A Solemn Word to "The Goats"
Text: Matthew 25 : 31 - 46
Jesus now turned His attention to “the goats”. Solemnly, He pronounced His judgment!
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand,
‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire
prepared for the devil and his angels:
for I was hungry and you gave Me no food;
I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;
I was a stranger and you did not take Me in,
naked and you did not clothe Me,
sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ ”
What Jesus said to the righteous, He now applied to “the cursed”. They had shown no compassion towards people in distress. Through neglect, or worse, through wickedness, the needs of the under-privileged were set aside!
THE SINS OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES
If the excoriating remarks that Jesus made concerning the scribes and the Pharisees were anything to go by, we will be able to appreciate why this judgment was made. Let us recall what Jesus said against the scribes and the Pharisees.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense
make long prayers. Therefore you will receive
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear
beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones
and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous
to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape
the condemnation of hell?”
MATTHEW 23:14, 27-28, 33
These painful remarks must have stung deeply, yet they were nothing but the truth! When Jesus judges a person, He will see beyond the facade put up by the individual! He will weigh all the facts before Him and He will judge righteously!
AN APPRECIATION OF HOW THE LORD WILL JUDGE THE WICKED
Once again, we are indebted to the apostle Paul for what he wrote in his epistle to the Romans. In his opening chapters, Paul described how God would judge both the Gentiles and the Jews.
1. The Gentiles who reject God
Let us consider the following text that Paul wrote. This would help us understand how the Lord would judge people. These solemn words need little or no explanation at all.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,
God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things
which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness,
sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness;
full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness;
they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent,
proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who
practise such things are deserving of death, not only do the same
but also approve of those who practise them.”
2. The Jews who reject God
How about the Jews? How would God judge them? Paul had different words to say to them, but the conclusion was the same. They would be found inexcusable!
“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are
who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn
yourself; for you who judge practise the same things.
But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth
against those who practise such things. And do you think this,
O man, you who judge those practising such things, and doing
the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance,
and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God
leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness
and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself
wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment
of God, who will render to each one according to his deeds.”
THE JUDGMENT OF THE GOATS
Obviously, the basis of judgment of “the goats” is much more than meets the eye! On just one score alone, how they treated others, would the goats be condemned. Other aspects of their lives would also be examined and judged, though not stated in the Gospel text! The judgment of Jesus would be according to truth and according to men’s deeds!