Matthew 7:22 says this: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’”
Here’s what Bibleref has to say about this verse:
The prior statement, part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1–2), boldly indicated that not everyone who refers to Jesus as “Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Rather, it is those who do the will of God the Father who will be saved (Matthew 7:21). Those words are often misapplied and misunderstood. Mostly, this happens when someone assumes Jesus is requiring that good works are a condition for salvation. Not only would such an interpretation conflict with the rest of Scripture (Titus 3:5; Romans 11:6), it ignores what Jesus goes on to say here. In this verse, He specifically says that it’s possible to fool yourself into thinking your actions are in service to God, when in reality, they’re not.
Christ says that “on that day” some judged to be non-believers will protest. “That day,” when used in the New Testament in the context of future events, often refers to the “day of the Lord” when Christ will return to establish His kingdom on earth. In broad strokes, this is a reference to the point where a person is judged by God.
The complaint of some people, Jesus says, will be that they performed all kinds of impressive deeds—doesn’t that prove they deserve heaven? As Christ goes on to state in the next verse, it does not (Matthew 7:23). It is possible to declare one’s allegiance to Christ, to serve others supposedly in His name, and to do so without legitimately trusting in Christ for salvation. Jesus indicated that the first and foremost “work” demanded by God is belief in His Son (John 6:28–29).
This statement comes after Jesus declared that good actions, themselves, are not righteous unless motivated by sincerity and truth (Matthew 6:1, 5, 16). It also follows His warning that false believers can be identified—to others—by their spiritual fruit (Matthew 7:15–20). The only means to assess the spirituality of others is what they say and do (1 Samuel 16:7). We can, and should, do this (1 John 4:1; John 7:24), but always with a recognition of our own fallible nature (Matthew 7:1–5). Our own hearts, however, we can judge according to motives—and we should do so (2 Corinthians 13:5).
“good actions, themselves, are not righteous unless motivated by sincerity and truth“‘ Once again we’re confronted with the motives of the heart. Christ is looking beyond our “actions” and looking at our hearts. Looking at the motives behind our actions. Looking at why we’re doing what we’re doing. It’s all about Him and acting as He would act. Letting our actions be a reflection of Him.
Oh that our actions would be just that. A reflection of the God that we perform those actions for…..