“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”
Believers (those saved by grace), are always referred to as sheep in the Bible, mainly because sheep are known to be in constant need of a shepherd, for they get lost easily and always need protection, care, and guidance, but are willing to obey the Shepherd.
In contrast, the goats are known to be stubborn and go their own way. They are disobedient and don’t listen to the Shepherd.
This week, we will look at the parable of the sheep and the goats as a reminder of God’s Day of Judgement. When Christ comes in His glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on His glorious throne and separate the sheep from the goats.
The goats being those who rejected God and turned away from the opportunity to be saved. These people will all have to give an account for their lives and will be judged according to their deeds. If their name is not written in the book of life, they will be thrown into the lake of fire (the second death), where they will spend eternity.
The King (Jesus) turned to those on his right (the righteous ones) and said: ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
In this parable, the righteous ones are confused because they don’t remember feeding Jesus, giving Him a drink, inviting Him in, giving Him clothes to wear, or visiting Him when he was sick or in prison. And so they ask Him:
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:34-40)
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matt. 25:41-46)
Why Christians do not have to stand before the throne for Judgement
The righteous are excluded from the judgment of Christ because while they live and walk in the Light of God, they are being disciplined by the Lord regularly, and convicted of their sin. They acknowledged their sin and receive forgiveness in this lifetime.
“But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.”
(1 Corinthians 11:31-32)
God says there is only one judgement, so it’s important to be ready! It’s better not to take a chance. No one wants to miss the opportunity of eternal life, for those who reject God will go to eternal punishment.
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matt. 25:46)
God does not want any soul to perish, but He is a righteous judge. If people continue to live in sin, He has no choice, but to reject them for there is no darkness in Him.
He is the Light of the world and He will expose all darkness. Every evil deed or thought will be brought into judgement.
When will unbelievers be judged? After they die, but we do not know exactly when it will be.
But the death begins in this lifetime by choosing to walk in sin. To live a life of sin is to be in torment now and it only gets worse in eternity. People are ignorant – they think there are no consequences for their sins. God sees everything and says that even what is done in secret will be brought into the light.
“For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)
It is YOU who chooses your eternal destiny.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
The reason born-again believers will not have to face this judgement is that they have already been made righteous through the cross (the blood of Jesus). Jesus became sin for us. He took on that judgement on our behalf. This is why God sent Jesus, as an atonement for our sin.
We don’t deserve it, but nevertheless, He died for us so that we would be saved and have eternal life.
When true believers come to realize what a great price was paid for their life, the gratitude is so great that we want to give up everything to follow Him.
There is a judgment for believers that is different:
They will be judged for the quality of their works, rather than their deeds alone because their names have already been written in the book of life. This judgment will be for their rewards in heaven.
“If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:14-15)
How Will Unbelievers Be Judged According to The Bible?
Billy Graham one of the greatest evangelists of the 20th century, put it this way…
God will weigh them by:
- The 10 commandments – if you break one of them, it means you are guilty of them all. That’s why Jesus said, we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
- The Law of Love – how did you love others during your lifetime and did you also love God? (Matthew 22:36-40)
- By the Person, Jesus – are you like Christ? Are you holy like Him? If we are not holy like him, we fall short.
- By their works (deeds) – what did you do for others in need? Your kind words are not enough, what actions did you take? “I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat.” (Matthew 25:41-43)
- By their opportunities – to whom much is given, much is required. (Luke 12:48) Did you use your gifts and talents to give glory to God?
So, you might say now, but that’s impossible. I can’t possibly live up to that standard! I have no chance of getting into Heaven if that’s the test?
You would be right in saying that because it’s true – you can’t do it… that’s why you need a SAVIOUR. Jesus is the one who makes you holy. You can’t do it on your own. He provides a righteousness to us that we don’t have ourselves. In other words, we trade in our Sin for His Righteousness.
This is why Christians want their family and friends to know Jesus – not because they want to control them or spoil their fun! No!! If you have a Christian friend or family member who is trying to bring you into the Kingdom of God, you must know that they do it because they love you and they don’t want you to perish. This is about your soul, saving your soul.
For anyone reading this who does not know Christ, just follow for a while, ask some questions and when you’re ready, come and be a follower of Jesus Christ. Don’t take a chance on your eternal destiny!
And for you believers who want to store up more treasures in heaven, let us persevere in doing good works through the power of the Holy Spirit.