…He says sheepishly!
In Matthew 25 there are a couple of parables (Ten Virgins & Parable of the Talents) – but following those two sections is a section that is taught often but not discussed beyond the surface implications of feeding the poor (of which I am a huge advocate). I want to ask – what does this tell us about the Final Judgment? (Matt. 25.31-46)
Evangelicals insist we are not saved by works – James says you can’t have faith without works (James 2.18) – we could argue those nuances…Abraham saved by faith – then entered covenant; Israel rescued (Saved) from Egypt – then entered covenant! Though the prevalent mindset throughout the church has often been an avoidance of good works in order to demonstrate in some twisted way that we are not saved by those works! BUT I digress…
I believe the Text proposes the concept that our interaction with others is based in whether or not we sin…consider; those who did not clothe the naked had sinned –> Why? What was their sin?
I want to assert that sin is the taking of the role of judge from the one True Judge – we, when we ate from the Tree of Knowledge, gained (maybe even stole) the role of Judge of Creation from G_d (Hence the Text declaring that we’d become more like Him)…He has spent the rest of history preparing to return as The Judge. We can see that return in this section of the Text.
The sin therefore in this section is that of poor judging – we didn’t perceive that we even needed to help – our judgment was off. It is the same as our ‘first’ sin – we judged that being naked was bad! We had always been naked – G_d even judged it to be very good.
Therefore – I would like to set before you the notion that the role of sin in humanity is that of an unjust judge (us) ruling over the creation of a Just Judge and G_d desperately wants us to return that role to Him!
9 thoughts on “>Matthew 25: “No Goat Left Behind!”…”
>Great thought Don!I think Walter Bruggeman has alot to say similar to where you're going (all sin, in essence, is a variation on the theme of making someone or something -ourselves included, a replacement for GOD).Perhaps I'll write more later, but for now, consider this: one of the NT names for satan/the enemy is "Accuser of the Brethren".Peace & Blessings!-will stuart
>….still pondering this'n before I set my fingers to the keys."Recalculating".
>Hey Fish – we're still waiting! Honestly, I am really looking forward to your thoughts on this!
>OK. I'm unconvinced that works is a requirement for being saved. Scripture, prayer, my own walk, faith as described in scripture (as far as I currently can interpret) & even reason (an often overlooked component in Evangelical talks) all sway me to believe that works are the result of being saved, not the catalyst. I believe that being "saved" is by faith & the sacrifice of Jesus & that nurturing that gift is both laborious & wonderful (much like a good marriage or any other relationship) & inspires works by:1. Desire- I cant get closer to God without craving to do more good2. Mandatory instruction- We are instructed by scripture to do specific good things. I believe that this is what we are BUILT for when combined with the possession of the Holy Spirit (much like a car built with no engine is a shelter, but when the engine is added it is BUILT for transportation)3. Reciprocation- I cant recognize the grace that I inherit from God everyday in my life without the inertia of wanting to spread the blessings to others. When I allow myself to see the unearned good I get I'm always pushed to stop measuring who deserves what because earnings become nonsense, only “good” is the currency of God, so I must spend it on others)In establishing (for me) these 3 I find that works are the results AND the cause but NOT the requirement. That was saved for Christ alone. I totally agree with your assessment of many twistedly NOT doing works to show their faith. There are times that I like to think that even God says “Duh”. You made me laugh with that. Too true.However, I find faith & works to be like heat & light from the sun. They're separate. We get light all year ‘round (I still wear sunglasses in the winter), but heat evades us despite the light in those months. We know though that heat & sunlight are parallel in the summer. It would be easy during this time to assume them as co-dependent. It’s the same with faith & works. Faith is always. Works is subject to various factors that compliment the consistency of faith.This is often where we get frustrated. We want to calibrate the works to guaranteed results. God don’t play that. He may be prouder of one followers charity while to another he may simply say “I expected that of you” for equal deeds (much like my folks used to hang my C+’s on the fridge while my studious sister could get straight A’s & hang below mine unremarkably). We want the rules to the game. He knows we wouldn’t understand the rules (his ways) & that we'd try to manipulate them to our benefit if we DID know them (as we've proven to be our reaction to more-knowledge every time).*More in next post b’cause I’m too verbose*….
