Religious Gangsters (Matthew 7:21-23)

priest with gun

A scripture that worries some Christians, but shouldn’t, is this one:

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matt 7:21-23)

Jesus’ words worry some people because they seem to contradict what Paul writes in Romans:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:9)

Say “Jesus is Lord” and you’re saved, says Paul. But you might not be, says Jesus. Which is it?

You need to know that Paul is 100 percent correct. If you are persuaded that Jesus is the risen Lord, then you are his and he is yours and you are saved. Don’t let anyone move you from your secure position.

Yet Jesus is also 100 percent correct for there is no contradiction between him and Paul. Indeed, there is a nice symmetry, for Paul is describing sheep, while Jesus is talking about wolves. Let’s look at three things Jesus says:

1. On that day

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord…’” On what day? On that day of judgment when the nations are gathered before him and Jesus separates his sheep from the goats (and wolves).

Today (as in right now) there are only some who recognize Jesus as Lord, but on that day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess him as Lord. On that day it won’t take any faith to recognize Jesus as Lord because he will appear as he truly is.

2. I never knew you

Jesus is not speaking to Christians who have somehow missed the mark, because he says “I never knew you.” Not, “I knew you once but now I’m writing you off.” Nor does he say, “I wrote your name in my book but now I’m blotting it out.” Jesus is talking to people he never knew.

We may not be 100 percent faithful but Jesus is. If you are his you can rest assured that he will never let you go (John 10:28-29). God does not break his promises and unchild his children. If you have been born again you can’t be unborn. What God has joined together, no man can separate.

3. You evildoers

Jesus calls them evildoers which seems harsh for people who have gone around helping others. “Did we not prophesy, drive out demons, and perform many miracles in your name?” But things are not always what they seem. These guys are not as helpful as they make out.

First, they are self-righteous. “Jesus, here’s my resume. You gotta let me in because I am an accomplished individual. Look at all I’ve done!” Which is basically saying, “Jesus, you died for nothing. Keep your grace; I don’t need it. I stand on my own merits.” Pretty dumb.

Second, they are ravenous wolves. Read Jesus’ words in context and you will find this warning:

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matt 7:15, NASB)

The word for ravenous is translated elsewhere as extortioners. That’s what these evildoers are. They are religious gangsters who make their living by frightening those whom God loves and threatening the sheep. “God is mad at you. His sword is hanging over this city. Judgment’s coming. You are standing on the precipice. Beware astronomical omens. Stay away from grace – it’ll send you to hell.”

These terrorists use threats of punishment to extract money and service from the sheep. “Sow into my ministry and save yourself from the flames.” I am not talking about the misguided preacher who loves the Lord, but the self-righteous man who lives off stolen property and “makes himself wealthy by extortion” (see Hab 2:4-7). These fearmongers may serve in the name of Lord, but they are servants of fear and darkness.

The third thing to note is they are liars. They claim to be doing good but a “bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Matt 7:18). They’re putting on a big show, they’ve got their perfect smiles on the posters, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. They may look good on stage, but in private they are different people. They are bad trees with bad fruit.

Put it altogether and you have some very dangerous sheep-rustlers insulting the Son of God to his face, bragging about how awesome they are, and Jesus says, “Not in my house. Away with you evildoers!” This ought to make us happy. We may occasionally be fooled by charlatans, but Jesus is never fooled. We may let them into our houses, but he won’t let them into his, which is good, because they’d ruin the party for everyone.

What is the will of my Father?

Jesus says only those who do the will of the Father enter the kingdom of heaven. What is his will? Jesus answers with a word picture in the verses following. It’s building on the rock. It’s hearing the words of Jesus and putting them into practice. It’s banking on Jesus. It’s believing in Jesus (John 6:29). In short, the will of God is to trust in Jesus.

And this brings us back to Paul who said “If you declare, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart…”

This isn’t rocket surgery and you don’t need a seminary degree to make sense of it. Ravenous wolves who eat sheep will eventually have to deal with the Good Shepherd. But bet your life on Jesus and he will never let you down!

