Has anyone ever used Matt 25 and Matt 7 about Jesus separating sheep and goats to condemn you into doing more things for God? Have they used it to make you question your salvation? If they have, please read this article.
Mat 25:31-33 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
Ok so sheep go to the right, goats to the left. Seems pretty easy, right? Then why is there so much confusion about this? Let me make it as simple as I possibly can. Below are two pictures. One is of a goat, one is of a sheep. Can you see which is which and separate them? Put your finger on the sheep. Easy, right?
Mat 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
But ok, in Matthew 25 the sheep did all those good things and the goats didn’t do them, so that is not so hard to understand. But in Matthew 7 above, both the sheep and goats did all the good things, but there was still a separation. How does that work? Again, to make it as clear as possible I have put two pictures below. One picture is of a sheep. This sheep prophesied in Jesus’ Name, cast out devils, healed the sick and did many other wonders. The other picture is of a goat. This goat also prophesied, delivered, healed and performed wonders. They both did the same things. Can you still separate the sheep from the goat? Put your finger on the sheep. Easy, right?
Why? Because you can clearly see which is the sheep and which is the goat. They are naturally different, or they have different natures. The separation of sheep and goats, believer and unbeliever does not happen based on works and deeds, it happens based on nature. You can easily see the sheep is a sheep and the goat is a goat because they have two very distinct natures. But what if the sheep acts like a goat? Doesn’t matter, it is still a sheep (Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more). What if the goat acts like a sheep? Also doesn’t matter (You are saved by grace and not works).
The same thing is explained by Jesus using trees. All trees bear fruit. Good trees bear good fruit, bad trees bear bad fruit. You would think a bad tree wouldn’t be able to bear fruit, but apparently it does bear fruit. Imagine the best unsaved philanthropist you now. They build orphanages, they fund children’s hospitals, they feed the hungry and give to the poor. They do all these very good awesome things but they are still unsaved. They are still bad trees. Even our best efforts are as filthy rags. If you are bad by nature, your fruit is bad. If you are a goat by nature, it doesn’t matter how much you act like a sheep, you are still a goat. If the goat or bad tree places their faith in Christ, they receive a new nature. The goat dies with Christ and is reborn as a sheep. Likewise the bad tree dies and is reborn as a good tree.
Another thing to note in Matthew 7 is where the sheep’s identity was secured and where the goat’s identity was secured. The sheep’s identity was in knowing the Shepherd. The goats only knew they acted like sheep. One had their identity in Christ, the other had their identity in their works. The free gift of Righteousness vs. Self-righteousness. The moment they were separated the goats immediately pointed to their works as the basis for their relationship with the Shepherd. You can do all the good you want but it is worth nothing if you don’t have Christ. Sadly, there are many well-meaning goats out there, some in our very own churches who think they are saved sheep but who still live bound to the old nature and oppressed by the law of works.
But why then does Matthew 7:21 say those who DO the will of the Father are sheep and why is Matthew 25′s separation based on doing things? Firstly, what is God’s will? What are the works you are to do to be in His will?
Jhn 6:28-29 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
What do you have to do to work the works of God? Believe in Jesus. If you do that, you are in God’s perfect will. If you act on this faith, you are outworking His will. If you are a sheep, you will naturally act like a sheep. The sheep in Matthew 25 didn’t even know they were doing good, they just did what came naturally. The goats in Matthew 25 didn’t do any good things. But in the end it doesn’t matter if you are a goat doing nothing or a goat doing everything right, what matters is your nature. If you are not a sheep you are not a sheep. Easy, isn’t it? For more on this also read 2 Cor 6:14-17.
Grace to you all!