Christ the Judge will tell a large group of people to depart from Him at the conclusion of The Great White Throne Judgment which will occur at the end of The 1000 Year Reign of the Messiah. There is an element of tremendous SURPRISE in Matthew 7:23. A number of those judged to be damned will be insolent to Christ. Amazingly, they will attempt to argue about all their good deeds and deny their status as the damned! They believed they were saved Christians who belonged to Christ. Not true. He will say to them. "Depart from me, you workers of iniquity. I never knew you." WHY did He never KNOW them? All He knew were their sins, defiance, and rebellion.They had experienced false conversions, had no true faith. Each had REFUSED TO REPENT, give up their sins (especially favorite habitual sins), and OBEY. The damned: frauds, hypocrites, liars. Judged by The JUDGE and condemned.
Christ offers unmerited salvation: forgiveness of sins, fullness of grace, and membership in His and Abba Father's Kingdom. Some will not accept these priceless gifts. And. Not everyone accepts these on THEIR TERMS. Defiant sinners are "workers of iniquity" and the word iniquity has specific meaning in Hebrew. It means Torah breaking. The New Living Translation states "You who break God's laws." Where is the core, the essence of these laws, Torah laws? The 10 Commandments. These are ethically and morally binding for humankind. The 613 Commandments in the Torah are basically more details of these. There were 10 wedding vows at Mt. Sinai to be remembered, reflected upon, and obeyed. Not 613 vows.
Christ's first words in His public ministry according to Mark 1:15 include the following. "Repent of your sins and believe the Good News." Repentance is not easy. It costs us. Favorite habitual sins are difficult to leave, to give up. Repentance is not optional for faith in the Messiah. NECESSARY! There is a powerful story in John 8:11. A woman has been caught in adultery, is terrified, and the mob is ready to stone her to death. According to the Mosaic Law, she deserves to be stoned to death. Christ's final words to her are invaluable. For her. For us. "Go and sin no more." Christ is unwilling to let her leave and quickly return to her sin of adultery. SHE MUST PAY THE PRICE. What is her price? REPENT. Leave that sin. There was no cheap grace or easy forgiveness given by Christ. HE PAID THE JUDGMENT AND WRATH PRICES for her sin of adultery, any Torah breaking sins, at Golgotha!
True faith in Christ must include repentance and obedience. Those who are "workers of iniquity" want persistent sinning, no repentance, and no obedience. They are anti Torah people. These spiritual con artists will be judged, condemned, and damned. No one will fool Christ about his or her data file of lifetime sins. Mark 1:15 states it well. "The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!"
With Love and Shalom,