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93 Comments on Religious Gangsters (Matthew 7:21-23)

  1. Does this also include believers who are following religion and the false belief that God is a God that punishes when someone does wrong? Therefore going around and sharing that if you do something wrong God will punish you? If so, then I guess I am not that anymore, as I have found his goodness and grace and know He wants good for all…phew.

    • Jesus is talking about people he never knew. A believer – even a misguided one – remains eternally joined to the Lord by the grace of God.

      • Well said Paul. Please, allow me to ask you or be directed to a location where you have already done so, how it came to pass that became of the frame of mind that you are currently in with grace? I have found the truth here myself and as you see, many attest to the same. It took accidentally hearing Joseph Prince, which was really no accident, which in turn lead me to your site. I test and research the words of Joseph Prince and 99% of the time find him correct, with small errors here and there. It was research that brought me to your site which I now receive in my email, I just love it.

      • I haven’t written much about my journey, but there’s this article.

      • Thanks for clearing that….

  2. nicely and neatly done. I thank God for your life Paul. You are what you are for the grace of God.

  3. Thank you Paul. The pictures in your posts always make me giggle. As I was reading your posts, I immediately had a few preacher/teacher/prophets come to mind who I feel are fear mongeres.

    The crazy thing is I found interest in these few that I think might be like wolves at one time, but with all their recent fear, judgment on America and end times books & sermons I’ve started being leery of their teachings.

    I was facinatied by their prophecies, even bought their books, dvds and followed their posts on FB. While I do believe there are ties to everything going on in the end times to everything these people are saying, I can’t settle inside with their strong judgments on specific sins like homosexuality for example being the reason America is doomed by God. What about all the other horrible sins that take place daily and why are Christians being grouped into all the judgment? I now see gapping holes in their theology, fear mongering and harsh judgement NOT a gospel of love that calls ALL people to Christ period.

    Thank you again for taking time to write these posts. Ive been on a faithful grace learning journey for the past year and a half. It’s been challenging to reconcile all the different schools of thought within the body of Christ, but I’ve come to a place where it all boils down to love. Are we Christians operating from love because that’s the core of it all LOVE!

    SHALOM!

  4. Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your teachings. I’ve been a teacher and/or pastor for 30 years trying to guide believers out of religious trappings and there are still so few joining the fight to set the captives free!
    Thank you for all your efforts.
    Mike

    • The Grace Revolution is growing Mike, slowly but consistantly. My son is in childrens ministry being trained in traditional religious beliefs for anabaptists and I guess mainstream religious beliefs. I have begun to see the average church as a pharisitical trap.So convinced they know the truth but that truth would have you focus on personal deeds, obedience, which is blatent law and bondage. I have been told it’s an occult to believe in grace in that you don’t have to ask forgiveness of daily sins and still be a Christian. I have found freedom in grace and sharing it with my son. I have much more study and memorizing to do to be able to explain it to others, especially when contronted with “religion”. The Lord knows his own and will get through to every single one of them.

    • Hello Mike, you mentioned you are a pastor who has been trying to lead people out of religious trappings. I tried 6 different churches in my area until finally just giving up. I was turned on by Joseph Prince and his message of grace, looking for a church teaching this grace. I ended up joining a church because of the music. Joseph suggests to be part of a local church so I have been attending there. I don’t like the teachings, it’s a mixture of law and grace like everyone else. Studying at home is how I came across escape to reality which is great but I don’t really have fellowship this way. Are there any suggestions you would pass on in finding such a church that teaches grace as Paul here does or is it hopeless?

  5. Larry Wilgus // October 7, 2015 at 12:56 am // Reply

    Right on Paul! Many people are deceived thinking mental assent to the acknowledgment of Jesus or “doing good things” brings them right standing with God. Christianity isn’t about “doing” but “letting” the person of Jesus in a intimate relationship live in and through our lives to reveal the Father’s love for all humanity. One of the keys to transformation is the baptism of the Holy Spirit which Jesus modeled for us which allows our spirit to rule our soul and body.

