For Goodness Sake
February 5th, 2023

6b no one who sins continually has seen Him or knows Him.

We’re talking about habitual sin.  Claiming that we have arrived at a sinless state, and look just like Christ is self-deception.  1 John 1:8, NASB: If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  We are all works in progress.  John points to God’s provision for sin by allowing confession (1st John 1:9) and Christ’s activity as His people’s Advocate (1st John 2:1), and even lets us know that claiming to be perfect, sinless is a mark of someone who is NOT abiding in Christ in 1 John 1:10 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.  But, he is saying that a sinful life, abiding in sin, instead of abiding in Christ, is impossible for a child of God, so that anyone who leads such a life is demonstrating that they are not a child of God.  These actions are an outward sign that something is wrong inside.  The Holy Spirit can empower us to be sinless as much as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the process.   John denies the ability to “sit on the fence”, to “have one foot in the world, and one foot in your Christianity”, to be, as James likes to put it “double-minded”.  By doing this he forces us to look at our lives a little more objectively, and evaluate whether we are abiding with Jesus. He urges us, as Paul does in 2 Corinthians 13:5: Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?  It is sin to refuse the Lordship of Jesus, because to do so means that we fail to accept the revelation of the love of Jesus, and refuse to love Jesus, the Father who sent Him, and our brothers and sisters in Christ who need our spiritual strength to support them when they are weak.  So not sinning means first of all loving devotion to the person of Jesus, and then devotion and service to our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Why does John use see and know, to describe what is not true of the person whose lifestyle is characterized by sin? When John says that those who habitually sin have not “seen” Christ, he talks from personal experience.  Remember the beginning of this epistle.  John is speaking as an eye-witness in 1 John 1:1-3 when he says 1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life.  It was John’s experience in seeing Jesus and hearing His words personally that caused him to want to walk with Jesus, and make Him Lord and Savior of his life.  And John is saying that if you really see Jesus for who He is, you CANNOT continue in sin.  Those whose character is sinful have never seen Jesus really, their eyes have not been opened, they are still blinded to the truth by sin, because if they had, their lives would have been impacted in such a way by the love of Jesus that they could not continue to deny Him by habitual sin.  Instead of having our sinful desires dominate our minds, we are to have His abiding Word within us, which we can use to resist the enemy.  Jesus quoted scripture to the enemy when He was tempted, and not only that, it was scripture that He was living out, putting into practice, that abided with Him.  That’s why John praises the young men in his congregation in 1st John 2:27 I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have overcome the evil one.   This overcoming is because God’s Word remains in them, abides with them, has been incorporated into their lives. 

 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you;

John wants to make sure that they’re listnening, and so he says“Little children.He warns them, “make sure that no one deceives you”.  Remember that he’s just said in 2:18 that 18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.   These antichrists are trying to deceive them into believing that those who live any way that they want, these self-deceived antinomians are heirs to salvation, just as they are.  The destructive heresies involve a denial of Jesus, and indecent behavior, or a habitually sinful lifestyle, and teaching that this is o.k. for Christians.  Living unrighteous lives while claiming to be Chrisitans John said in 1 John 1:6 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;.

the one who practices righteousness is righteous,

And God acknowledges the righteous path, but not any other path.  Psalm 1:6 For the Lord [e]knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.  The Lord’s Blessings follow in a righteous life, because he does not have to spend all of your precious time chastising and correcting you.  Look at Isa 60:21 Then all your people will be righteous; They will possess the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified.; and Dan 12:3 3 And ]those who have insight will shine like the glow of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 

This is not the self-righteousness and false- piousness of the wicked, it’s condemned in Matt 23:28 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you too, outwardly appear righteous to people, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness; Self-righteousness only leads to abasement, destruction and shame.  Positionally we are accepted in Christ and God is always well pleased with us because we have been placed in His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased, we have His righteousness imparted to us, the same righteousness that caused the Father to say in Matthew 3:17 17 and behold, a voice from the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” And He is pleased with us, as we are In Christ  Eph 1:5-6 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He favored us in the Beloved. 

