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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: November 11, 2022

Matthew 25:31-46

Nobody’s mind is going to change on the Day of Judgment. No man is going to feel differently about Christ and His salvation at the moment of His return than he did the moment right before His return. We see this when Jesus describes the judgment of the sheep and the goats in our text from Matthew today.

Jesus declares to the sheep, to believers, to Christians, that they have good works, but the sheep are confused. They don’t remember doing the things Jesus praises them for doing. And they don’t remember because, when you believe that Christ has saved you by grace alone through faith alone, you don’t keep a record of your works. You don’t keep your receipts in the event that you need to make the case to Christ that you’re worthy of eternal life on the last day. The sheep know that they’re worthy because of His righteousness, not because of their own.

But the goats, the unbelievers, have kept a record. When Jesus tells them that they have no good works, He’s telling them that, because of their unbelief, none of their works was pleasing in God’s eyes. But the goats won’t listen. Instead, they effectively tell Jesus that He’s wrong. “We’re righteous and holy. We gave you everything we needed to win eternal life. We have the receipts. Get out your stupid Book of Life and look at it again.”

The sheep wanted the merits of Christ. They wanted His forgiveness and salvation. That’s what they got from Jesus. The goats didn’t want Jesus. They wanted to be judged according to their works. That’s what they got, even though they didn’t like the judgment. In the end, nobody changed His view of Christ on the day of Christ’s return. And that’s what Jesus wants us to recognize here in this parable of the sheep and the goats: How you view Him now is how you’ll view Him on that day.

So view Him rightly. Repent. Turn from your sins. Recognize that there is nothing you can do to make yourself worthy of eternal life. In and of yourself, you have not fed the hungry or clothed the naked. You have no works to pry open the doors of salvation. But rejoice because Jesus has pried those doors open for you with His nail pierced hands. Rejoice because the Lord who clothed you with His righteousness and fed you with His mercy has now claimed you as His own. He has declared you worthy of eternal life. He has made you what you needed to be in order to live with Him in His kingdom forever. Rejoice in Christ today and you will rejoice with Him throughout eternity.

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