Question: Who is Jesus talking to in Matthew:7:22, 23? Nominal Christians? People who “think” they’re Christians? Born-again Christians who messed up?
Answer: This scripture is a solemn warning! Those He addresses apparently were accepted and honored by many as Christian leaders and seemingly did great exploits in Christ’s name. They even seem to be sincere in telling Christ: “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?”
Jesus (who says, “I know my sheep”- Jn:10:14) declares, I never knew you, so they were never true Christians (His sheep) “who messed up.” To call them “nominal Christians” hardly fits. They do seem to “think” they are Christians, but clearly never understood the gospel. Obviously, they are false prophets.
Works, no matter how seemingly miraculous, are not the basis of salvation and cannot provide assurance of salvation. Their plea ought to have been, “Lord, You promised eternal life to those who believe in You. We believed and are saved by faith, so You can’t turn us away.” The true gospel was neither the emphasis of their “ministry” nor the basis of their assurance.
Sadly, we find the same dominant emphasis upon “miracles,” or signs and wonders, within much of the charismatic and “faith teaching” and “positive confession” sectors of the professing church today. Take heed!
This is a powerful scripture for eternal security. If salvation could be “lost,” surely Christ would have said to at least one of them, “You were doing well until you lost your salvation.” He says that to none of them. They never had salvation to “lose.”