The sum of the Truth of the Gospel
Date: 10/1/2021 2:23:01 PM ( 59 d ) ... viewed 124 times
WHAT MATTHEW 25:35-40
REALLY MEANS :
Written by Calvin Fox
Saturday, 13 December 2014
Again and again, I hear [in sermons and read in books and articles, eg the one about Pope Francis in the Dec 2 issue of Christianity Today] that the Gospel calls us to feed all the hungry, clothe all the naked, and visit all the sick and oppressed. In fact, doing that is living the Gospel
Those who do such acts of charity, we are told, whether they know it or not, are doing it for Christ because He lives in the poor and downtrodden- in all of them. The primary, go-to text in Scripture used to teach all this is Matthew 25:35-40
This passage is also used to teach that doing such charity is the way to enter Heaven and failure to serve the Poor results in going to Hell.
This passage does not teach any of this. The Gospel is not about social activism. Living the Gospel is not about doing works of mercy and charity. Salvation is not the reward for doing works of charity. Christ does not live in all the poor (because they are poor).
There is absolutely no support for that in Scripture. Mother Theresa was wrong on this point. Salvation is by grace alone through faith in the work of Christ alone. And the Spirit of Christ dwells (only) in the hearts of people, rich and poor, who are trusting Him as their Lord and Savior and thus have been "Born Again".
What does Matthew 25: 35-40 really mean? Here is a big clue from the life of the Apostle Paul-
1 Cor 4:9 For I [Paul] think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to mortals. 10 We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ.
We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, 12 and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day.
Matt 25:35-40 is a command to care for the physical needs of the Apostles and for all other Believers who suffer hardship for the sake of Christ, eg Heb.10:32-34. These are the Brethern Jesus was talking about in Matt 25. Consider Mark 9:41 "For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward."
Of course, we should help our neighbors and others in physical need as we are able and have opportunities because they are human beings like we are. Matthew 25:35-40 mandates Christians to help other Christians, particularly those Brothers and Sisters of Christ who are in need and require support to carry on their ministry.
A good example is a help the Philippian and Corinthian churches gave to Paul (Phil 4:14-19, 2 Cor.11:7-9) That is what Matt 25 is about. It is not a mandate for social activism, let alone the basis for the Social Gospel,
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