’m not exactly sure of the full spectrum of emotions we will experience after death when we are judged by God, but surprise is evidently something we can all experience. Christianity does not believe in works based salvation. We believe our works come as a result of saving grace through Christ Jesus, but not that our works save our souls. Yet there will be people, according to this passage, who act as though works alone matter.
There are frequent examples throughout the New Testament of the public observing miracles and still not believing in the deity of Christ. Doing works in the name of Jesus doesn’t save us. In the church, we worry too much about our “spiritual gift” and not enough about pointing people back to Jesus. We see this sort of spiritual selfishness played out in full in the afterlife, when Jesus tells those who would boast of their works that he never knew them. That is the worst thing Jesus could ever say to us, especially in light of the fact that he offers us eternal life freely. We should be warned; spiritual decay can creep in if we allow ourselves to take advantage of the power of the Gospel.