  6. I love this! This post is an answer to a question I’d asked the Lord a while back, and it bothered me a lot. So happy to have received this revelation. God bless you Paul.

  7. Point #1 is so good I can hardly stand it! This is good stuff!

  8. Another difference between the 2 scriptures is that Paul said, “…and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead…” Chances are the people that Jesus was talking to didn’t “believe in their heart”. They were more concerned with pointing to their deeds than The Deed of Jesus.

  9. Paul, you are right. This used to scare me – a lot. And then add to it the idea that I might be “luke-warm” and be vomited out. And oh yes, mix in some Hebrews 10:26 because of my deliberate sins while being a believer. Then comes along the teaching of being scourged because “Jesus loves me”. I could go on…
    I am, of course, being a bit tongue-in-cheek because growing up in a church that mixed law and grace I became easily confused. Nothing really made sense because I had no idea about rightly dividing scripture or even a little understanding of the Gospel of Grace. Christianity was a lot of work and really quite annoying because I knew I didn’t live up. So maybe Jesus was going to say those awful words to me. “away from me…”
    I love reading through your site. These are new revelations to me and I have to read and re-read and unlearn things I’ve held onto for 30+ years. Thank you Jesus that the Good News really is Good News!

  10. Paul, I have recently been reading your blog and like it very much. Are you familiar with the true-face people in Phoenix? They wrote the book “The Cure”.

    Thanks

  11. Abidoye damilare // October 7, 2015 at 1:56 am // Reply

    Awesome….same as the revelation i got concerning the verse. THE SPIRIT IS ONE SURELY…besides, galatians 4:9a would even lend more help to the believer’s stability…it goes:
    ‘but now, after you have known GOD, or rather are known of GOD….

  12. Dear Paul, This is awesome. Love the way you have conveyed it..

  13. another good one Paul,Ill be honest with you,i get to the place were I dont even want to argue wiith people anymore,and besides arguing never got me anywhere anyway.you dont see the light come on, so we go our seperate ways,and pray for revelation.

    • I hear you. Arguing with some people about grace is like arguing with blind people about colors. For as long as they can’t see, it’s a waste of time.

      • Boy is it. Not only is it a waste of time but it also tends to make one frustrated which can easily lead to anger and saying the wrong thing. Paul, I was able to find a couple audio books at the library you suggested in your resources section. I don’t have the income right now to purchase anything but wanted to do what I could, I have shared your site and some of your articles all over the place. My olders son is a childrens pastor and I believe his eyes have been opened to grace to an extent via one of your artilces. Something else I was wondering was how to read or study the bible from a grace perspective.

  14. I am thankful to God for giving me such grace to see through His awesome lens. I relied on my righteousness to be accepted by Him. Every year I ll confess my sins and promised myself not to sin the following year but less than a week or two I do worse stuff. In fact I got tired trying to be perfect. thankfully, a friend who attend Good news church founded by Pastor Rock Soo Pak had preach the gospel to me 4 yrs ago but I rejected. But after being beaten massively by the law, I became helpless. This friend met me again and preach the gospel once more.Wow, I saw how easy and simple the gospel is. The problem many people have is that, the gospel is so good to be true. I’m just enjoying the grace. No more works. Our righteousness is like a filthy rag as its recorded in Isaiah..Just trust Jesus…IT IS FINISHED!!! AMEEEN. God bless u Paul for the message of Grace u have being sharing

  15. Thank you Paul for sorting this out and making it simple. Many of us have sat under this kind of threatening preaching. I believe many have given up on church completely because of it. Thank you for preaching the Gospel clearly and bringing peace back to the flock of Jesus.

  16. Very timely, Paul. I was just discussing this passage with my wife the other night. It certainly does seem like Jesus is saying that those of us who follow him and do his work might not enter, but you’ve made it plain that he’s only talking about people who are using him to get what they want out of life by taking from his children in His name. We need not fear doing the works of Jesus and still missing it, because only those who, “believe in Him will do the same and greater works” (John 14:12). He can only be referring to those who are His, not those who are pretending to be His but haven’t really given themselves over to His grace. Thanks for the clarification and may God bless you more than you can ask or think, though I know He already has!

