As strange as it may sound, it is a fact that some highly religious people have NEVER been saved. The proof is in the words I never knew you as found in Mt. 7:23. Jesus taught:
Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
The context from verses 21 and 22 shows those never saved religious people:
- confessed Jesus as Lord
- prophesied in Jesus’ name
- drove out demons in Jesus’ name
- performed miracles
That is much more than many church goers of our day, but those religious evildoers of Mt. 7:21-23 were never saved! NOTE: Jesus never knew those people in the way of them being a partaker of eternal life. Another vital detail about the same people is, they were evildoers. The Greek tense is continuous tense evildoers, though they were also religious and confessed Jesus as Lord. Apparently, they were never set free from their sin addictions.
Not Related To The OSAS Controversy
While the I never knew you type of person does exist, that is only one type of unsaved person! That is important to note. Why? Because such people as referred to in Mt. 7:21-23 are not directly related to the once saved always saved controversy at all, even though the teachers of it try to make them related. To be related, we must examine people who were once known by the Lord and later died spiritually, like the 5 foolish virgins mentioned in Mt. 25:1-13. NOTE: Jesus did NOT say to the foolish virgins, I never knew you, but instead, I don’t know you (Mt. 25:12)! Why? Because he did know them at an earlier point when they had salvation and their lamps were burning. In fact, just like with the 5 foolish virgins, the phrase, I don’t know you is also found two other times (Lk. 13:25; 13:27), yet is basically unknown in our apostate day.
The once saved always saved teachers have selectively misapplied Mt. 7:23 for self-protection. Their never saved argument is mentioned when trying to avoid being identified as license for immorality teachers. Their never saved explanation from Mt. 7:23 for certain people who profess salvation and later turn to gross wickedness is not all inclusive, but only selectively used! They never use it with King David who turned to adultery and murder, or with Solomon whose heart became idolatrous!
There are various types of people mentioned in the Bible. Some do get saved (and are known by Jesus) but afterwards die spiritually because they turned to wickedness, as the Prodigal son did (Luke 15:24). Others shipwrecked their faith (1 Tim. 1:19), fell from grace (Gal. 5:1-4), etc. If a Christian doesn’t continue in God’s kindness he will be cut off.
There are various spiritual tragedies. They are all through the Bible and consequently there are vital things which the saints must do for themselves for spiritual protection and to stay saved under grace.