Journal Matt 25 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “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, and he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. [Why?] For I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry (and feed you), thirsty (and give you drink)? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matt 25:31-40
Observation: It is difficult not to notice in Matt 25 the three sections of performance objectives given by the Holy Spirit. What, then, of those of us who have failed?
Application: I read all three sections this morning. And my heart sank with each one.
I am glad my heart sank; I would hate it if I read these and not one ending statement did not move me. In fact, I am resisting smoothing over my “feelings” by remembering the Grace of God too soon. I need the remorse of failure so repentance can have its work:
- For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret… (2 Cor 7:10a)
- …God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth…(2 Tim 2:25b)
- The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness but is patient toward you—not wishing that any should perish but that all should reach repentance. (2 Pet 3:9)
- …Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing [or understanding/acknowledging] that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? (Ro 2:4)
Persevering to the End: that is what this Chapter says to me. It is not about the following:
- 5 virgins who waited too long for the Bridegroom.
- 1 guy who was frozen with unrighteous fear before the Master.
- Or, who composes the group identified as the Goats who are doomed?
It is about:
- 5 virgins who keep themselves ready for That Day.
- The 1 guy investing for the Master.
- Being a sheep who hears his Master’s voice.
Is it about recounting my failures, things I should have done better? It sure is, and why? So that I can lay it at the foot of the Cross, remembering that Jesus paid the price for my Redemption, and because of that, I can press into the high calling of being transformed into the image of Christ (Ro 8:29):
- Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, [to be clear,] I do not consider I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:12-14)
Prayer: Lord God, I ponder on the possibility that acknowledgement of sin and/or general failure to align with your instructions, confession and repentance that has teeth, is a skill for disciples to develop—if not a spiritual gift to use.
Nevertheless, help me, allow me to develop and excel in this. For your glory…
Ricky Two Shoes