Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 31: Matthew, Mark and Luke, Part I, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
MATTHEW 7:21-23; LUKE 6:46
21. Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, bu the who shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22. 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 have done many wonderful works? 23. And then will I confess to them, I never knew you depart from me, you who work iniquity.
46. And why call you me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Matthew 7:21. Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord. Christ extends his discourse farther: for he speaks not only of false prophets, who rush upon the flock to tear and devour, but of hirelings, who insinuate themselves, under fair appearances, as pastors, though they have no feeling of piety. 478 This doctrine embraces all hypocrites, whatever may be their rank or station, but at present he refers particularly to pretended teachers, 479 who seem to excel others. He not only directs his discourse to them, to rouse them from the indifference, in which they lie asleep like drunk people, but also warns believers, not to estimate such masks beyond their proper value. In a word, he declares that, so soon as the doctrine of the Gospel shall have begun to bear fruit by obtaining many disciples, there will not only be very many of the common people who falsely and hypocritically submit to it, but even in the rank of pastors there will be the same treachery, so that they will deny by their actions and life what they profess with the mouth. 480 Whoever then desires to be reckoned among the disciples, must labor to devote himself, sincerely and honestly, to the exercises of a new life.
In the Gospel of Luke, it is a general reproof: Why call you me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? But as this corruption proceeds, for the most part, from pretended teachers, and easily finds its way from them into the whole body, so, according to Matthew, our Lord expressly attacks them. To do the will of the Father not only means, to regulate their life and manners, (as philosophers talked 481 ) by the rule of virtues, but also to believe in Christ, according to that saying,
“This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life,”
These words, therefore, do not exclude faith, but presuppose it as the principle from which other good works flow.
22. Many will say to me Christ again summons hypocrites to his judgment-seat, as we showed a little ago from Luke. So long as they hold a place in his Church, they both flatter themselves and deceive others. He therefore declares, that a day is coming, when he will cleanse his barn, and separate the chaff and straw from the pure wheat. To prophesy in the name of Christ is, to discharge the office of teacher by his authority, and, as it were, under his direction. Prophecy is here, I think, taken in a large sense, as in the fourteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Corinthians. He might have simply used the word preach, but purposely employed the more honorable appellation, in order to show more clearly, that an outward profession is nothing, whatever may be its brilliancy in the eyes of men. To do wonderful works in the name of Christ is nothing else than to perform miracles by his power, authority, command, and direction: for, though the word ὁμολογήσω, powers, is sometimes confined to one class of miracles, yet in this and many other passages it denotes every kind of miracles.
23. And then will I confess to them 482 By using the word ὁμολογήσω, I will confess, 483 Christ appears to allude to the vain boasting, by which hypocrites now vaunt themselves. “They indeed have confessed me with the tongue, and imagine that they have fully discharged their duty. The confession of my name is now heard aloud from their tongue. But I too will confess on the opposite side, that their profession is deceitful and false.” And what is contained in Christ’s confession? That he never reckoned them among his own people, even at the time when they boasted that they were the pillars of the church.
Depart from me. He orders those persons to go out from his presence, who had stolen, under a false title, an unjust and temporary possession of his house. From this passage in our Lord’s discourse Paul seems to have taken what he says to Timothy,
The Lord knoweth who are his: and, let every one who calleth on the name of Christ depart from iniquity, (2Ti 2:19.)
The former clause is intended to prevent weak minds from being alarmed or discouraged by the desertion of those who had a great and distinguished reputation: 484 for he declares that they were disowned by the Lord, though by a vain show they captivated the eyes of men. He then exhorts all those who wish to be reckoned among the disciples of Christ, to withdraw early from iniquity, that Christ may not drive them from his presence, when he shall “separate the sheep from the goats,” (Mt 25:33.)
“Combien qu'au dedans ils n'ayent point d'affection de crainte de Dieu;” — “though at bottom they have no feeling of the fear of God.”
“Les docteurs feints et doubles;” — “reigned and deceitful teachers.”
“Ce qu'ils enseignent et confessent de bouche;” — “what they teach and confess with the mouth.”
“Comme les philosophes ont voulu enselgner le monde;” — “as the philosophers wished to teach the world.”
“Et lors je leur diray ouvertement;” — “and then will I openly say to them.”
“Le mot Grec dont use l'Evangeliste signifie proprement, Je leur confesseray;” — “the Greek word, which the Evangelist uses, literally signifies ‘I will confess to them.’“
“D’aucuns qui auront en grand bruit, et auront este fort estimez;”— “of any who shall have made great noise, and shall have been greatly esteemed.”