Dr. John MacArthur's Heresy On Matthew 7:21-22

By David J. Stewart | April 2015

Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

       I have a copy of “The MacArthur Study Bible” in front of me (the revised and updated edition). The front cover jacket boasts of having sold over 500,000 copies. Let me say that Pastor MacArthur does make some brilliant theological statements, and I have learned some things from him. He's certainly a suave speaker and likable personality. I like the way he speaks with authority. Unfortunately, MacArthur strays away from the Holy Bible in numerous passages. I'd like to discuss his commentary now on Matthew 7:21-23.

On page 1405, MacArthur comments concerning Matthew 7:21 . . .

Not everyone who says...but he who does. The barrenness of this sort of faith demonstrates its real character (cf.v.20)—The faith that says but does not do is really unbelief. Jesus was not suggesting that works are meritorious for salvation, but that true faith will not fail to produce the fruit of good works. This is precisely the point of James 1:22-25;2:26.”

Dr. MacArthur totally misses this Biblical truth. He is saying that the Lord was displeased with these religious workers because they weren't doing GOOD WORKS. This is not what the Bible is teaching. MacArthur conveniently doesn't include the rest of the Scripture. Matthew 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” The Bible plainly tells us why the Lord rejected these religious workers on judgment day, i.e., because they had failed to DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER. Jesus never indicted them for failing to do “good works” to validate their faith (as MacArthur errantly alleges). What is the will of the Father? The Bible plainly tells us in John 6:40, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” God the Father's will is for every person to BELIEVE ON THE SON OF GOD.

The reason why these people weren't saved is because “they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” They had failed to do the will of the Father, which is to believe on His only begotten Son (John 6:40).

The Worldwide Trend to Follow Christ Without Being Born Again

It is heresy when MacArthur says these unsaved religious workers failed to back-up their faith with good works. They were doing miraculous good works, casting out devils, and prophesying... all in Jesus' name. But they were going about to establish their own righteousness. Their whole problem was that they were trusting in their own self-righteous works instead of completely resting in Christ. By the way, Ray Comfort, Paul Washer and Billy Graham misinterpret this passage of Scripture the same way as well. We are hearing millions of people today profess faith in Christ, but they are not really saved. They have decided to follow Jesus, like Judas did. You don't get saved by following Christ.

There is a worldwide trend today to become a Christ-follower, but there is no teaching or mention of the need for the new birth, that is, to be born from above by the Spirit of God. You can follow Jesus to the gates of Heaven, and then be cast straight into the fires of Hell. Luke 13:23-34, “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” The fact that these many people will seek to enter into Heaven reveals their sincerity. The people in Matthew 7:21-23 were very sincere, but the Lord calls them “workers of iniquity.”

“Who is John MacArthur? He is the one man in America doing more than anybody to destroy soul-winning churches!” —Dr. Jack Hyles (a needful quote from the MP3 sermon, "I Sojourn In Mesech")

All Christians Still Commit Deliberate Sin

Ray Comfort, in his “The Evidence Bible” says it is because they still had deliberate lusts and told lying fibs, rendering their faith void. This is the Lordship Salvation garbage which has infected our churches today. Anyone who goes into sin is said to have never been saved. Oh shut up!!! The Apostle Peter was walking around butt naked (John 21:7), until Jesus showed up and then he panicked, jumping into the Sea of Tiberius in shame! If I showed up butt naked at your church next Sunday with a fishing pole, you'd think I was unsaved. Jesus is the cure for nudity! The only difference between the naked maniac of Gadarenes in Mark 5:1-5 and the naked Apostle Peter in John 21:7 was that Peter had a fishing pole. My point is that even Christians still sometimes commit horrible sins, even crimes, and shame the name of Christ. Peter took his clothes off when Jesus was gone.

