The Gospel of Matthew recorded the teaching of Jesus driving His servants away from Him, saying I never knew you. God loved us so much and gave His Son to us so that no one should perish but live eternally. God predestined us to call us His children and never forsakes us. Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. Then what makes Him say, “I never knew you”?
Because God knows us better than what we know about ourselves. All areas of our lives lie before Him. We do not see the dark area of our lives and fail to realize what we are doing. When we commit a mistake, initially we feel bad and identify the affected area. But as days go by, we make so many blunders that it becomes difficult for us to realize the harm those blunders have done to our lives. We learn to live with them and assume that God is patient, and He does not know what we did. As we get used to our blunders, we forget to keep vigil over things. God opts to stop loving us when we do not bear any fruit, but we do not even realize the emptiness in His absence, and we have so many other things fitted to our lives to compensate for His love.
Not By Our Deeds
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
When we are all aware that one cannot receive salvation by works, the people who served God mightily, were trying to attribute their service to God to their salvation (Matthew 7:22). This is a common mistake of the people of God. When God manifests His power in their ministry, people long to give publicity for the exposure of His power by cleverly hiding that fact that God is unleashing His power. Serving God is a privilege. Partaking in His work and should not be counted as eligibility for our salvation. God saved us free of cost by paying His Son’s blood for our sins.
If God uses us for His glory, it is not because of our righteousness but His Son’s righteousness. Some people deny God’s grace and rely on their deeds to attain salvation. Even people saved by His grace inadvertently depend on their deeds again, denying His grace. If we could have availed salvation by doing good, then Jesus should not have died for us on the cross.
I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”Galatians 2:21 (NIV)
Retaining Our Salvation
Many understand salvation as a one-time act and do not bother to live up to their salvation. Our salvation should be tuned daily despite our situations (2 Corinthians 4:16). Perhaps we cannot secure our salvation. But, the Holy Spirit, the seal of our salvation, can protect it till we meet our Father in heaven.
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NIV)
Holy Spirit can accomplish this if we hold on to our initial faith (Ephesians 1:13). We are the gentiles, branches of the wild olive tree, saved by His grace to become the branches of the cultivated olive tree. Jesus said, the last become the first, and the first will be the last (Matthew 20:16). From the wild tree, when we become the branches of the cultivated olive tree, the bible reminds us of the following truth.
Do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.Romans 11:18-21 (NIV)
Pride comes when we boast about our deeds, ignoring what God has done for us. To overcome this, we should be mindful of His grace, leaving aside our pride.
When we think about the fall, we go back to Adam and Eve and make a hue about their fall, ignoring what is happening to us. Instead, we should be aware of the truth if God did not spare Adam and Eve, He will not spare us either. When God keeps on searching for fruits in our lives, we cannot give Him the lame excuse that Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, and now I am unable to yield any fruit. We failed because of the disobedience of the first Adam. However, the second Adam (Jesus) provided ample opportunities to obey God, as He obeyed His Father until the death on the cross.
The fall is continuing even today. God drove Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden and gave everyone a chance to become the branches of Jesus, the tree of life. After becoming the branches of the everlasting tree of life, if we do not bear fruit, our Father in heaven does not hesitate to cut us off from Jesus, and without Jesus, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.John 15:1-2 (NIV)
As the fall continues, constant renewal of our spirit is mandatory, or God will cut us off from His family, and we cannot continue to hold the rights of His heirs.
The Fallen People of God
The fallen people of God are the branches cut off from the tree and lying on the ground. The scripture says that they are of no use anymore and will become dry.
If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.John 15:6 (NIV)
These branches do not bear fruits as they are cut off from the tree and are in the process of drying. The people of God who do not bear fruit are the ones who are in the process of drying. Though they are not giving fruit, they can perform miracles in the name of Jesus until they dry completely. These people forget that they are fruitless but continue to do great things for God and fool themselves by thinking that they are still yielding fruit. They do not even imagine that one day God will reject them, and when not recognized as children of God, they will cite their works to God to revive their salvation, forgetting that they do not have any fruits to please God.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)
Being fruitful is what God expected when He created man (Genesis 1:28). God expects the same with His children. When the first Adam failed to yield fruit, the second Adam gave fruit and added countless branches in Him to bear the fruits of His Spirit. We must bear fruit as His children rather than doing great things for Him. Without the fruits of the Spirit, the great signs we perform in His name will become waste, nullifying our salvation, which we received for free by His grace. We should muster the fruits of the Spirit in our lives every time to remain in Him. Else our Father will cut us off from Jesus. Without Jesus, we can do nothing. Do not fool yourselves with the residue of His anointing, which will dry soon.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)