Matt. 7:21-23 (Part 1)

7:21ff IGNATIUS: Only request in my behalf both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but also truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. For if I be truly found a Christian, I may also be called one, and be then deemed faithful, when I shall no longer appear to the world. Nothing visible is eternal. “For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” For our God, Jesus Christ, now that He is with the Father, is all the more revealed in His glory. Christianity is not a work of silence only, but also of manifest greatness. Epistle to the Romans, 1.74.

SECOND CLEMENT: Since He has displayed so great mercy towards us, and especially in this respect, that we who are living should not offer sacrifices to gods that are dead, or pay them worship, but should attain through Him to the knowledge of the true Father, whereby we will show that we do indeed know Him by not denying Him through whom this knowledge has been attained. For He Himself declares, “Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him will I confess before My Father.”  This, then, is our reward if we shall confess Him by whom we have been saved. But in what way shall we confess Him? By doing what He says, and not transgressing His commandments, and by honoring Him not with our lips only, but with all our heart and all our mind. For he says in Isaiah, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” 

Let us, then, not only call Him Lord, for that will not save us. For He says, “Not every one that says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall be saved, but he that works righteousness.” Therefore, brethren, let us confess Him by our works, by loving one another, by not committing adultery, or speaking evil of one another, or cherishing envy; but by being continent, compassionate, and good. We ought also to sympathize with one another, and not be materialistic. By such works let us confess Him, and not by those that are of an opposite kind. And it is not fitting that we should fear men, but rather God. For this reason, if we should do such wicked things, the Lord has said, “Even though you were gathered together to me in my very bosom, yet if you were not to keep my commandments, I would cast you off, and say to you, “Depart from me; I do not know from where you are, you workers of iniquity.”  7.518.

JUSTIN MARTYR: Impelled by the desire of the eternal and pure life, we seek the abode that is with God, the Father and Creator of all, and hasten to confess our faith, persuaded and convinced as we are that they who have proved to God by their works that they followed Him, and loved to abide with Him where there is no sin to cause disturbance, can obtain these things. The First Apology, 1.165.

JUSTIN MARTYR: And that we ought to worship God alone, He thus persuaded us: The greatest commandment is, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve, with all your heart, and with all your strength, the Lord God that made you.”  And when a certain man came to Him and said, “Good Master,” He answered and said, “There is none good but God only, who made all things.”  And let those who are not found living as He taught, be understood to be no Christians, even though they profess with the lip the precepts of Christ; for not those who make profession, but those who do the works, shall be saved, according to His word: “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven. For whosoever hears Me, and does My sayings, hears Him that sent Me.  And many will say to Me, 'Lord, Lord, have we not eaten and drunk in Your name, and done wonders?' And then will I say to them, 'Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity.' Then shall there be wailing and gnashing of teeth, when the righteous shall shine as the sun, and the wicked are sent into everlasting fire.” The First Apology, 1.168.

JUSTIN MARTYR: The matters of our religion lie in works, not in words.

Hortatory Address to the Greeks, 1.288.

TATIAN: “Not all that say to me, 'My Lord, my Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of the heavens; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many shall say to me in that day, 'My Lord, my Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out devils, and in your name do many powers?' Then shall I say to them, 'I never knew you: depart from me, you servants of iniquity.'” The Diatessaron, 9.60.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: “Not every one,” therefore, “that says Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of God; but he that does the will of God.” Such is the Christian laborer, who has the mastery of worldly desires even while still in the flesh; and who, in regard to things future and still invisible, which he knows, has a sure persuasion, so that he regards them as more present than the things within reach. This able workman rejoices in what he knows, but is cramped on account of his being involved in the necessities of life; not yet deemed worthy of the active participation in what he knows. So he uses this life as if it belonged to another,—so far, that is, as is necessary. The Stromata, 2.544.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: A Christian, having grown old in the Scriptures, and maintaining apostolic and ecclesiastic orthodoxy in doctrines, lives most correctly in accordance with the Gospel, and discovers the proofs, for which he may have made search (sent forth as he is by the Lord), from the law and the prophets. For the life of the Christian, in my view, is nothing but deeds and words corresponding to the tradition of the Lord. But “all do not have knowledge. For I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren,” says the apostle, “that all were under the cloud, and partook of spiritual meat and drink;” clearly affirming that all who heard the word did not take in the magnitude of knowledge in deed and word. Therefore also he added: “But with all of them He was not well pleased.” Who is this? He who said, “Why do you call Me Lord, and do not do the will of My Father?”  That is the Savior’s teaching, which to us is spiritual food, and drink that knows no thirst, the water of Christian life. The Stromata, 2.554.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: He loves Christ Jesus who does His will and keeps His commandments.  “For not every one that says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father.” Who is the Rich Man that Shall Be Saved?, 2.599.