>…*and now back to our featured presentation*…I believe that forgiveness & Gods love are unanimous. He's so love that forgiveness is his only capable reaction to us when we are repentant. We view this as weakness in human relationships (co-dependence or returning to bad relationships cyclically) but those relationships are harm-able. We can't harm God. He has nothing to lose. He is He, even if we are painful. He's the constant. We're the variables. We view this skewed so resentment, doubt or defiance is our reaction. We're like a kid sitting in the car waiting for a train that asks “are we moving?” The parents must explain that “No”, it's an illusion caused by our senses failing us. The train's moving, but its scale is so big it FEELs like we're moving. To us, God FEELS like he's moving, like he's something to figure out. The reality is that WE are something to figure out. He just is. Our perspective is too small. In this way, we continue to try to affect him & it distracts us from allowing HIM to affect US. We rationalize that since he is persuadable he must be un-constant. We lack to see that he is persuadable out of love & conscious choice (through prayer, deeds, needs, etc). He is not dilute-able though. He is always completely him. Ever since the “apple”, we have been of the desire to equalize this. This make it a relationship of give & take. To “co-manage”. So, I agree & disagree. I think youre right; we usurp the role of judge. I see it as bigger & wider though. I think we seek to insert our very nature into his perfection (a PART of our nature is think our judgment matters). This is never acceptable. Our best nature is only capable of ruining his perfect nature. The fruit wasn’t just representative of our divide/ fall/ quarantine, but it was the beginning. The first ill. The initial soul cancer to be spread to every birthed body to come after Adam & Eve. Our way is to seek to usurp everything about HIS way. We are flawed souls engulfed in unflawed love. Reconciliation is necessary. One drop of urine ruins the whole lemonade, y’know?
>Great thoughts Mike!I believe I mistakenly detoured the discussion from 'Sin as judging in G_d's place' to salvation questions…that being said:I would tell you that I never did actually say what I thought about the faith/works discussion – just that the conversation is not so simple since Jesus seems to imply in Matthew 25 that it is works that determines a persons destination – this is a repeated idea by Jesus in Revelation as well.I wrestle with the notion that we are 'saved' by faith (See example in post about Abram and Israel) then enter into a covenant with G_d that tells us how (now that we're in the kingdom) to behave. Jesus then throughout the gospels and Revelation says we'll be judged by that behavior and those actions (he is speaking to believers when he says these things) – To summarize the Text seems to imply (specifically when considering Jesus' words) that we are 'saved' by faith then judged by our 'works'…These two things seem difficult to reconcile in light of most evangelical doctrines. FASCINATING!Though this discussion is good (and fun) I really am interested at getting more into the 'bigger & wider' that you mentioned of the notion of us in the role of judge…that being said please feel free to respond with more of the 'salvation' thoughts here for our personal edification.
>Nah, man. I think I'm good to move on. I much-dig all your saying. The similarities are that we both "struggle" & "wrestle" with the placement of faith & works but both seem to agree that for some reason when someone believes in the necessity of one of them to be saved they tend to minimize the importance of the other as if it's now irrelevant. We both seem to have a pet peeve about this : )If my summary is right then the agreements far over-ride any split of thought and hinder the "sin talk" very little. Any discrepency is something for ongoing sharing for a looong time since it's endlessly debate-able anyways.If I'm wrong, I'm sure we'll have to revisit it to keep me on the same page as you, but not right now. I'm more interested in where you're going than where I could detour us. Bigger 'n wider it is….
>Thanks for posting, Don and Fish. I enjoyed reading. Don't have anything to add at this time. –Heather McLane
>I love the idea of JUDGMENT being sin…since so many of us are wrapped up in trying to identify sin. Perhaps we'd all be better off if we tried to avoid THAT sin first.