And suddenly, it’s Thursday! I like these weeks with only four work days! Sure, the work on those four days is sometimes more intense, but it’s Thursday!! That means tomorrow is Friday! I like that.
I was all “orange” when I left work yesterday. I don’t like that. I think I let my frustration get the better of me. I won’t go into what happened, that’s not really relevant. It’s just another one of those times when I need to let grace win the day, and I failed to do that. So I have work to do.
Matthew 25:31-46 contains the famous “sheep and goats” parable. This is a very intense depiction of the final judgment. There is really no doubt that that is the scenario.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
For anyone who believe that Christians will not go through the “final judgment,” I believe that we have proof here that we will. We will all have to give an account for our lives at this time. “The regenerate, who as servants of Christ have learned to love righteousness and desire the glory of heaven, will be acknowledged, and on the basis of Christ’s merit on their behalf they will be awarded the righteousness they seek.” (Reformation Study Bible) For us, who currently live on the earth, there is a great test of our status here. If we claim to believe in Jesus, do we line up with his teaching here? For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. (vv. 35-36) In other words, do we show compassion and mercy in our lives?
It is easy to come out of this parable with a “works” theology. We must be careful that we don’t do that. Nevertheless, the truth is given at the end of this passage. There is an eternal punishment. It does exist. No matter how much we might want to spirit it away, it does exist. And, as Matthew 24-25 have shown us, we need to be ready, because we don’t know when all of this is going to occur.
Isaiah 45 is a great example of God’s sovereignty and purpose. In this chapter, he speaks to Cyrus, who was used by God, even though he did not “know” God.
4 For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me.
5 I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me,
6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.
Note the purpose of God, “that people may know…that there is none besides me.”
We would do well not to resist the Lord’s work, or to strive against him, for he is our creator, and his plan will be fulfilled.
9 “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?
10 Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?'”
At the end of the chapter, he says something similar to Paul’s hymn from Philippians 2.
22 “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’
24 “Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him.
25 In the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.”
As it has been said in a popular television show, “Resistance is futile.” Every knee will bow, at some point, whether voluntarily or not. How sweet it will be for those of us who have served him in this life. How horrible it will be for those who did not.
Proverbs 11:17-21 contrasts goodness, kindness, and righteousness, with cruelty, wickedness, and evil. The good, kind, or righteous person benefits himself, gets a sure reward, receives life, is the Lord’s delight, and will be delivered. The cruel, wicked, or evil person hurts himself, earns deceptive wages, receives death, is an abomination to the Lord, and will not go unpunished. There are some practical benefits to righteousness.
Father, I thank you that you have chosen me to be one of yours. I pray that my life will exemplify the qualities listed above; goodness, kindness, and righteousness. I pray that I would show the compassion, mercy, and grace called for in the parable of the sheep and the goats. In other words, I pray that my life would display characteristics that show that I am one of your children.
I acknowledge your sovereignty in this world, Lord. You have the ability to use those who do not know you for your purposes. Let us not strive against you when you have a purpose for us. I pray that I will always be open to following your plan, not resisting it.
I pray for this day, Father, that it would be a good day for all of us. I pray for a good day at school for Stephanie.
I also pray for relief from the areas in Texas that are being ravaged by fire. The worst ones appear to be down by Austin. Lord, please send rain to assist the firefighters. I remember a few years ago when you send snow on California. Your power is unlimited, Father. We pray desperately for these situations. Please bring relief.
i believe our friend Kathy has her rescheduled follow up for her mammogram today. I pray that they find nothing wrong. I also pray that Amy will hear something back from her job interview she had yesterday. Something good, that is…
Sheep and goats. Where do we fit? What do our actions display?
Grace and peace, friends.