A WORD ON PUBLIC NAKEDNESS: Most people don't take Jesus with them on vacation and the clothes come off. There is nothing in this world as sinful and wicked then for a women to remove her clothing and walk around at the beach with her body exposed. It is evil. It is filthy sin. Yet, millions of American women strip naked, wearing a little piece of string at the beach, calloused from shame simply because everyone else is doing it. What if Jesus came walking upon the sea, and you saw Him in all His humility and majestic glory, whose countenance is shining as the sun? You'd run for the nearest shrub bush, wrap a beach umbrella around you, pick up the nearest garbage pail to hide behind in utter shame. Adam and Eve were ashamed because they were naked. Their innocence was gone because of sin. Public nakedness is shameful.

Those who walk around naked in their colored underwear are in serious trouble with the Lord, who will one day bring every work into judgment, whether it be good or bad, and that certainly includes the manner in which you dress in public (Ecclesiastes 12:!4; Proverbs 7:10; 1st Timothy 2:9). Any whore can sell her virtue by taking her clothes off in public. Sadly, many mothers pride themselves in watching her slutty teenage daughter walk around naked, causing men to lust. They enjoy such wickedness! Romans 1:32 speaks of this evil, about people who not only do wickedly, but also enjoy watching others do wickedly. That's all television has ever been since the beginning! It's hard to believe that in 1946 only 6,000 American households had a television. By 1952 that number had soared to 22,000,000 TV sets!!! Woe unto those who make light of public nudity!

To the same degree that Americans no longer have faith in God, to that same degree our clothes are coming off!

Matthew 7:23 calls them “workers of iniquity.” That doesn't mean that they weren't saved because they still had deliberate sins in their life; but rather, they were pulling on the same rope as the Devil. They were labouring in vain, not striving lawfully, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. They were in fact, following Christ but had never been born-again.

The truth is that these religious workers were going about to impress God in their own human efforts. They definitely had works, but they didn't have faith. Partial faith in Christ plus human effort is no faith at all. There are no degrees of faith in salvation. You either believe or you don't. Pastor Chip Ingram teaches the heresy that a person's faith is not valid until they have enough faith to compel them to change their life. That is wrong! Changing one's life has nothing to do with salvation. Eternal life is a free gift from God (Romans 5:15,18;6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9). The modern Bible versions have been corrupted by Satan, which now teach that repentance means to change one's life to be saved. That is the heresy of Lordship Salvation, which is why God called the unsaved religious people in Matthew 7:21-23, “WORKERS OF INIQUITY.”

God's Holy Spirit changes a person's life, Who indwells every believer at the time of salvation. The fruit of the Spirit is the changed life. In the error of Lordship Salvation, the sinner is required to transform their own life as a prerequisite to being saved. This is justification by works. This is a false plan of salvation. This is what John MacArthur teaches. In sharp contrast, the Bible teaches that you simply believe the Gospel and are saved, and then the indwelling Holy Spirit transforms a person over time, as they grow in the grace of God in the milk of the Word (1st Peter 2:2). There is a growing in grace process involved to becoming a mature Christian.

It is ironic to me that the very group in today's churches who are saying “Lord, Lord” are those who espouse the heretical doctrine of Lordship Salvation. Whereas the Bible teaches that an adult must become as a child to enter into the Kingdom of God, John MacArthur says a child must become as an adult. It is simple to be saved, not hard. The Bible teaches easy-believism. Those who would make salvation difficult by placing the burden of sin upon the sinner's shoulders are doing great injustice to the cause of Jesus Christ.

Pastor John MacArthur is a powerful influence amongst America's churches, especially since Moody Bible Institute and their ministries promote him extensively. Unfortunately, MacArthur denies that Christ's liquid blood is on the Mercy Seat in Heaven. That is blasphemes! MacArthur also teaches a Calvinistic false plan of salvation which requires holy living to be saved. END

“Nobody can love God who doesn't love sinners!”
(a quote by Dr. Jack Hyles classic MP3 sermon, “The Happiest Man
(happiest is the man who will not impute sin to others!)


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