What Determines Whether Someone is a Sheep or a Goat?

Jesus’ parable of the Sheep and the Goats has always haunted me.  Read Matthew 25:31-46 if you don’t know it.

What determines whether someone is a sheep or a goat?  Like every other judgment scene of the New Testament it is made on the basis of deeds.  Does this deny “salvation by grace?”

When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, the only thing that will really matter is our relationship to Jesus Christ–have we trusted (placed our faith) in him?  The answer to that question is not in our talk, but in our walk.  How we live our lives is the surest way to tell what we believe.  Our good deeds don’t save us.  But they clearly demonstrate our primary commitments.

Jesus highlights six deeds that are typical of his followers.  These aren’t all the things they do but they are characteristic of the kinds of things they do.  They aptly summarize the basic needs of humanity: food, clothing, shelter, and acceptance.  Those six behaviors require large amounts of personal time and money, the two most precious commodities for most of us.


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