Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Jesus: The Dividing Line

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.
Matthew 25:31-33

There will come a day when people are no longer separated along geopolitical lines, racial barriers, or income tiers; but rather by their response to Jesus. On that day every nation will be gathered before Him as He sits on His heavenly throne, and He will divide the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep being representative of those who placed their faith in Christ, the goats of those who rejected Him.

This is why your commitment to Christ must be primary. It must be your ultimate allegiance in life. It must be greater than your patriotism because Jesus won't judge you based on your national allegiance, but on your personal relationship to Him. It must be greater than your love for your family and even your own self-interest because Jesus said “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26).

Jesus must be your all in all, because He is what unites you to some and divides you from others. The Spirit of Christ unites all believers across every barrier and dividing line our evil world can create. Yet, Jesus told us that He would also bring division. He said, "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34). So, you must understand that your allegiance to Christ will draw some nearer to you and some it will send running in the opposite direction. Christ will tell you to go to this person and to leave that one alone.

Therefore, it is imperative that we all make sure we are on the right side of this dividing line. How do we do that? In this passage, Jesus bases it on how we respond to the needs of other believers. When Jesus' brothers (i.e. believers) are hungry, thirsty, lacking shelter, in need of clothing, sick, or imprisoned; how do we respond? Do we meet their needs?

Now Jesus isn't espousing a works righteousness here but is showing that love for other believers is a proof of salvation. We see this in the earliest church in Acts 2. All those who repented and placed their faith in Christ, began selling off their possessions and giving to other believers as they had need (Acts 2:44-45). The Spirit of Christ so unites believers that love for one another is a sure sign of the family of faith.

So, are you on the right side of the dividing line? Have you placed your faith in Christ? Jesus was fond of saying that you will know a tree by its fruit (Luke 6:43-45), so what are you doing to meet the needs of other believers? If aren't doing anything, then what does that say about you?

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