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Matthew 25:31–46 ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 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.’(vv31–32)

In a time of obvious nervousness about what is acceptable, where carefully thought through perspectives are subject to ‘cancel culture’, it’s perhaps essential we remind ourselves that we all ultimately go before a judge who will separate the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad (Luke 3:17). In short, ‘cancel culture’ means preventing thought leaders from prominent public platforms or careers and polarising public opinion whilst stage-managing legitimate debate.

Jesus engaged with all His critics, presented the gospel in robust terms, and clearly presented a day of judgment for the whole of humanity. Matthew describes this as the separation of the sheep and goats, which can be difficult to distinguish. I was once told that the distinction is in the ears; goats have sticky-out small ears, whilst sheep have flappers. Regardless, the takeaway message is that there’s a judgment coming, and whilst we can manage our own Christian PR so long as we still have breath, ultimately it’s God’s word that counts.

The distinction here is that faith produces works that demonstrate God’s loving heart. This is not to say that works can secure salvation. Peter described how that happens in his first sermon, ‘Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2:38). However, faith gives birth to the evidence that reveals God’s character and the mission produced through the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Ps. 78:52–55; Mal. 3:13–18; Matt. 13:18–30; 1 Cor. 4:4–21.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Judgment means to focus our minds and help us take good decisions about what we really want out of life.

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, may I live as one who sees the need and offers love in the name of Jesus. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.