The lawless men point to their fruits. They seem good: prophesying, casting out demons, doing mighty deeds, and confessing. They cry out: “Lord, Lord.” It seems as though they’ve kept the law. They’ve done good deeds. But the Lord calls them lawless and say He never knew them.
The things they confess aren’t the will of the Father. Their prophesying, casting out demons, giving money to the poor, helping the sick, buying a candy bar to help the football team, going and picking up their friend from jail, giving money to a homeless man, aren’t good works. They are evil works produced by a rotten tree. Not even their prayers are good. They say, “Our Father,” but it is not heard. It does not count. They are workers of lawlessness and the Lord never knew them.
They look like good works on the outside, that is the sheep’s clothing, but they are not. Because they have not the will of the Father. The will of the Father is that men would believe in Him. They do not have faith. Therefore they have no good works.
How then are we to judge? Our Lord says to be careful of false prophets. We can’t see into their hearts. Trust not trust in princes or pastors, or even in ourselves. Not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom. We have said, “Lord, Lord.” Will we enter in? Are we workers of lawlessness? Have we mistakenly put our trust in our works? In our confession? In our pedigree? In our attendance? In our tithe? In our knowledge or our deeds? Yes. Of course, we have. We are of our father the devil and he was a liar from the beginning. Repent.
How can a liar tell the truth? He says, “I am a liar.” How can a hypocrite make a good confession? He says I am a hypocrite. I am of two minds. Part of me loves the Law and wants to keep it, yet the evil I despise and would not do, that I do. I sin against myself. I sin knowingly, knowing what is good but choosing evil. How can an unbeliever, a sinner, be good? He can confess his sin and throw himself upon the mercy of God.
For the will of the Father is that we repent, turn from our evil ways, and throw ourselves upon His mercy. The will of the Father is that the Son drink the Cup of His Wrath for us, that it not be removed from Him, that He be forsaken and punished for our sins. The will of the Father is that we be gathered from the hi-ways and by-ways, clothed in garments meant for the nobility, and be His guests, and more. The will of the Father is that we become the Bride, the pearl of great price worth the life of the Son.
The only good work is faith. There is no other. All other works – confession, prophesy, the casting out of demons, and mighty deeds –are filthy rags. The Holy Spirit finds our barren limbs and ties on plastic Easter eggs and calls it fruit. We get credit for the Son’s perfect life. The Father plays along. We get credit for being good, as though the fruit was our own, as though it came from our goodness. The Father declares the fruit to be ours and to be good and us to be righteous, acceptable in His sight, worthy of His Son. The Son Himself is then hanged upon our rotten boughs, with iron nails. We are the cross. We crucify the Lord. He is the Fruit, good fruit, and we get the credit, and are transformed. We carry and embrace the sufferings of the Christ for our salvation and the good of our neighbor. No longer are these fruits plastic Easter eggs. They become our fruit, created by the Spirit for us to perform in freedom and love. He creates and does good works through us, giving us a part of His kingdom, even a part of His sorrows, as He is borne in us through this dying world.
Beware of false prophets, that is, beware of all prophets. For all must contend with their old Adam and all fail in various ways. Beware the false Adam inside yourself. Trust not in princes. Trust not in pastors. Trust not in yourself. Trust in Jesus, in His mercy, in His Father’s love and the Spirit’s grace. Come and do the will of your Father. Take, and eat. Take, and drink. Be united to Him. Be freed from sin. Be a sheep in sheep’s clothing as declared by the Word of the Lord.
In +Jesus’ Name.