  17. Did these evildoers cast out demons and perform miracles? If ” yes” how? if ‘no” why did Christ not tell them outright you belong to the father of lies!

    • Could be a number of possibilities. Since Jesus says a bad tree cannot bear good fruit, then their fruit are a sham, a counterfeit. Or it could be that people were healed in their meetings because of the faith of those being healed or others praying. But the fact that they wolves are standing on their performance speaks volumes, see point 3 above.

    • To N.K🙂

      The answer to your question is found in Matt 7:17, you are either a good tree (saved) or you are a bad tree (not saved). It’s all about your identity. Who you are and where you are.

      Apostle Paul said it best…

      *2 Cor 6:14-15
      14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
      15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

      For more about those trees check out Gen ch2 & 3 because a good tree cannot produce both bad and good fruit that would be mixture, just like the Galatians. Notice the word ALSO in Gen 2:22. One tree produces death and the other life, sound familiar?

      By the way 72 disciples moved in the power of the Lord Jesus (including casting out demons (Luke 10:9, 17). They were very excited about that, then Jesus said this…

      *Luke 10:20 (NASB)
      “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are RECORDED in heaven.”

      Later we see Jesus back to his original 12 disciples (John 6:60-69).

  18. Wow brother! Talk about scripture springing to life. Love the picture at the top. It is hard for us Christians to see religiosity/filthy rags/fig leaves as an all out enemy of Grace. May Jesus’ words (and your commentary) work to peel back the deception the world is under and reveal the true ugliness of RELIGIOUS WORKS.

  19. High Paul just looked up the scrpture and it does also say Fales Diciples in the NIV which obversly also meens that there are people that have been churching all there lives and never knew Jesus. They go through the system and joined the club but were ne er intrested in Jesus. Im shore money making wolves are apart of that though.

  20. Hi Paul, Thank you so much for this post. Many Pastors unknowingly use these verses and frighten the flock, including the Pastor of the church I attend. I asked God to explain this to me a few years ago. I said “if this is talking about believers, then why did You say depart from Me and what were they doing wrong?” I heard 3 clear words in my spirit…”thieves and robbers”.Then I argued with God and said ” that can’t be right because they had to be believers because they were prophesying and casting out demons”. I heard 4 more clear words in my spirit..”Who said they were?” Then I asked God what is the exact will of the Father that’s being spoken of here? The next day while reading in John, this verse jumped off the page…
    “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40
    Just goes to show we can always ask the Author! With your permission, I’d like to forward this to my Pastor. These verses scare him. By the way I’ve changed my user name from Grandma to “Grandma Ja”. Blessings to you and keep up the good work!

  21. Good words – thank you Paul! That’s why joyfully unlearning legalism is very vital for our peaceful assurance in God. Just happily relying, believing, receiving and resting in what Jesus has already done. Oh bring back the amazing into Grace!! Jes from Christchurch

  22. Matthew D Boyum // October 7, 2015 at 6:09 am // Reply

    How could they drive out demons and perform miracles in His name if they were had always been unbelievers?

  23. Thanx for a good article Paul. But what still bugs me is this: How did these people “drive out demons” if not in Jesus’ Name? In Acts 19: 15 a demon said to a Jewish priest: “Jesus I know and Paul [now a born again believer] I know but who are you?” and clearly he couldn’t cast it out. Only believers can. So how can they claim they cast out demons in Jesus’ Name?

  24. Thank you so much for expaining this scripture. I was wondering about it recently.

  25. I’m not sure if it’s rocket science or brain surgery. Haha🙂 So many great points. Thank you, Paul, and thank you to everyone who shared your personal story.

    Blessings

  26. I used to be a bit confused about this Scripture but the Lord has opened my eyes through you and other true gospel preachers that He is not talking about believers. He will never cast away a child of God!

  27. Thanks for your work & your words today.

  28. Thank you, Paul. Verses like these have scared me, no matter how well I knew I wasn’t using His name for anything ungodly or doing signs. It’s hard to accept I’m not an evildoer (I sin of course, but repent when I realize it), goat, or tare to be burned. I’ve been so terrified that Jesus will tell me He never knew me and I’ll be doomed.

