Matthew 7:21-23 shows us a group of people that are being given the worst eternal news anyone can receive. Messiah doesn’t know them, and they are told to depart from Him (He will not serve as their defense attorney in judgment, so they will be left to justify themselves before the Father—something the Father abhors).
These folks are christians. They went forward in a “church.” They “gave their hearts to jesus.” They prayed a sinner’s prayer. They “accepted Christ into their hearts.” They turned from their sins. They became christians. They “made a decision for the Lord.” They “dedicated their life to Christ.” They got baptized in water. They joined a “church.” They read their bibles. They gave of their resources to others and to their “church.” They were very kind and moral people.
They did very wonderful things in their communities. They preached christianity to others. They went witnessing in neighborhoods and at the mall, passing out christian tracts to all who would accept them, and even placing tracts in places where others would find them after they were not around.
These folks even went through what they thought were the steps necessary to cast out demons. And, you know who obliged their false beliefs in that? Satan. Thinking they actually had that power over his demons just further deceived the christians.
What did they lack? Why doesn’t Yahoshua the Messiah know them? Why are they told to depart from Him? It’s because their belief was never completed by the Holy Spirit. Their belief only took them to a point of declaring themselves to be children of the Most High, even though they were never actually told they were. According to Romans 8:9, they did not belong to Messiah.
They were in the outer courtyard, but never made it into the Holy of Holies—because they were taught that the outer courtyard was all that was necessary. They were taught that their human declaration of faith was actually salvation. That is the tragic danger of christianity, and that’s precisely how Satan uses it to deceive people, and keep them from the truth. They think they already have the truth—that there’s nothing else they need (they are like the Laodiceans, who “have need for nothing”).
They had human belief, but they weren’t GIVEN saving belief. Satan and his demons believe—they are not given saving belief. And, sadly, those people thought that saying they “gave their hearts to jesus” meant they had eternal life. Yahoshua the Messiah says to them, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”
For more information: What Is Saving Belief?