"I Never Knew You" Matthew 7:23?


How could Jesus say I never knew you to the people he casts away when He says this? It seems that He did personally know them at a point in time when they casts out demons in His name (wouldn’t they have to be a true Christian to do this? Isn’t there somewhere in scripture where people who are not Christians try and cast out demons and it doesn’t work?). So my question is how can we hold to the Catholic doctrine that we can be justified, lose our justification by committing a mortal sin, and then obtain justification again through reconciliation? Jesus didn’t say I knew you once, twice, or three times; He said I never knew you. So how as Catholics do we reconcile this with our doctrine? How can we claim that we can be justified more than once? Please stick to this passage of scripture and go in depth within the context without jumping to another passage of scripture that has nothing to do with this.


If you read the whole chapter Jesus is talking about.

Same chapter, verse 15 'Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves.

Faith and works not just Faith.


As mentioned above, we need to look at the matter in context.
"Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me,Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’
What is needed to be recognized by Jesus? It is to “Do the will of my Father who is in heaven”. So one must ask what is that will? Jesus tells us very plainly that it is to Love God and to Love neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:36-40). For this reason He leaves with but one command - To Love one another as He loves us (John 13:34-35).
These who claim to act in His name never mention “love” in their defense - not once. They lay claim to great deeds, but Look at what the Holy Spirit tells us through St Paul in 1 Cor 13…
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
If I prophesy - If I understand mysteries - If I have great faith so as to show great signs…but have not love…
Then Paul goes on to describe what IS God’s will…in Love…
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 7*Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
These are the things lacking in the ones Jesus refers to in Mt 7:23.
This is further emphasized in Mt 25:31-46. Look at what separates the saved from the damned. It is Love…not prophecy or “healing” or other things done “in Jesus name”.

Love is key in all things. It is the one thing that Jesus tells us we need to be perfect in…
Mt 5:
43"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Hope this helps you.



Hello Ima.

I’m glad you brought this up. I don’t want to discuss justification if I can avoid it but I can say something that may cast some light on the passage. I also need to say that I’m no expert on anything except doughnuts and coffee and my words are in no way anything close to an “official” rendering of Church teaching, but for me the passage is a very strong message about the consequences of sins. It is possible to so mar one’s image of God in one’s self by repeated mortal sins, that the image of God in the soul is no longer recognizable by Jesus and Hell is the result. It is as if He never knew you. To me, that is what He means when He says “depart from me you evil doers, I never knew you!”



I see this one as simply put God is faithful to his word. If someone just wants to see miracles and pursues it on that path alone. When he or she comes to the point that they believe in the name of Jesus enough to have ‘faith’ then God is faithful to his word and the holy spirit will do the miracles because it was asked in Jesus name with faith. I think this is possible purely because God is faithfull.

If that person never pursued that personal relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit then they would’n’t have that and they don’t know Jesus. It made sence to me when I thought of it but it looks funny now I’ve typed it. What do you think?


P.S. Ima.

It also to me is a strong warning to those who do respond to a vocational calling to Ministry whether as a Priest or a Religious for they will do mighty deeds in the Name of the Lord for Him in His Church and among His people that is who He means when He lists the things they do and how they invoke Him in His Name, calling Lord, Lord, etc. and if they do so, they may grow complacent, sluggish and presumptuous and fall into mortal sins thinking God will forgive them because of who they used to be when they were maintaining their state of grace by living rightly, etc. No one is guaranteed a place in Heaven by accepting a vocation to the Priesthood or Religious life and some do actually try to find a shortcut to Heaven via a vocation. There are stories of those who once were something special at the beginning of their Religious life of in the Priesthood, who later in life completely fell and ended life rather tragically outside of the Church. Think Martin Luther or Origen.



When a person says at the judgment, “I cast out demons in your name”, he is saying:
“My Justification to be in Heaven is my work that I cast out demons in your name”.
In other words, he is not saying “I have no justification of my own; when did I see you thirsty and give you drink?”

The person Jesus never knew is a person who has defined for himself how to get to heaven, rather than hearing and answering and following Jesus and doing whatever his Lord commanded. Jesus comes and casts out demons when his name is invoked (he knows his own name when he hears it spoken), but the person speaking it never stops and gets to know the person whose name he is invoking, but uses that name as a tool to justify himself in his self-justification.

We are justified in being the People of God in that we believed him when we heard him call and came to him, where he then baptizes us and teaches us who he is and sends us to do his works in the world. We, entering heaven, will not say “I deserve to be here”, but will say, “I don’t know that I did anything… The only things I ever really did were things you asked to be done, nothing that I came up with on my own that would get me into heaven”.


Because the Lord is omniscient, he knows everyone. However, because they turned away from their righteousness, for purposes of salvation the Lord did not remember them.
But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity and does the same abominable things that the wicked man does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds which he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, he shall die. (Ezechiel 18:24)


Spot on! You sir have God given wisdom :thumbsup:


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