  29. Mike Pollard // October 7, 2015 at 1:56 pm // Reply

    Good stuff! That’s good news, brother!

  30. Let his kingdom come, the Lords prayer. This passage has nothing to do with those being saved or those that are not. Some believers in this day enter others refuse to come in, they remain disobedient to the true Gospel. Today is the day accept Gods unconditional Love for all and come on in.

  31. Theo Thomas // October 7, 2015 at 9:35 pm // Reply

    Hi Paul, it’s good revelation for me, thanks a lot.
    Do you think this message is still relevant for Christians today? if yes what is the message that is most appropriate for them or us from this context.
    GTU. (grace to you)

  32. Jo-wolflover // October 8, 2015 at 5:01 am // Reply

    I wonder if that Pastor that my sister was talking about is unsure of his belief, or his salvation? No one who is absolutely sure of their salvation will get nervous of that scripture that says: “Depart, I never knew you”. God IS NOT a liar. Test yourself someday. Remember Columbine? Remember that girl who was asked if she believed in God? Without hesitation she said “yes” and was immediately shot and before she hit the ground was in Heaven with her Savior. What would you do or say if put in that same situation?

  33. Umm, this is AWESOME!

  34. Hi Paul,
    Love your writings/books, scriptures are becoming clearer in their meaning to me as I have been taught incorrectly for many years. It’s taking time but surely it will come into place. I have a question though…some months ago I made a comment on a “Backsliders” website and just received several comments from this guy who is telling me I need deliverance from evil spirits that gained access through sins I committed, and that I’m not saved (something perhaps you’ve heard?). Can you please help with this particular scripture he is quoting though, it’s Revelation 2:5 – “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.”, but this guy also added that Jesus will remove our names from the Book of Life. Sorry if this comment is too long, I appreciate your input (I can’t get to church, even the house hardly since I’ve become disabled, though have hope for miracle healing of course).

    • Hi Karen, you will find a lot of good materials here using the Scripture archive. The article you’re looking for may be this one.

    • I also noticed that Gal 5:4 and Rev 2:5 use the same Greek word for “fallen” (pipto).

      Paul uses the same word when he tells the Galatians they have fallen from grace.

      1 John 4:9-10,19, pretty much explains Rev 2:4. 2nd Peter 1:5-9 can also help as well, they forgot that Jesus loved them and that the focus is not there love for Him bus His love for us.

      The lampstand (candlestick) in 2:7 states that that it will be removed from its place not the lampstand itself. The emphasis is its place. Jesus is addressing the leadership.

      The definition for “place” in the Greek is a place, region, seat; an opportunity.

      He will remove them from an opportunity of leadership. If they forgot how much He loves us how can they possibly relay the message of the gospel to others effectively.

      New Living Translation
      “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

  35. Yes, I have seen God remove certain lamp stands. A church I was a part of many years ago had it’s lamp stand removed and its influence taken away. They were reduced to a pitiful group with no effect on the community around them. They did not preach the gospel of Grace.

    Naz

    • Well in Revelation 3 the Lord did discuss that as we neared the end he would remove some candlesticks. Its unfortunate really, considering the highest honor a believer can be given by the Lord while on earth, is to be anointed into the 5 fold ministry. But its also a demonstration by the Lord of how important it is to preach the message that Paul preached. That’s why its always so important to pray for our preachers that they get an understanding of what the Gospel of Grace is. I certainly did not understand it and am still growing in my understanding of what it is and what it isn’t. But its been accomplished by listening to Pastor Prince for several years now.

  36. Well, a good thing to remember is that the corrections in Revelations were written to single individuals. Aramaic Bible in Plain English (Rev 2:1) “And to The Messenger of the assembly of Ephesaus write: ‘Thus says he who holds the seven stars in his hand, he who walks among the menorahs of gold:’”

  37. Robbie, I read a piece on his web site about Holy Communion. I don’t know if you read it but there are some serious doctrinal errors in there about being poverty-free and physical healing when a person participates in Holy communion. Be careful….

