Tuesday, January 09, 2007

How do you know?

After I met Jesus and asked him to be my Lord and Savior, a friend started meeting with me and teaching me about the faith. One day, we read this passage together. Here Jesus is telling some people about the kingdom of heaven, and he has some bad news for them:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of 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 perfom many miracles?’

“Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7.21-23
My friend asked me how I knew I wouldn't end up like these poor guys.

Well, I don't cast out demons or perform miracles, but somehow I don't think that's the point. When I first read the passage, I thought the evildoers sounded surprised, but as I look at it now, I don't think they necessarily are.

One could imagine an officer in the British armed forces for example, issuing orders to friend and foe "in the name of Her Majesty, Queen _________ of England," and getting pretty good results. But the officer is a traitor; he's found out and brought before the Queen herself for sentencing. "I never knew you," she says, and orders the evildoer sent away.

It seems to me that in his reply Jesus gives them two key words: "knew" and "evildoer." How can I be sure of my fate? Well, does Jesus know me? Do I talk to him regularly, thank him for his blessings, ask him to help me follow him?

And am I an evildoer? I don't think that he means "ever done anything bad," but rather "persists in doing wrong." Put differently, do I want to stay in the dark to keep doing wrong, or do I want to know and do the truth?

written 1/9, posted 1/11

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