But in our actions, and the experience of our walk with Christ, we may either be pleasing the Lord or not pleasing the Lord.  We do not put on the world’s mindset, but the mind of Christ 2 Tim 2:4 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him. 5 And if someone likewise competes as an athlete, he is not crowned as victor unless he competes according to the rules We are not lawless, self-serving sinners, but Children of God, and we are admonished over and over again in scripture to walk as followers of Christ.  Paul encourages the Thessalonians in 1st Thess 4:1 saying Finally then, brothers and sisters, we request and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received instruction from us as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel even more. 

just as He is righteous;

We don’t earn salvation through the way that we live our lives, but the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to conform us more and more to Jesus’ image comes out in our conduct, and this is evidence that we are saved.  We see this same idea in Romans 5:3-5, along with the fact that it’s usually hard times that kick this spiritual growth into high-gear, saying 3 And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  The foundation of our hope is the love of God, as manifested through Him sending His one and only Son to die on the cross for our sins.  And the pouring out of this love in our hearts causes it to overflow into our actions as we persevere despite tribulation, endure under persecution, and more and more, be like Christ. 

just as He is righteous;

A 100% Righteous Standard

And, because God has this righteous standard, we fall short, to varying degrees. Romans 3:23 tells us, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  It’s impossible for us to achieve God’s 100% righteous standard on our own, we have to have Jesus’ blood applied to our lives, to make the gap.  John 14:6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.   Jesus Christ is our righteousness.  1Corinthians 1:30 says 30 But it is due to Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written: “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  We have nothing to brag about as Christians, because it wasn’t our work that made us righteous!  And, as Christians, it is God’s Righteousness that we aspire to in our living, and when we do this, God will make sure our needs are taken care of.  Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The Lamb of God Purchased Freedom from Sin
January 29th, 2023

1st John 3:5-6

5 You know that He appeared –In contrast to the lawless people who continue to sin, John reminds us of our example Jesus.  Sin is lawlessness, and those who continue in sin, instead of being In Christ, are lawless.  It was God the Father’s plan, and Jesus was obedient to it. 

in order to take away sins; The Lamb of God-Lambs’ blood covered the doors of Israel, and allowed God’s judgment to “pass over” them (Exodus 12:22–23). Isaiah 53:12 predicted that the Messiah would “bear the sins of many.” The connection to Passover is the primary reason Jesus is referred to as “The Lamb of God.” Before Jesus, there was no lasting remedy for sin.  Jesus came to this earth for the express purpose of shedding His precious blood. He died on the cross to provide forgiveness of sins.  We can easily see that this was always the plan of God.  Isaac’s question, that persisted throughout the Old Testament is “where is the Lamb?”  In Genesis 22:7 Isaac spoke to his father Abraham and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (NASB).   And all those Old Testament prophecies looked forward to when Jesus would come.  Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.  (NASB) It is revealed throughout the Old Testament, that Jesus’ miraculous birth, His sinless life, and His atoning death were always part of God’s plan.  But, when we get to the New Testament, Jesus has come.  In the gospels the emphasis is “Behold the Lamb”, here He is!” John the Baptist said in John 1:29 of Jesus Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.   

And when John in Revelation 5:6 gets a glimpse of Jesus in heaven, what does he see?  And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.  

The Blood Matters–1 Peter 1:18-19  Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.  20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.   The shedding of Jesus’ blood was always part of the plan. We cannot remove the blood of Christ from salvation—the shedding of His blood was the means by which we were saved, and by which we were forgiven.  Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are cleansed with blood, according to the Law, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was the death of our Passover Lamb Jesus, and applying His Blood to our lives Jesus that saves us.  Remove the blood, and you remove the sacrifice, remove the sacrifice, and you remove the glory that is due to Jesus because of His sacrifice!  (“do this in remembrance of me” in communion). 

and in Him there is no sin. —As 1 Peter 2:22 tells us “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”  It is Jesus’ example of a perfect life, and the pattern that we have In Him, as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit to in His working out of God’s will in our lives that is the continuing saving of us.  Sanctification.  Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.  So, if we are saved, we will find our lives conforming more and more to His wonderful example of a sinless life. And that means that although we are not sinless, over time we sin LESS. 

When peter is describing Jesus’ sacrifice, as the lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and His appearing to save us, his call in 1st Peter 13-14 is to a life of righteousness, of holiness.  1 Peter 1:13-16 13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”  Peter sounds a call to battle against the flesh, the world, and the enemy.  We are at peace with God, but this produces enmity with the world, because they hate God!  We must prepare are mind against the onslaught of our flesh, always wanting it’s own lusts and desires fighting against our spirit.  Galatians 5:17 For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want.  We, in our spirit, cooperating with the Holy Spirit struggle against our own flesh, and it’s desires.  We will have victory, if we fight the battle God’s way.  As we practice using the weapons of  God’s Word, the Sword of the Lord, and Prayer to help us access God’s power to destroy concentrated resistance of God’s enemies, then we will have victory as we set our mind on Spiritual things, instead of the fleshly desires of this world.