    Naz

    • Naz, you can’t just say something like that, regardless of whom you may be speaking to, without an explanation as to why you think the doctrine is wrong. I am just about at the point of not listening to anyone anymore. It seems everyone wants to speak on their own interpretation of scripture, everyone is right and at the same time everyone is wrong.

  38. Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: ***Repentance from dead works AND faith toward God***, 2 instruction about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And we will do this, if God permits.

    The Lords foundation has this inscription on it: The Lord knows those who are His and let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord TURN AWAY FROM WICKEDNESS.

    Read the book of James. People are led astray when we do not warn them of the truth that it is a terrible thing to continue living in sin after having recieved knowledge of the truth! God is holy and he he died to set us free from the bondage of sin so we can no longer be slaves to sin but be slaves to rigteousness to the obedience of Christ.

    Brothers and sisters we need to turn away from sin and seek God.

    • Again perfection is Christ Himself…

      Weymouth Translation (Col 1:27-28)
      27 to whom it was His will to make known how vast a wealth of glory for the Gentile world is implied in this truth—the truth that ‘Christ is in you, the hope of glory.’
      28 Him we preach, admonishing every one and instructing every one, with all possible wisdom, so that we may bring every one into God’s presence, made perfect through Christ.

      GOD’S WORD® Translation (Col 2:10)
      And God has made you complete in Christ. Christ is in charge of every ruler and authority. (complete = perfect in Greek)

      We are not trying to be slaves of righteousness we already are. If I put chains on my wrists, that does not make me a slave. It makes me a guy with peculiar jewelry interests. You either “are” or you are not. Those who have decided Jesus is Lord are his indeed and slaves of righteousness.

    • Truly born again believers who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus plus nothing else have nothing to be concerned about in the Matthew 7 scripture.

    • Leslie,
      Thank you for hitting the nail on the head. We now need to meditate on your response.

    • Did Jesus die in vain? Did He apply His holy blood upon your sins in a empty act? Does God offer you the gift of salvation as some kind of joke? Perfection does not come from behavior modification by prettying up the deeds of the flesh. It comes through one thing and one thing only which you would have discovered had you continued on past Hebrews 6 and into Hebrews to 9:12-14, 9:24-26 and Hebrews 10:10&14. To sum it up Jesus purchased our Eternal redemption, purges our minds from dead works(behavior modification) and makes us able to serve God. Jesus went one time into the heavenly temple and applied His blood one time to our sins. He only died one time. Then we are told that this one for all time sacrifice makes us sanctified and holy FOREVER. It’s time to let the bible get in the way of your theology. Jesus spoke pure truth in John 3:15-18 and did not leave anything out. Faith equals eternal life and freedom from condemnation. Romans 6-8 shows how that frees us, teaches us and allows us to walk in the Spirit. Not by works lest anyone could boast.

      • Nicely said Colleen G. Faith equals eternal life and freedom from condemnation. I know that you meant faith in what Christ did, not faith itself. I had it explained to me like this: When we believe in God’s word, what Christ accomplished for us, God calls that faith. so we don’t need to look at our faith, wondering if we have enough, we need to look at Christ, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

    • Who said that we should continue in sin?

  39. just wondering about something Paul, I know about rocket science and brain surgery but what is is rocket surgery? lol

  40. Amen!! This is sword from the Lord for my husband and I!! Hallelujah Paul Ellis! Thanks so much!!

  41. Thanks Paul for the 8 ways to tell whether you get grace. I have been saved since I was 6. I thought I knew what grace is, but the teachings of Bertie on grace have made me fall in love with the Trinity every day brand new! It makes me see people with addictions, for example, with overwhelming love and compassion. I see such value and preciousness in everyone! If someone treats me wrong, I can look into my heart and find that there is plenty of agape there for them. It’s so amazing and effortless I can hardly believe it!!!

