July 30 I Thursday
“All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” —Matthew 25:32
The last of these parables is pictured parabolically but is not strictly a parable. It is about Jesus, the King, coming with His angels and gathering the nations of the world before Him. He divides them into two groups, the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. He then says to the sheep, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
Jesus then tells them, “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was ill and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me” (Matthew 25:35-36). When the sheep express their surprise, saying they never did any of these things for Jesus, He responds, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me” (Matthew 25:40).
The goats are told, “Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). The king reprimands them for their lack of concern for their fellow beings. They also express confusion, and say, “But Lord, if we had known it was You who was hungry or thirsty or sick, we would have helped You!” Of course they would have! Such is the nature of pseudo spirituality—performing good deeds for the right people to look like good Christians but lacking love for Christ and faith in Him.
There is a day of judgment coming, but it will not be an exam on the finer details of theology. Our judgment will be based on our works and particularly our works towards people. Our good works are not the cause of salvation, but the effect. Salvation depends entirely on faith in Christ, and good works are the inevitable consequence of a life changed by Christ.
The reality is that the depth of our repentance will be seen in our attitude towards Jesus Christ, which is expressed in our attitude towards others. A social conscience is not something added to the Christian life because it just happens to be the evangelical trend, but it is a fundamental expression of the life of Jesus Christ. On the basis of right belief in Him, Christ came into our lives so that there might be a pattern of behaviour produced in us that pleases Him. Belief is only a means to an end; the end product is our conduct.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the life changer who works in me and through me to do works of compassion and kindness. May I fare well on Judgment Day, having lived a life pleasing to You. Thank You, Lord.