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Has the Church failed to get the faith/works issue right, and thereby failed to thrive? (Part 8)

11/24/2014

Reading quickly through the Sheep and the Goats narrative in Matthew 25:31-46, a person quickly understands one important message – Christ expects us to take care of the less fortunate. We know this because this message is repeated four times in the passage. The repetition does make certain we do not miss his point. “ 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 sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matt 25:35-36).

This is so obvious in this narrative, that many readers miss many other important points. For example, just before the quoted statements above, Jesus says this, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world’” (Matt 25:34).  Did you catch the words? “Take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”

An inheritance is something passed on to members of a family, usually, but not always, when someone dies. So, that means he is talking to those who are considered family, not strangers. These are people, who at the time of Christ’s second coming have been adopted into the family of Christ when they accepted his free-to-all sacrifice in order that they might be washed forever clean of sin. (See parts 1, 2 and 3.) Remember, I mentioned when we started this series that the first step was accepting what Christ did for us, personally. It is then that we are filled with the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, and are part of the family of God, called the Church.

Back to this narrative, when Christ returns the second time, he will separate all people from all nations into one of two categories. Some will go to his right, and some to his left. Those on his right have received an adoption into God’s family and can call themselves sons and daughters of God. As true sons and daughters of God, they have moved into a new life in Christ; the evidence is there for all to see. They have helped others, and Christ explains to them that when they served others, they served him. They are welcomed to their eternal home.

Notice also that in the narrative, the King (Jesus) says, “the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” God has prepared a place of perfect beauty, peace, joy, and love for each of us. He has had that place waiting for us. He wants all people to join him there, but since we have the freedom of choice, it is we, not God, who determines if we go to live there for eternity or not.

Have you chosen? Are you a child of God? If you are not certain, feel free to call 1-800-need-him. You will speak to a wonderful individual who can answer questions to help you make a decision for yourself. There is no pressure and no fees charged.

Next we will take a look at those people to the left of Jesus.

Until then, I am praying that God will bless you and yours.

M.

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