  42. Hi, Paul! That was a good article.

    I think another scripture that goes right along with this one is Matthew 25:31-46, which talks about the Judgment Day. Nevertheless, the passage in Matthew 25 “seems” to suggest a works-based salvation (I know it is not the case, but I haven’t yet figured out a good way of explaining it). I’ve looked through your website (even used the scripture index) but didn’t find any comment on this passage. Do you plan on posting something about this passage?

    Thank you. God bless you!

    • The sheep go one way, the goats go the other. They are not separated because of what they’ve done but because of what they are. The shepherd knows his sheep.

      • subtly and powerfully said Paul. This creates a gread word picture, the goats go one way because of the calling within them and the sheep go another for the same reason. Man, I really like that..

      • I am in a serious faith crisis and wondering if I may in fact be a goat despite my desire and previous belief I was a beloved sheep. I was biten, chewed up and spit out by my now ex who was a denominational priest both during the marriage and especially the divorce he initiated so he could marry his mistress. I struggle not drawing the conclusion that my shepherd didn’t (doesn’t) show up because I’m not one of the Good Shepherd’s sheep. How does one really truly know if we belong to The Lord? Jesus was my best friend as a small child and I surrendered to Him when I was a teenager but He seemed to go silent and even disappear during the divorce when I needed Him most. I desire truth in love so would appreciate if you choose to reply.

      • You are not a goat. You are a sheep going through tough times. How do I know? Because you could not call him Lord except by the Holy Spirit’s revelation.

        You have been betrayed by a man and have every right to be upset. As a precious daughter of the Most High you have every right to present your cares to your Father who loves you, even to be angry. He can take it.

        Psa 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

  43. Walter Simiyu // November 5, 2015 at 4:16 pm // Reply

    I thank our lord Jesus Christ for revealing this to you.You are blessed beloved.

    • organized religion has got so many people screwed up it’s not funny. Many hate religion because of it and want nothing to do with God, thinking he is judgemental and you have to obey commands, it’s really sad.

    • Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
      Matthew 11:28–30, THE MESSAGE

  44. Emmanuel Okpanachi // November 10, 2015 at 11:07 am // Reply

    ‘ God does not break his promises and unchild his children. If you have been born again you can’t be unborn’

    But you can die.

    Consider these verses:

    ‘For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.’
    (Hebrews 6:4-6)

    These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
    (Jude 1:12)

    Jude uses the phrase ‘twice dead’. He is certainly referring to those who had been made alive by Christ, and become His children; but spiritually died through disobedience. How is it that one can be twice dead unless they’ve been spiritually dead first, made alive, then dead once more?

    • Jude is writing about “godless men” who “deny Jesus Christ our Lord,” (v.4). They follow Cain or Balaam, not Jesus (v.11). They are not believers hence they are twice dead or heading for what Jesus called the Second Death (which follows the first or bodily death).

      I have written elsewhere on Hebrews 6:4-6.

      • is the second death anything like lot’s wife’s sin? I guess sin-consciousness can be deadly. How do we tell the difference between relationship and second death as you explain the bible says?

  45. Paul, I feel a little foolish asking but simply because I don’t know how to address it I would like to ask you if a Christian can seek God/Jesus, and the grace we have in him while at the same time living in sin?

  46. Good Post Paul… The exact answer as to what is the will of the Father concerning salvation is found in John 6:40 “For my father’s will is that everyone who looks to the son and believes in Him shall have eternal life…” I like your view of “On that day.” I’ve always said the same thing. Jesus isn’t talking about people saying He is Lord while they are on the earth; He’s talking about “that day” of judgment they will be calling Him Lord. That’s when they will be pleading to him saying “Lord, Lord.” Also, many people on the earth think that Buddha, Muhammad, etc are the lord’s name, so Jesus tells them quote: “Plainly” “I never knew you.” Those names are clearly not His name.

    Brad

  47. Paul, thank you so much for this post. I have been bothered by this verse for years. It has caused me to doubt my salvation. I am a sincere believer but I have been fearful that on that day Jesus will turn me away. I’ve read a lot of commentaries on this verse, but none of them really clicked with me the way yours did. Thanks again!

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