6 No one who remains in Him sins continually; —No person who remains in Christ, abides in Christ can sin continually.  Someone who is truly IN CHRIST is opposite in character from a lawless man.   This is because the effect of abiding in Christ is always a changed life.  Christians do in fact, sin, but we go to the Father in Jesus’ name in repentance to confess our sins, knowing that He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (John 1:9).  To deny sin is to be deceived and call God a liar. What is John saying  “Everyone who abides in Him does not sin.”? He means that the abiding believer does not have Jesus’ sinless perfection, but is being conformed to His image of sinless perfection more and more all the time, and so, not continuing to practice sin as their way of life.  Not sinless, but sinning less.  He’s trying to contrast abiding with Christ, with the former life of sin.  They are opposites. You cannot sin continually, live a sinful life, and be abiding in Christ. And if you are abiding in Christ, you cannot sin continually, living a sinful life. 

To “abide” is to live, continue, or remain; so, to abide in Christ is to live in Him or remain in Him. When a person is saved, they are described as being “in Christ” Therefore there is now no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1); Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17).  And, if we are “IN Christ”, abiding in Him, then we definitely ARE held in a secure in a permanent relationship John 10:28-30 28 and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” We can have eternal security!  But it’s eternal security in abiding relationship with Jesus.  Abiding in Christ is not a special level of Christian experience, but is the position of all true believers!

In John 15:4–7, Jesus tells His disciples that drawing life from Him is essential, using the picture of branches united to a vine: “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. 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. 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. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” Without the union with Christ that salvation provides, there can be no life in Christ, and no fruit born of the Holy Spirit’s work from the inside out to produce fruit.  No desire to serve God, and no relationship with Him. It is about our relationship with Jesus.  And practically speaking, this means abiding, continuing in prayer.  Pray continually.  And it means abiding in God’s Word.  Jesus said in John 8:31-32 31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly My disciples;

no one who sins continually has seen Him or knows Him.–What kind of sin? We’re talking about habitual sin.  In saying that no one who ‘abides’ in him sins, John is not asserting that it is impossible for a believer to commit an occasional act of sin. Is it serious?  YES!  Is it fatal? Not In Christ!  He has already pointed to the provision made for such an emergency by means of confession (1:9) and Christ’s activity as his people’s Advocate (2:1).  But, he is saying that a sinful life, abiding in sin, instead of abiding in Christ, is impossible for a child of God, so that anyone who leads such a life is demonstrating that they are not a child of God.

And God, through His Holy Spirit can empower us to be sinless as much, and only as much as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the process.  We, as Christians, can be sinless insofar as we abide now in the Walk of the Spirit, not of the Flesh, sharing the life of eternity NOW, living as Citizens of Heaven Now, by living in Christ, and by being spiritually reborn, and renewed 3 cor 4:26 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” We pray that we may be, as Eph 4:23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,.  And that happens as we follow God’s instruction through Paul in Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  We have abiding results in Christ of freedom from sin and our abiding is marked by freedom from sin.  IT is possible, In Christ.

Law and Grace, Faith and Works
January 22nd, 2023

1st John 3:4

Christ, the Fulfillment of the Law

To understand our position, with relation to the law, as Christians, it helps to look at Jesus our example.    He said, beginning in in Matthew 5:17 17 “Do not presume that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill… The view of lawless people is diametrically opposed, to the teaching of Jesus, and as Jesus says in the passage—is a dangerous and deadly “presumption”. 

Paul points out that life in Christ is death to sin.  Because we have been saved by grace, not by works, we are a new creation that CANNOT continue to live in the old way.  He says in Rom 6:1-7 6 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 Far from it! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? God’s grace brings liberty from the slavery of sin and not liberty to sin. We are dead to sin, but alive IN CHRIST!  And, in 1st John, John is warning his beloved brothers and sisters that these gnostic teachers around Ephesus and other places were trying to lead them astray.  The writer of Hebrews reminds the reader that salvation itself may be jeopardized if someone rejects following Jesus, and the gospel is forsaken 4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.  You don’t want to be anywhere near that line, folks.  Don’t play with your salvation.  You can get to the point that you reject Christ, the ONLY salvation for sin, and if He is not your Lord, then God will be your Judge.  Those are the only two relationships available with God.  

James in particular emphasizes that real faith is active faith, lived out in our lives  James 2:14-18 14 What use is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 In the same way, faith also, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.  In other words, when your faith stops as just words “Go, in Peace, Be Warmed and Filled”, “I’ll pray for you”, or whatever we might say that doesn’t meet the need, then we probably haven’t followed the urging of the Holy Spirit as we should, and probably haven’t lived out our faith in the way that we’re supposed to. 

