Almost everyone knows the three dearest words ever said: “I love you.” Whether from family, friends, or a special someone, they communicate acceptance, affection, affirmation, and appreciation. There is also the endearing, “You are mine” from parent to child that conveys relationship, companionship, belonging, resemblance, and a myriad of other family associations.

There are also difficult word trilogies like, “I was wrong,” “I am sorry,” and “Please forgive me.” Who hasn’t struggled saying these words even when we knew them to be true? Something about our stubborn human will makes them stick in our throats.

There are also sad, regrettable phrases—some we desperately want to avoid and one in particular that is most horrific.

“It’s too late.” Oh my. Watching a loved one drive away for what would be the last time. Hearing a judge’s response to promises to do better in the attempt to avoid a harsh sentence. Knowing a fiancée or spouse reached his or her breaking point in the relationship. Rushing to the hospital after an emergency. Standing at a gravesite wishing there was more time to say what should have been said long before but wasn’t and would now never be.

Sadly, such heart wrenching words are part of the human experience. Though we try avoiding them, disappointment, heartache, breakups, even death inevitably happen.

But there remains one final, horrific three-word phrase. It chills the blood and damns the soul. Even though it can and should be avoided at all costs, regrettably, some will still hear it.

“Depart from Me.”

As part of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, these words came after He said, “Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” [Matthew 7:14]. In His compassionate love for each person, He cautions:

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven… Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me [Matthew 7:21-23, bold text for emphasis].

Notice, He wasn’t referring to murderers, fornicators, adulterers, thieves, liars, perverts, and such. In their hatred and rejection of Christ, that crowd expects to hear His “Depart from Me.” Far more alarmingly, He was speaking to those who merely knew about His teachings or those who only thought they were His followers—those who are familiar with and appreciate His teachings, those who possibly even attend church, serve in ministry, and even perform great spiritual works but have not personally encountered Him. That’s the horrific nature of these three words. Quite often, religion deceives people from having a personal relationship with Christ.

What could be more regrettable and horrifying than to anticipate the bliss of heaven only to find yourself before His Great White Throne and hear Him say, “Depart from Me. I never knew you”? Then to face the dreadful reality of eternity in the lake of fire [Revelation 20:11-15]?

But, if you’re reading this, it’s not too late. You can still avoid hearing these three final words. If there’s never been a time when you were spiritually reborn [John 3:3, 7] by placing your trust in Jesus Christ alone, I implore you to call out to Jesus. Accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior. Ask Him to grant you His spiritual life and make your heart His home. Allow Him complete control of your life, then live each day aligned with His Word and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Here are several Bible verses to help avoid hearing those three dreadful words. Instead, you’ll hear Him say, “Well done, My child. Welcome home.”

  • God loves you [John 3:16] and wants to spend eternity with you [2 Peter 3:9].
  • Every person is a sinner [Romans 3:10, 23; Romans 5:12].
  • The penalty for sin is eternal separation from God in hell [Romans 6:23a].
  • Jesus’ death on the cross enables eternal life with Him [Romans 6:23b].
  • Jesus died for you [Romans 5:8; Isaiah 53:4-6] and is the only way to God [John 14:6].
  • You are saved only by God’s grace through faith, not by your works [Ephesians 2:8].
  • No penalty for sin remains if you accept Christ, are reborn by His Spirit, and live in obedience with His Word under the guidance of His Spirit [Romans 8:1].
  • Verbally confess and fully believe that God raised Jesus from the dead [Romans 10:9-10].
  • Pray to God, asking Him to save you [Romans 10:13] and take full control of your life.
  • Admit you are a sinner and ask God to make your heart His home.
  • Claim Christ’s sacrifice as your own and accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior.
  • By faith, accept His assurance that you are now His child [1 John 5:13].
  • Thank Him for loving you and saving you.

Dear God, I come before you now asking you to save me. I admit I am a sinner but am so grateful that Jesus died for my sins and rose again in victory. I accept you as my personal Lord and Savior. Please make my heart Your home. Take complete control of my life and help me to follow You daily by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Thank you, Lord, for saving me and for answering my prayer. Amen.

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