FRIDAY, APRIL 28
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 25
The last part of this chapter and the last part of this section that we call The Olivet Discourse is a difficult section at best. It is difficult to comprehend all that Jesus is teaching here. And it is difficult to come to grips with what we can comprehend. But this is worth tackling.
The judgment that begins in verse 31 appears to happen at the Second Coming of Jesus. As a result, we know it is not a judgment of Christians. All Christ followers are “judged” at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:10) We also know it is not the final judgment or Great White Throne Judgment because that occurs at the end of Millennial Kingdom. (Revelation 20:11-15). No one that stands at that judgment will inherit the Kingdom.
So what judgment is Jesus talking about? It is a judgment that appears to occur at the Jesus’ Second Coming. It is a judgment of sheep and of goats. It is a judgment that will end with some inheriting the Kingdom and others inheriting eternal fire. In verse 32, it is a judgment of the nations.
I want you to focus on that last statement for just a moment. The concept of nations here does not refer to geo-political boundaries the way we think about nations. This “nations” that Jesus speaks of is literally a reference to Gentiles or all other peoples except for the Jews. Verse 32 also indicates that this will not be a national or large group judgment. It will be an individual judgment. By the way, all of God’s judgments are individual. We will be held accountable for ourselves not for a group.
Since this judgment occurs at Jesus’ Second Coming, it may very well be that Gentiles who were able to live through the Great Tribulation are the ones being judged here. From that perspective it appears that there will be some Gentiles (Sheep) who will serve others in admirable ways during this difficult time. Verse 40 may actually indicate that much of that service will be done to help Jewish people. The other group (Goats) will not have done any of that for anyone else.
We have to be careful here. Jesus is not teaching that entrance into heaven is based upon our works. To teach that would be to teach against the clear Scriptural truth that faith is the means for any and all of us to be saved.
Instead these works are born out of who these folks were. In other words, because they did these things Jesus didn’t call them sheep. Or because they didn’t do these things, Jesus didn’t call them goats. It is instead, because they were sheep they did these things and because they were goats, they did these things.
At the end of the day, then this judgment is just like all the others. God’s final judgments are based upon our identity not our efforts. Now our efforts are important and are necessarily proof of our identity. But the main thing is who we are. Who we really are at the core of who we are.
Thankfully, when Jesus saves us, He changes us at the core of who we are. When we are saved, our identity is changed. When we are saved, we become new creatures. Our entrance to heaven, then is not based upon what we did or did not do on earth. Our entrance to heaven is based upon our new identity in Jesus. Woo Hoo!