Matthew 7.21-23: Will Christians Go to Hell for not Obeying the Law?

On a recent conversation, a commentator raised the issue that a 1st Century Palestinian Rabbi was not the Son of God, God Incarnate, but in fact preached a strict adherence to the Law. (Original Post here) Here is one of the passages that he brought up. (Bare in mind, he has been blinded by the Law to Grace, and has same some antichrist things about the Lord and His Church. He is only repeating, and should be in your prayers.)

“Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV)

The word that is important here, and must bare examination is ἀνομία (lawlessness, iniquity. Note, the Aramaic’s word here is ‘evil’, which is Traditionally the original language of Matthew). The Greek lexicons contribute the meaning to this  word of ‘illegality’, or ‘without law.’

We call upon Paul to show us how he used this word,

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19 NKJV)

We, as Christians, are called on to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, so we turn to John,

Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4 NKJV)

John, the Apostle and Disciple of Jesus Christ, understood Christ to mean sin. All sin is against the Law of God. Sin existed before the law of Moses and will exist until Christ returns. Unless you attribute the above passage to some sort of ‘pagan redactions’, it is easy to see that the iniquity that Christ was speaking about was sin. One of the things that we have to remember is that there is law which is morality, and then there is the Law of Moses. The law of morality which is contained in the Law of Moses, but existed before it, do not end with Christ, as the Law of Moses did.

“The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. (Luke 16:16 NKJV)

The same Christ that spoke in Matthew to the evildoers (Murdock’s Aramaic New Testament) is the same Christ that spoke here.

As a final note, again reference the above conversation, Julio mentions this except of a passage:

Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. (Matthew 23:1-3 NKJV)

First, I would agree with the Orthodox commentators that this passage is to be taken as hyperbolic, in a manner, to understand that Christ was teaching those around Him that those that have authority are not without sin. If one reads the entire chapter, you will note Christ’s teachings against giving people undue credit, and by attributing to them some special power to change the laws of God. It is entirely possible that Christ is telling those around him to listen to the words that come from that seat – which was the Law and the Prophets – for these words pointed to Him. If one hears the words then would follow Christ.

When Jesus says that the scribes and Pharisees ‘speak’ but do not ‘do’ , the implication is that they ‘speak Torah but do not do Torah.’ To ‘speak Torah’ means to cite accurately what the Scriptures say. To ‘do Torah’ means to demonstrate understanding of Torah through word and deed (5:19). In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus claims that the scribes and Pharisees do cite the Torah accurately but he maintains that their words and their deeds reveal them to be ‘blind guides’ who do not understand the Torah they cite (15:14; 23:16, 17, 19, 24, 26).

Barclay says it better than I,

What he is saying is this, “In so far as these Scribes and Pharisees have taught you the great principles of the Law which Moses received from God, you must obey them.” When we were studying Matt 5:17-20 we saw what these principles were. The whole of the Ten Commandments are based on two great principles. They are based on reverence, reverence for God, for God’s name, for God’s day, for the parents God has given to us. They are based on respect, respect for a man’s life, for his possessions, for his personality, for his good name, for oneself. These principles are eternal; and, in so far as the Scribes and Pharisees teach reverence for God and respect for men, their teaching is eternally binding and eternally valid.

The entire passage has to be read, and compared to what Christ has said. If one has no faith that the Scriptures are inspired, then it becomes fruitless to discuss things. The Scriptures that we have, they lie not. They have not been redacted, or corrupted, but brought forth through history by God Almighty. When they become hard and distasteful, then it is not the Scriptures that are in error, but the reader.

This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. (Titus 1:13-16 NKJV)

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20 Replies to “Matthew 7.21-23: Will Christians Go to Hell for not Obeying the Law?”

  1. You wrote, “we have to remember is that there is law with is morality” – huh?

    “you will not Christ’s teachings” = “you will note Christ’s teachings”

  2. Polycarp,

    You wrote, “The law of morality which is contained in the Law of Moses, but existed before it, ended with Christ.”

    Forgive me. I know I’m probably being obtuse. Are you saying the law of morality ended with Christ or the Law of Moses ended with Christ?

  3. Polycarp,

    It appears to me that Paqid Yirmeyahu is the author/maintainer of the site above. I went to the page that gives his bio. I was interested in the amount of things he mentioned as if they should give him credence. I was really surprised he mentioned in his bio that he had held membership in IEEE. ACM, ASSE, Mensa, ‘reporting directly to the owner’, his wife supports him, his daughter’s accomplishments, as if these things were important to know to understand his path towards the law and away from the grace of God.

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