There seems to be a lot of Christians who are very concerned about the “Depart from me…” statements of Jesus. They are worried that they might hear the Lord say this to them one day:
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, 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?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Notice that they did not say: “But Lord, you died for our sins on the cross.” Or, “Lord, we have been trusting in your sacrifice for salvation.” So, who exactly are being referred to here? These were not Christians who blew it and then lost their salvation because a believer is sealed to the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). This also has nothing to do with not doing enough “good works” because works doesn’t save anyone. Jesus said, “I never knew you.” They never belonged to Him. These are false Christians, unsaved ministers, leaders, etc., who performed false signs and wonders and cast out demons. They didn’t do it by the power of the Holy Spirit, but by the power of satan. They were never born again believers although they were inside the church.
In Matthew 25, Jesus again says: “Depart from me!”
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.4
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:42-46)
Here we have Jesus speaking these words to those who are alive at the end of the Tribulation before setting up His kingdom. This specific judgment will be against those who did not help believers during the Tribulation (Matthew 25:31-46). Paul wrote that all who believe his gospel are saved and nothing can separate us from Christ (Romans 8). That Christ will judge all mankind on the basis of his gospel (Romans 2:16). Anyone who has believed it has nothing to fear. Christ will judge all unbelieving mankind at the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20).
If you are trusting in Christ alone for salvation, Jesus will never say to you: “Depart from me. I never knew you!”