Over the past several months, I have been working on editing and updating the Discover Bible Guides. During this process, I've spent quite some time on the study guides dealing with the topic of the judgment. These guides focus on Daniel 7 & 9 and the details of the 2,300-day prophecy, 1844 and the judgment.
The guides explain in some detail the intricacies of the prophecy and step-by-step leads one through the information necessary to understand the meaning, while ending up focusing on the event of the judgment.
As I considered this topic, I was reminded of the words of Jesus regarding what items will be considered during the judgment. The theme I discovered was Jesus' emphasis on the motive of our lives. In other words, do the fruits of our actions demonstrate that we have made Jesus first in our lives—that we have committed ourselves 100% to Him? We know that we are saved by the gift of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; works do not save us. Romans 6:23 makes this plain enough: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
However, the sincerity of our decision will be seen in the change of our lives. Here is how Jesus describes it:
Matthew 25:34-39 says, "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"
Notice that the Christians referred to in these verses did not know they had done anything special. Their actions were uncalculated. What they did for others was simply how they lived every day. No planning meetings went before them. No reading of books on the topic of "friendship evangelism." Their actions occurred naturally through the activities of a normal day or week.
Also, notice that the actions were not done "for" Jesus, but "to" Jesus. How we treat others is actually touching the life of Jesus. That thought gives one something to think about. As I reflected on these verses and the people described, I could not but wonder if my negative behavior toward others was also being done "to" Jesus. OUCH!
Father, please make a difference through my life today, in the life of my neighbor. In Jesus' name, Amen.