Friday, May 08, 2009

Saturday Scripture Speaks - May 9

31When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all of his angels, he will sit on his royal throne.

32The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats.

33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34Then the king will say to those on his right, "My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created.

35When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me,

36and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me."

37Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink?

38When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear

39or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"

40The king will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me."

41Then the king will say to those on his left, "Get away from me! You are under God's curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels!

42I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink.

43I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me."

44Then the people will ask, "Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail?"

45The king will say to them, "Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me."

46Then Jesus said, "Those people will be punished forever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life."

Matthew 25:31-46 (Contemporary English Version)

This scripture has held meaning for me in recent weeks. In most Christian circles we talk almost exclusively of faith and the importance of it. We also stress that is "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God..." (Ephesians 2:8)

I don't think any Bible believing Christian is going to argue against the importance of "faith." I do, however, think that we downplay the importance of "works" a little too much.

The above portion of Scripture speaks of the time when Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats. Who are the sheep? Those who exercise "works" by tending to the needs of others.

Who are the goats? Those who neglect to do "works" by ignoring the needs of those around them.

Genuine believers exercise their faith by loving and caring for others, no matter how unlovely those others are. If they are not combining "works" with their "faith," they are probably not true believers.

This is something to consider prayerfully and with much introspection. Do you share your faith with others by "working out your salvation with fear and trembling?" (Philippians 2:12) If not, you might want to examine how deep your faith really is and then do something about seeking God while you still can and then throwing yourself at His feet for mercy and grace. He gives it willingly to those want to receive it.

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