Faith or Works

So, wait, James is saying we’re justified by works and faith, but Paul emphasizes that sola fide, faith alone in Christ’s righteousness is the only alternative to a damning system of works-based righteousness: “Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness” In other words, those who trust Jesus Christ for justification by faith alone receive a perfect righteousness that is reckoned to them. Those who attempt to establish their own righteousness or mix faith with works only receive the horrible wage (eternal death) that is due all who fall short of perfection.

Jesus, and all the New Testament writers call us to diligence in living righteous lives BECAUSE of what HE has done for us, and not to take it for granted, according to the deceitfulness of the false teachers.   2 Peter in 1:4-11 tell us that through Jesus’ work on the cross, we have been granted everything we need for a godly life, as we become imitators of Jesus saying  5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they do not make you useless nor unproductive in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For the one who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choice of you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.  Peter is saying that it’s our noticing in OURSELVES that our righteousness is increasing is what makes our calling and election sure.  We know that HE has chosen us before the foundation of the Earth, and that we are His, BECAUSE of our changed lives.  But, with this comes a deeper and deeper appreciation of sin, as God sees it.  And so, we see the Apostle John in 1st John 1:10 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.  John is writing against those false teachers who were saying that they were free from sin, and thereby putting themselves on a pedestal and attracting people to their teaching.  1st John 1:8 says 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  So, this easy-believism resulted in a blindness to the sin in their lives, and a false-belief that they were “alright with God”, that everything was fine, when they were still in their sins.  John reminds us in 1st John 1:9 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Praise God!  But those who think that they have no sin, and yet, are living just like the world put themselves in a place where they will never confess their sins, and will never be cleansed from all unrighteousness, BECAUSE they are blinded to their need for repentance!  And so, we come to an understanding that we are saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross alone!  And we trust only in what Jesus has done—our works do not save us. But the New Testament writers are unanimous, in saying that IF we are indeed saved, THEN we will produce works of righteousness, and if we don’t have any desire to live righteous lives, as followers of Jesus, then we’re not really Jesus-followers, Christians, at all! 

and sin is lawlessness.

Every sin is a transgression, breaking the law, against God because sin violates His moral standard for human beings. Since God created us, then He has the right to define boundaries for us, and to judge us  if we do not meet that standard.  AS followers of God, we are supposed to “whose delight is in the law of the LORD” (Psalm 1:2). “I long for your salvation, LORD,” writes the psalmist, “and your law gives me delight” (Psalm 119:174). The contrast between lawlessness and love could not be clearer: “Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law” (Psalm 119:70).  Why would a Christ-follower want to live as “far” away from Him as possible?!

There is a vast difference between someone who sins, as we all do Romans 3:10 10 as it is written: “There is no righteous person, not even one; and that anyone who says he is without sin is deceiving himself and the truth is not in him.  A lawless person is one who has given himself or herself over completely to a sinful lifestyle. Lawless people either do not believe in God or refuse to acknowledge His right to rule their lives 14 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed detestable acts; There is no one who does good. (Psalm 14:1). Those who persist in lawlessness will not inherit the kingdom of God  1 Cor 6:9-10 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; and then he goes it to a list of sins of those who will not inherit the Kingdom.  There’s another list in Gal 5:19-21 .   

Jesus warned that in the end times lawlessness will increase and “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:9-12). 9 “Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 And at that time many will fall away, and they will [g]betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. 12 And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved.  Jesus ties tribulation and persecution for His name’s sake, and martyrdom, and hatred of His followers by the world with lawlessness.  When an attitude of lawlessness pervades the atmosphere, people stop wondering about right and wrong. This was the exact attitude of the self-righteous Pharisees and teachers of the law.  46 But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well! For you load people with burdens that are hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.   Every act of sin is an example of lawlessness because it is a violation of God’s standard of holiness and His perfect character.  And we are supposed to stand for what’s right, fighting against lawlessness, instead of joining in.  If a person makes a practice of sinning, then that person is making a practice of lawlessness, and those who regularly go against God’s ways (sin) are living as if there is no standard of righteousness (lawless). John further describes such people as “children of the devil”, a little later in 1 John 3:10.  The same word for lawlessness is used by Jesus in one of the most terrifying passages in Scripture: “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'” (Matthew 7:21–23). These are people who clearly think they are Christians because of their self-righteousness and self-deception, but Jesus says to them that they are actually workers of lawlessness (anomia). He does not know them, meaning they do not have a saving relationship with Him.  Instead of this we want to hear as in Matthew 25:21.   21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter the joy of your master.’