“Not Everyone That Saith Unto Me Lord Lord Shall Enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”

Bryan Richards

This passage is an important missionary scripture. Many will preach that the phrase, "by grace ye are saved," means that the individual only has to believe in Christ to be saved. Confessing his name and believing in Him, they argue, will ensure salvation, regardless of works. Obviously, in this scripture, the individuals to which the Lord is speaking consider Him to be their Lord, they have confessed his name and certainly expect a great reward. But, their great works cannot hide the shallowness of their faith pool. Stephen R. Robinson said, "In other words, merely acknowledging Jesus' lordship, merely saying the words or making the confession, while refusing to make him our lord by serving him and conforming our behavior to his will—this will not get us into the kingdom. The confession or the acknowledgment must be accompanied by doing the will of the Father in heaven and by not doing iniquity." (Following Christ, p. 77) Along these lines the Savior also said, why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Lu 6:46)

However, we should not smugly assume that this warning is directed only at false prophets and hypocritical sectarians. The Lord directly warned the saints, saying, ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings (DC 41:1). For the lazy Latter-day saint, the passage could read, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, are we not members of thy kingdom, and have we not sent our children to Church and paid some fast offerings?" For the abusive husbands and fathers, "Lord, Lord, are we not holders of thy priesthood, and did we not hold responsible positions in thy kingdom, and attend church regularly." For the prideful, "Lord, Lord, have I not done as well as the rest of my ward, and do not my worldly attainments demonstrate my ability, and my riches demonstrate thy good pleasure?" For all these people, the answer may well be, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Alma asks, do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say—Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth—and that he will save you?…Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white? I say unto you, Nay (Alma 5:17, 24-25).

Joseph B. Wirthlin

"'And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.' (Matthew 7:21-23.)
"None would want to hear the Lord speak such disappointing words. That is why we need to do everything in our power to be certain our spiritual bonfire of testimony is burning brightly enough to keep the wolves of darkness away. We can always use more dry kindling. As the Apostle Paul taught, each of us has 'come short of the glory of God.' (Romans 3:23.) None of us has progressed so far in this life that we do not need to continually fortify our testimonies." (Finding Peace in Our Lives, p. 126)

John Taylor

"I think that Scripture is just as true to-day as it was eighteen hundred years ago, just as binding, and we shall find the results of it just as true, and when the secrets of all hearts are revealed, when the judgment is set and the books are opened, these things will be known and understood. How will it be then with Latter-day Saints? Why those who are doing right and are full of integrity, and have kept their covenants, observed the law of God and walked in obedience to his commands will hear Jesus say—'Thou hast been faithful over a few things and I will make thee ruler over many things.' And then there are some others mentioned. Who are they, and what are they? 'Why, many will come to me and say, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? Have we not cast out devils in thy name, and in thy name done many wonderful works? Then he will say to them—'Depart from me, for I never knew you.'
"How will that fit on some of us do you think? That belongs a little closer to some of us than we imagine; for I do not think that Gentiles do much prophesying in the name of God; I do not think they cast out many devils in the name of God, or do any wonderful works in his name. Jesus was speaking to a people that had done these things, the same, perhaps, as some of you have, and yet you have become careless and indifferent, and in many instances have made shipwreck of a good conscience and failed to keep the covenants you have made." (Journal of Discourses, 18:201)