Friday, May 23, 2008

Matthew, Chapter 25 part 2

Today we will conclude chapter 25 with the sheep and goats judgment. This is a section of Scripture that has long been confusing to many people. It is a section that almost makes it sounds like our salvation based on our works rather than by grace through faith. In truth, it outlines what our response to our salvation should be. It is still based on believe that Christ died for our sins, but instead we are to respond with service and obedience out of the joy in our hearts. To simplify, once we accept Christ our hearts are changed so that we want to do these things.

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

 40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' – Matthew 25:37-40

I think there are obvious and less than obvious ways of doing this. For example: if you give $12 million to a mission or an orphanage that is a pretty obvious way of taking care of other people. What makes me know that our salvation is not based on works, however, is that these grandiose gestures are not requires. Jesus did not establish a hierarchy of actions here. These great gestures carry the same weight as simply visiting a sick friend in the hospital or quietly listening as someone describes their problems. These types of things, done out of love, are exactly what Jesus is referring to here.

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

 44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

 45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' – Matthew 25:41-45

I must admit that this is difficult for me to explain. To me, it is as if Christ is explaining the selfish nature of turning away from Him. If you do not accept the free gift of salvation given through His death on the cross, then it means you selfishly love yourself and your sin too much. In that case, Jesus views it as impossible to perform these acts with a pure heart. If you're performing these acts in order to gain salvation you are missing the point. Performing those acts in that regard is also done out a selfish nature because you're trying to earn something that cannot be earned. To me, it establishes Jesus' point even more clearly that the only way to the Father is through Him.


  1. Why are works important?
  2. Why would works be forgotten without knowing Christ?
  3. Are works then required once we accept salvation?

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