Matthew 7:22 MEANING

Matthew 7:22
(22) Many will say to me in that day.--No part of the Sermon on the Mount is more marvellous in its claims than this; to those who see in Christ only a human Teacher with a higher morality than Hillel or Seneca, none more utterly incomprehensible. At the commencement of His ministry, in a discourse which, though it is spoken in the tone of authority, gives no prominence to His mission as the Messiah, He yet claims, with the calmness of assured conviction, to be the Judge before whom the faithful and the hypocrites will alike have to give an account. In "that day" (the words, though they would not suggest, as afterwards, the thought of His own advent, would yet carry the minds of men to the "great and dreadful day" of Malachi 4:5) the words "Lord, Lord," would mean more than the expression of human courtesy.

Have we not prophesied in thy name?--Here, also, there is the implied calm assertion of a supernatural power, not resting in Himself alone, but imparted to His followers, and exercised, or at least claimed, by some who did not themselves fulfil the conditions of His kingdom. Here, as everywhere in the New Testament, "prophesying" is more than mere prediction, and includes the whole work of delivering a message to men, as coming directly from God.

Verse 22. - Matthew only; but cf Luke 13:26, from which the "Western" addition of eating and drinking is probably derived. Many will say to me in that day. The great day. Notice Christ's claim, so early as this, to be the future Judge of the world. Lord, Lord (cf. Hosea 8:2). In ver. 21a profession of service, i.e. as regards work; here, as regards wages. Have we not prophesied. Revised Version did, etc.? The thought is not of abiding effect, but merely of historical facts (οὐ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι ἐπροφητεύσαμεν). In thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? Revised Version, by thy name. An important difference, for "in" implies some vital connexion. But in this case the revelation (Matthew 6:9, note) of Christ was merely the instrument by which these men proclaimed Divine truths, cast out; demons, and wrought miracles. With him, or even with it, they had no real union. The connexion of "prophesied" with the two other words seems to forbid this being only false prophesying (ver. 15; cf. especially Jeremiah 27:15 [34:12, LXX.]; 14:14). Rather does the verse teach that spiritual results can be effected by unspiritual men. "Suggested by this and like passages. Augustine has many instructive words and warnings on the nothingness of all gifts, even up to the greatest gift of working nil miracles, if charity be wanting" (Trench, ' Sermon on the Mount').

7:21-29 Christ here shows that it will not be enough to own him for our Master, only in word and tongue. It is necessary to our happiness that we believe in Christ, that we repent of sin, that we live a holy life, that we love one another. This is his will, even our sanctification. Let us take heed of resting in outward privileges and doings, lest we deceive ourselves, and perish eternally, as multitudes do, with a lie in our right hand. Let every one that names the name of Christ, depart from all sin. There are others, whose religion rests in bare hearing, and it goes no further; their heads are filled with empty notions. These two sorts of hearers are represented as two builders. This parable teaches us to hear and do the sayings of the Lord Jesus: some may seem hard to flesh and blood, but they must be done. Christ is laid for a foundation, and every thing besides Christ is sand. Some build their hopes upon worldly prosperity; others upon an outward profession of religion. Upon these they venture; but they are all sand, too weak to bear such a fabric as our hopes of heaven. There is a storm coming that will try every man's work. When God takes away the soul, where is the hope of the hypocrite? The house fell in the storm, when the builder had most need of it, and expected it would be a shelter to him. It fell when it was too late to build another. May the Lord make us wise builders for eternity. Then nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ Jesus. The multitudes were astonished at the wisdom and power of Christ's doctrine. And this sermon, ever so often read over, is always new. Every word proves its Author to be Divine. Let us be more and more decided and earnest, making some one or other of these blessednesses and Christian graces the main subject of our thoughts, even for weeks together. Let us not rest in general and confused desires after them, whereby we grasp at all, but catch nothing.Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,.... That is, in the last day, the day of judgment, the great and famous day, fixed by God, unknown to angels and men, which will be terrible to some, and joyful to others; the day in which the faithful ministers of the Gospel shall be owned by Christ, and received into the kingdom of heaven: "many", not of the common people only, but of the preachers of the word, who have filled up the highest station in the church below; not one, or two, or a few of them only, but many of them "will say to me"; to Christ, who will appear then as the judge of quick and dead, to which he is ordained by his Father,

Lord, Lord; not "my Lord, my Lord", as the Syriac version reads it; for they will not be able to claim any interest in him, though they will be obliged to own his dominion, power, and authority over them. The word is repeated to show their importunity, sense of danger, the confusion they will be in, the wretched disappointment they will have; and therefore speak as persons amazed and confounded, having expected they would have been the first persons that should be admitted into heaven. Their pleas follow;

have we not prophesied in thy name? This may be understood either of foretelling things to come; which gift wicked men may have, who have never had any experience of the grace of God, as Balaam, and Caiaphas, and others; or rather of preaching the word, which is sometimes called prophesying, Romans 12:6 and which may be done in the name of Christ, pretending mission and authority from him, and to be preachers of him, and yet be no better than "sounding brass", or "a tinkling cymbal"; yea, nothing at all as to true grace, or spiritual experience.

And in thy name have cast out devils? Diabolical possessions were very frequent in the times of Christ; no doubt but they were suffered, that Jesus might have an opportunity of showing his power over Satan, by dispossessing him from the bodies, as well as the souls of men; and of giving proof of his deity, divine sonship and Messiahship: and this power of casting out devils was given to others, not only to the twelve apostles, among whom Judas was, who had the same power with the rest, and to the seventy disciples; but even to some who did not follow him, and his disciples, Mark 9:38 and some did this in the name of Jesus, who do not appear to have any true faith in him, and knowledge of him; as the vagabond Jews, exorcists, and the seven sons of Sceva, Acts 19:13. An awful consideration it is, that men should be able to cast out devils, and at last be cast to the devil.

And in thy name done many wonderful works? that is, many miracles; not one, or a few only, but many; such as speaking with tongues, removing mountains, treading on serpents and scorpions, and drinking any deadly thing without hurt, and healing all manner of diseases and sicknesses. Judas, for one, was capable of pleading all these things; he had the gift of preaching, and a call from Christ to it, and yet a castaway; he had the power of casting out devils, and yet could not prevent the devil from entering into him; he could perform miracles, do wonders in Christ's name, and yet, at last, was the betrayer of him. These pleas and arguments will be of no use to him, nor of any avail to any at the great day. It may be observed, that these men lay the whole stress of their salvation upon what they have done in Christ's name; and not on Christ himself, in whom there is salvation, and in no other: they say not a syllable of what Christ has done and suffered, but only of what they have done. Indeed, the things they instance in, are the greatest done among men; the gifts they had were the most excellent, excepting the grace of God; the works they did were of an extraordinary nature; whence it follows, that there can be no salvation, nor is it to be expected from men's works: for if preaching the word, which is attended with so much study, care, and labour, will not be a prevailing argument to admit men into the kingdom of heaven; how can it be thought that ever reading, or hearing, or any other external performance of religion, should bring persons thither?

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