At the moment this is being written, we know a thing or two about separation. Some are feeling the anxiety of separation and the challenges of isolation. In Matthew 25, Jesus prepares us for His second coming and lets us know on that final day there will be a separation of people.
This separation is not based on class, education, race, gender or positions, but on whether or not we have faith. Active faith is the qualifier for authentic faith. Authentic faith is substantiated by action.
In the text, Jesus separates those with faith, sheep, from those without faith, goats. To the sheep called to the right, they were welcomed in to receive their inheritance. This inheritance is “the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Heaven is a place that’s been prepared for all people from before time began. Before those receiving this inheritance did a single work, it was prepared for them. We receive the gift of salvation by accepting and then following Jesus.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:17
Everyone who calls on Jesus will be saved.
- Not some or a few.
- Not those who have been preselected.
Heaven or hell is a choice people make, no one is sent there. And this is the finer meaning of what’s being communicated.
In verses 35-36, Jesus explains how those on His right did several works, and the wrong conclusion is how their works earned them an invitation to heaven. What Jesus is conveying is how works are the activity of men and women of faith.
Faith is a transforming work that causes us;
- To be givers not takers,
- To serve and not be served,
- To be active and not lazy.
We all have talents, abilities and can give of our time, talents, and resources.
The nature of faith is action. It’s not our good thoughts, intentions, or words that are honored as evidence of faith but works.
Works don’t earn you salvation; works are the evidence of a saved person. And you can’t reverse engineer salvation either.
In Matthew 7 there’s a lesson a story about two guys who attempt to do so but are denied entrance to heaven because they put works before the relationship.
Our relationship with God is why we work.
Works are the fruit of gratitude and thankfulness. As you progressively grasp the efforts God has gone to demonstrate how much He loves you and the length He goes to show it, you can’t contain the limits of what you will do to express your gratitude.
The actions listed in Matthew 25 are the very most basic human needs, apart from salvation. These are actions that don’t require a lot of talent, money, or experience but requires sacrifice.
The items listed were essentials in the time Jesus and not specifically a list for us today. It’s the principle of these acts that we need to translate into today’s opportunities.
These complicated and trying times we are facing can be an opportunity for us to put faith into action. The needs around us have never been so clear and so great, in number and opportunity.
Let’s not be distracted by the moment but as men and women of faith, seize the moment by rising up and shine. How can you let your light shine?