Matthew 25:33, Doing Good: The Meaning of Christianity, Part I of II

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

//My latest book about Liberal Christianity (titled The River of Life) has opened up conversations with a couple people about whether Jesus really did want us to focus on making life better on earth. I think all Christians recognize that we are to do good, but still imagine that their focus should be on eternity, not on this life. This focus fuels the debate regarding works vs. grace, by relegating good works to a minor role.

Why do we think this? Today’s verse tells how the Son of Man will divide all humanity, separating sheep from goats. The sheep enter into life, while the goats are cast into everlasting fire.

What did the goats do wrong? Answer: Nothing at all. They did nothing wrong. They simply didn’t do any good.

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

How have we come to believe we’re expected to sit idly by, just believing and enjoying grace? More tomorrow.

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