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Has the Church failed to get the faith/works issue right, and thereby failed to thrive? (Part 9)

11/26/2014

In our previous post, part 8 of our series, we read about the second return of Christ. This occurs in the end times and will be a time when all the nations and people stand before him. He will separate them, putting some on his right and some on his left. In that post, we learned a bit about those who were on his right. Today, I’d like us to look at the group on Christ’s left.

“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.  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  I 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.’”     Matt 25:41-43 NIV

Was it they did something wrong? No. What was it, then, that caused Jesus to say, “Depart from me, you who are cursed”?   It was what they did not do, rather than what they did wrong. Their sin was that of omission. They did not help the less fortunate.

They seem to be surprised, obviously thinking they had helped people.

So, what is the difference between the group on the right and the group on the left? The group on the right did what they did from a changed heart position. Think back to the Parable of the 10 Virgins, and the Parable of the Talents. In accepting Jesus into their lives as Savior and Lord, they had been given the gift of the Holy Spirit within them to teach and guide, to strengthen and embolden, and to increase their love, compassion, patience, self-control, faithfulness, gentleness, truthfulness and to give them special gifts to help them serve God. It is from this fountain flowing outward that people were served.

Those on the left had never given their lives over to Christ. Oh, they believed in Jesus as the Son of God, but never gave their lives over to him. They never accepted God’s gift of the blood of Christ to wash away their sins. Most of them probably thought they were Christians and living good lives, but they had no Holy Spirit in them. Without a saving relationship, a new birth in Christ, they did not have the fountain of love and life, the heart of Christ, through which they served.

Therefore most of their works were done out of a sense of “this is what I am supposed to do,” not out of the pure joy of helping. Many may have worked on service project just because it was what their group was doing.

Missing in each act was the love of Christ. Missing in each bit of work was the heart of Christ. It was empty service done by empty souls in expectation that it was proof of their goodness.

How it breaks my heart to think of those standing on the left of Christ. They will be standing there never expecting what is about to happen. And then, just like the five bridesmaids at the door of the wedding feast, Jesus essentially is saying, “I never knew you.”

Don’t let that be you! Stop today and acknowledge your need of the true Savior, Jesus Christ. Admit you are NOT sinless, and therefore do have sins that will need to be washed away by the loving sacrifice of Jesus for you.

Do it today. Then be prepared to receive amazing grace, just like the famous song, Amazing Grace, so beautifully expresses. Life today will be better, and eternity in the heavenly home prepared for you will be waiting.

I look forward to meeting you there.

M.

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