HIPPOLYTUS: The Savior has declared, “Not every one that says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.” And it is necessary that they who perform this will, not hear it merely, should enter into the kingdom of heaven.  The Refutation of All Heresies, 5.54.

ORIGEN: “Now, when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, beholding His signs which He did. But He, Jesus, did not trust Himself to them, because He knew all men and because He did not need that any should testify of man, for he Himself knew what was in man.”  One might ask how Jesus did not Himself believe in those of whom we are told that they believed. To this we must say it was not those who believed in Him that Jesus did not trust, but those who believed in His name; for believing in His name is a different thing from believing in Him. He who will not be judged because of his faith is exempted from the judgment, not for believing in His name, but for believing in Him; for the Lord says, “He that believes in Me is not judged,”  not, “He who believes in My name is not judged;” the latter believes, and hence he is not worthy to be condemned already, but he is inferior to the other who believes in Him. Hence it is that Jesus does not trust Himself to him who believes in His name.

We must, therefore, cleave to Him rather than to His name, in case after we

have done wonders in His name, we should hear these words addressed to us which He will speak to those who boast of His name alone. With the Apostle Paul let us seek joyfully to say, “I can do all things in Christ Jesus strengthening me.”  We have also to notice that in a former passage the Evangelist calls the Passover that of the Jews, while here he does not say that Jesus was at the Passover of the Jews, but at the Passover at Jerusalem; and in the former case when the Passover is called that of the Jews, it is not said to be a feast; but here Jesus is recorded to have been at the feast; when at Jerusalem He was at the Passover during the feast, and many believed, even though only in His name. We ought to notice certainly that “many” are said to believe, not in Him, but in His name.  Now, those who believe in Him are those who walk in the straight and narrow way, which leads to life, and which is found by few.  Commentary on the Gospel of John, 9.407-408.

CYPRIAN: Again, there is no ground for anyone, for the circumvention of Christian truth, opposing to us the name of Christ, and saying, “All who are baptized everywhere, and in any manner, in the name of Jesus Christ, have obtained the grace of baptism,”—when Christ Himself speaks, and says, “Not everyone that says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” And again, He forewarns and instructs, that no one should be easily deceived by false prophets and false Christs in His name. “Many,” He says, “shall come in my name, saying, 'I am Christ,' and shall deceive many.” And afterwards He added: “But take heed; behold, I have foretold you all things.”  From which it appears that all things are not at once to be received and assumed which are boasted of in the name of Christ, but only those things which are done in the truth of Christ. The Epistles of Cyprian, 5.383.

7:22ff EDITOR'S NOTE: In this verse, there is a textual variant which contains an addition taken from the parallel passage in Luke 13:26: “We have eaten and drunk in your presence.” Among the early witnesses of this variant reading are JUSTIN MARTYR and ORIGEN. But the addition is not found within CYPRIAN or in another work of ORIGEN.

JUSTIN MARTYR: For He alone taught openly those mighty counsels which the Father designed both for all those who have been and shall be well-pleasing to Him, and also for those who have rebelled against His will, whether men or angels, when He said: “They shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness.”  And, “Many shall say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not eaten, and drunk, and prophesied, and cast out demons in Your name?' And I will say to them, 'Depart from Me.’” Again, in other words, by which He shall condemn those who are unworthy of salvation, He said, “Depart into outer darkness, which the Father has prepared for Satan and his angels.”  Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew, 1.236.

TERTULLIAN: He declared that many would come and “show great signs and wonders,”  so as to turn aside the very elect, and yet for all that were not to be received, He showed how rash was belief in signs and wonders, which were so very easy of accomplishment by even false christs. Against Marcion, 3.322.

© OTR 2023