We all like to hear good things said to us or about us. The positive words of encouragement do us a world of good.

I know the words that I’d like to hear God say to me when I stand, or rather, lie prostrate, before Him at the judgment seat. I’m hoping He’ll say Well done, thou good and faithful servant!  These have got to be the sweetest words I’ll ever hear God say and I’m really hoping I’ll hear Him say them to me one day.

Unfortunately, God doesn’t only say good things all the time. He’s got some harsh words to say too. And the scariest of these words that I definitely don’t want to hear Him say to me are, I never knew you. Depart from me, you worker of iniquity! Friends, when you hear God say that to you, you’re as good as toast!

These words of our Lord are taken from His sermon on the mount. Here’s the fuller version of what He said: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  (22)  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  (23)  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity, Matthew 7:21-23.

These 3 verses, in my opinion, are the scariest verses for a Christian because they tell us that many professing Christians who believe they’ll go to Heaven when they die will have a rude awakening and the shock of their life when our Lord sends them to hell instead.

Why will the Lord send these Christians to hell? (1) Because they’ve not done the will of God. They lived their lives in disobedience to God and neglected, or refused, to do His will; and (2) they worked iniquity, that is, they continued to live a life of sin, continued to live like the heathen. Instead of quitting sinning, they persisted in sin.


Two things shock and frighten me about the Christians who God will send to hell. (1) These unwary, unsuspecting hell-bound Christians called and considered Jesus their Lord; they worked for the Lord, engaged in Christian ministry or leadership; they prophesied and preached the word of the Lord; they cast out devils; and they did many wonderful works—not just a few or a handful, but many—they performed lots of signs and wonders; they did miracles of healing, deliverance, and who knows what else.

Jesus didn’t deny that they did these things. So what these Christians said and did were true. They did all these things that they said they did. So they were very effective in Christian ministry and many people were saved, healed, and delivered through them.

Most frightening perhaps is the fact that these people did way more for God than most of us have done to date. They did many things that most of us have not done even once as far as healing or casting out demons is concerned. These hell-bound Christians put us to shame by how much they did and how successful they were in their witness and ministry.

Yet, in spite of all they accomplished, they find themselves barred from Heaven because they lived a double life. They worked for the Lord and continued to sin on the side. They professed to be Christians, yet continued to live and act like heathens.

(2) The second thing that really frightens me about these hell-bound Christians is the fact that they are not a handful or an insignificant minority. They are not a few among many. They are not the oddballs or the exceptions to the rule. Jesus said many shall say unto Me. Brethren, there are many among us who will not step on streets of gold, who will not live in heavenly mansions, who will not spend eternity in Heaven.

And if there are many among us, then we must ask ourselves, “Am I one of the many Christians who will end up in hell?” That is truly a scary thought and it ought to motivate us to do everything in our power to make sure we are not one of the many who will be barred from Heaven, but one of the few who find, and walk, the strait and narrow. Jesus said in Matthew 7:14, Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth to life; and few there be that find it.


This stands in stark contrast to the only condition that many Christians believe is the only thing you need to do to be saved and go to Heaven, and that is, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31); whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13); and  whosoever believeth on Jesus shall not perish but shall have life everlasting (John 3:16).

Of course, all these verses are true. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ will get you saved.

But God couldn’t say everything at one time or in one verse. Believing and receiving Jesus into your heart and life is just the beginning. Salvation isn’t just an act or a conversion experience. It’s a life. And it’s a life that’s lived in obedience to God’s will. These verses that we just read in Matthew 7 bear this truth out.

Here are some of the things God wants all of us to do. These are the things that will get us to Heaven. And failing or refusing to do them will imperil our soul and cause God to utter the scariest words that none of us want to hear God to say to us.

  • Do the will of God. Matthew 7:21, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
  • Abstain from sin and iniquity. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10,  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  (10)  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Walk the strait and narrow. Matthew 7:13-14, Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  (14)  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
  • Don’t believe wrong doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:1, Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
  • Live a holy life. Hebrews 12:14, Follow peace, and holiness, with all men; without which no man shall see the Lord.
  • Confess the Lord before men and not deny Him. Matthew 10:32-33, Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  (33)  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
  • Live the crucified life. Luke 14:27, And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Galatians 6:7-8,  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  (8)  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
  • Be spiritually fruitful. John 15:2, Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
  • Persevere or endure to the very end. Matthew 10:22, He that endureth to the end shall be saved.

The point is, many people limit salvation to believing on Christ. And since that’s all they need to do to be saved, then there’s nothing else they need to do to be saved. They’re saved already. They’re going to Heaven. So now they can relax, breathe a sigh of relief that they’ve escaped the fires of hell, then go back to living the heathen lifestyle that they’ve always lived.

Jesus is here correcting this mistaken notion of salvation and He’s telling us as clearly as He can that, yes, salvation and Heaven begin with believing. But it doesn’t stop there. You need to mix actions with your faith. You need to act like you believe. You need to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. You need to live your life in obedience to God and do His will.

DISOBEDIENCE IS DAMNABLE.  One act of disobedience may not necessarily be damnable. Just because you sinned once doesn’t mean you’re going to hell. Repentance and forgiveness are God’s provision to save you from hell and avert the hellish consequences of sin and disobedience.

But one continuing act of disobedience—if you spend the rest of your life disobeying God; then that life of disobedience is certainly damnable. And the only thing that will save you from hell—the only life-saving thing you can do for yourself—is give that sin up, turn away from it, then spend the rest of your life in obedience and holiness unto God.

IF YOU PERSIST IN SIN, THAT SIN WILL KILL YOU. And the fact that you consider yourself a believer, the fact that you’re a minister, or a successful Christian worker or an effective witness or evangelist; the fact that you call Jesus your Lord and consider yourself a Christian; the fact that you fully expect to go to Heaven when you die; will not save you from hell. Sin will send you to hell and the only way it won’t is if you give it up, quit doing it, and start obeying God. Sinning might be cool with the crowd you hang around with. But, believe me, you’ll be hot as hell itself when payday comes, as it surely will. YOU JUST CAN’T SPEND YOUR LIFE DISOBEYING GOD AND EXPECT HIM TO BE NICE TO YOU ON JUDGMENT DAY!

So do you want God to say to you on Judgment Day Depart from me, you worker of iniquity? These are definitely the scariest of words to hear when hell is only a judgment sentence of God away. If you don’t want to hear God send you to hell with these words, then do the smart thing and quit sinning. Spend your life serving and obeying God and you’ll definitely not hear God say these scariest words to you on Judgment Day.