March 20th, 2013: The Thirty-First Day of Lent

March 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

“But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”

~Matthew 7.23~

This section on judgment ends on a chilling note. Those who performed great and mighty deeds find they have no place in God’s Kingdom – and what’s worse, Christ never knew them. They thought they were doing good, yet breaking God’s laws. Earlier in our study on the Sermon on the Mount, we read this: “So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” (Matthew 5.19, 20)

The religious leaders, the spiritual elite, the doers of mighty deeds, find themselves turned away from God’s Kingdom. Despite what they think of themselves, and what others think of them, the only thing that matters is what Christ thinks – and many will be disappointed when they meet him face-to-face. They thought they knew him and understood what Christianity was all about – yet, they didn’t have a clue.

There’s no way around it; this is a scary section of teaching. Christ says that people who thought they were “in” are actually not a part of God’s Kingdom – and worse, they claimed a relationship with Christ when they had none. This should make us think – how do we know that we are “in?”

Jesus will offer some encouragement and clues in the parable that he gives in the following section; take heart, we are not left clueless. However, this verse should strike at our spiritual comfort; even our confidence, as well. False prophets and teachers do exist, and they are preaching false ways into the Kingdom. Spiritual vigilance is necessary on our parts, as well as careful and intentional personal and communal study and worship.

Lord Christ, these words are hard to swallow. Please show me where I think I know you, but don’t. I want to know you, Lord, and be known by you. Show me what that means. Amen. 

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