Matthew 25:31-46

Separating The Sheep and Goats

Dan Corner

Matthew 25:31-46 Verse By Verse

The Lord Jesus is going to return to earth again, but totally unlike the first time to be mocked, flogged and crucified for our sins. He is majestically returning and will judge the people. The focus is one's behavior towards the righteous! See also Gal. 6:8-10; Heb. 6:10,11.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 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. (Mat 25:31-33)
Among other things, the Lord and King Jesus will judge the nations (people) when he returns. The Catholic Momma Mary is not ruling or judging with the King of kings (Rev. 17:14)! Also, there are only two types of people -- one type is righteous (sheep) and the other is unrighteous (goats).

Characteristics of The Sheep

Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." (Mat 25:34-36)
At that point, the blessed ones enter the kingdom, which was prepared by God for them! 1 Cor. 2:9 shows the righteous love God, which is the same as obeying God (Jn. 14:15). Most importantly, Jesus is our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30; etc.). Those same blessed people -- the sheep -- are described here as being compassionate and generous with their material possessions towards Christians in need.
The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously. (Psa 37:21)
We know it was Christians who were the recipients because Jesus said they did those kind and generous things for him -- his brothers (v. 40). In contrast, when Saul of Tarsus was persecuting the Christians, Jesus told him he was persecuting me (Acts 9:4). Saul persecuted Christians, but Jesus said it was me.

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Matthew 25:31-46 Misinterpreted

Being compassionate and generous has been dangerously misunderstood as the way of salvation! Just being compassionate and generous will NOT save anyone from eternal fire! To be saved from unquenchable fire (Mt. 3:12), one must be following the Lord Jesus Christ. There is NO mention of the righteous in Matthew 25:31-46 having a saving faith (Lk. 8:21; Jn. 10:27; Heb. 5:9; Gal. 6:8,9) and living holy for salvation (Mt. 5:8; Heb. 12:14; etc.), but such is implied!

NOTE: Some unsaved people are compassionate and generous too! One glaring example was the rosary reciting Mother Teresa, the famous Catholic nun who was giving and generous as she also helped Hindus become better Hindus, etc.! The Roman Catholic Church has exalted such a doctrinal heretic to sainthood.

Cornelius The Centurion Supplements Matthew 25:31-46

Cornelius the centurion and all his family were devout and God-fearing. Cornelius gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly (Acts 10:2), yet he and his family were spiritually lost until they heard the gospel from Peter and believed on Jesus' name (Acts 10:43-48 cf. 11:14)!

That shows the lost can be religious, sincere and behave in a way similar to Christians at times! That also proves one must consider all scriptures on any given subject to know the vital truths of God. That is especially important to know with the subject of salvation in mind.

The Righteous Did Not Give Food and Water, Provide Shelter
and Help the Sickly and Those in Prison to Become Righteous.
They Were Already Righteous and Did Those Things.

The Righteous Answer King Jesus

Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?" (Mat 25:37-39)
The sheep were just doing what was natural, as they showed holy love towards other Christians.
The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Mat 25:40)
Now it is crystal clear that the sheep did those things for Jesus' spiritual brothers. So who are they? Jesus tells us here:
He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice." (Luke 8:21)
Without any concern for one's race, sex, age or financial status, it is only those who put God's word into practice that are Jesus' mother and spiritual brothers.

The Judgment and Characteristics of the Goats

Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me." (Mat 25:41-43)
Those words will probably ring in their ears throughout eternity! Their sin is stated as a sin of omission, which many wrongly consider as unimportant! See James 4:17. Their cold unbelieving hearts are revealed here in their non-giving indifference towards Christians in need.

The Goats Respond

They also will answer, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?" (Mat 25:44)
The unrighteous also called Jesus, Lord just like the righteous did (v. 37)! Remember this:
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Mat 7:21)
The unrighteous are further described in scripture:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1Cor. 6:9-11)
NOTE: The Lord Jesus is the only way to be forgiven and change your spiritual identity from unrighteous to righteous. See also John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:30,31; 20:21; etc.

The Final Word To The Goats

The final and decisive word from the judge of the living and dead (2 Tim. 4:1) is spoken and forever settled!
He will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Mat 25:45,46)

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Matthew 25:31-46 Summarized

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Eternal (Unforgivable) Sin and Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

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