People whose faith is just a veneer do not know from any inner enlightenment whether what they are teaching is true or false, and as long as average people believe them, they do not care. In fact, they are not moved in the least by truth for its own sake. As a result, if they cannot obtain status or profit they abandon their faith (or at least if they can do so without putting their reputation in jeopardy), because the veneer of faith does not dwell inside us. Rather, it stands outside, in our memory alone, so we can call on it when we are teaching. This means that this faith and its truths vanish after death because the only elements of faith that remain then are the ones that have a place inside us—that is, the elements of faith that have taken root in doing what is good, and that have therefore been made part of our life.
The following passage in Matthew is about people whose faith is just a veneer:
Many will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord, haven’t we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and done many worthwhile things in your name?” But then I will declare to them, “I do not recognize you, workers of iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22–23)
Then it says in Luke:
Then you will begin to say, “We have eaten with you and drunk, and you have taught in our streets.” But he will say, “I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Go away from me, all you workers of iniquity.” (Luke 13:26–27)
They are also described as the five foolish young women in Matthew who did not have oil for their lamps:
Finally those young women arrived, saying, “Lord, lord, open up for us.” But he will say in response, “I tell you in truth, I do not recognize you.” (Matthew 25:11–12)
[In the Word,] oil in lamps symbolizes the good that love does in faith.
from Regeneration, Pages 19-20