Separating the sheep from the goats

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Last week we talked about loving everyone and letting God do the sorting. That whole idea of sorting people is a difficult one. Sheep and goats, heaven and hell, and God creating vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor are extremely uncomfortable subjects that we would be better off not knowing about. It’s knowledge that is not of practical use to us when it comes to individuals.

Verses about how God blinds the minds of unbelievers are useful theologically to help us understand that God has an ultimate plan and He is in full control of all of it. But this information is not of use to me when talking of unbelievers I know, or when talking about how we should feel about those who do not know Christ. It’s not like we can just dismiss all these people because of what the Bible says in Romans. God may know this, BUT I DON’T! So what do I do except cry for these people or have my heart torn in two because I love them? Knowing this information doesn’t make me any less sorrowful. And if it does, I believe I have used this information improperly. I say this only because I have been guilty of thinking like… “Well, they’re blinded anyway, so what the heck? No skin off my back. God must know what He’s doing. I mean if some people are going to heaven, I guess some people have to go to hell, right?” (What’s wrong with this picture? How can anyone be so insensitive?)

John said that Jesus came to His own but His own did not receive Him. But to those who do receive Him He gives them power to become children of God (John 1:11-12). That is all well and good, especially if you are one who has received Him, but that still doesn’t change anything about “His own” who don’t receive Him. That’s got to hurt like hell no matter what God is up to. Jesus wept over Jerusalem and wanted to gather her in like a mother hen does her chicks but they would not come. How does that make Jesus feel? Like a man of sorrows.

It doesn’t matter why an unbeliever is an unbeliever, it’s a tragedy nonetheless, and no amount of explanation is going to make that bit of news go down any easier.

Practically, it really does come down to loving everyone and letting God do the sorting. That’s an oversimplification, but practically it works in that we are free to love, hope and believe for everyone. And if you have trouble with God doing the sorting, then you’ll have to take that up with Him. That is out of our hands. I just keep telling Him that if He can figure out a way to save everyone and stay true to His word, He’s not going to have any argument from me.

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7 Responses to Separating the sheep from the goats

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    A good Catch!

  2. John A Fagliano says:

    God WILL save everyone AND stay true to His word!

    Isaiah 45:22-24 New International Version (NIV)
    22 “Turn to me and be saved,
    all you ends of the earth;
    for I am God, and there is no other.
    23 By myself I have sworn,
    my mouth has uttered in all integrity
    a word that will not be revoked:
    Before me every knee will bow;
    by me every tongue will swear.
    24 They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone
    are deliverance and strength.’”

    Isaiah 46:9-10 New International Version (NIV)
    9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
    I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me.
    10 I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come.
    I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
    and I will do all that I please.’

    Romans 11:32 New International Version (NIV)
    32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

    But what about everlasting punishment? The literal translation is age-lasting.

    Matthew 18:8 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)
    8 `And if thy hand or thy foot doth cause thee to stumble, cut them off and cast from thee; it is good for thee to enter into the life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast to the fire the age-during.

    • Timothy Logan says:

      If God will save everyone then why did Christ die there is no need for the sacrifice of Jesus If as you Say in the end God will save everyone.

      • John A Fagliano says:

        God will save everyone because Christ DID die. That was the reason. He is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. That means the whole world.

    • Timothy Logan says:

      Go read in 2 peter 3 9 that God’s wish is that all would be saved read in revelations that there will be those who worship the beast and will be thrown into the lake of fire if all are going to be saved then explain that.

      • John A Fagliano says:

        Timothy, I don’t wish to keep going back and forth about this because I don’t like on line debates. I just wanted to share my faith in the salvation of all. If you don’t agree, that’s fine. But I will take the time to answer your question. The lake of fire does not last forever. The original Hebrew and Greek words that got translated, “forever”, “everlasting”, and “eternal” don’t mean the same thing as those English words. (I had mentioned this earlier) Much has been written about this. I recommend a book by J.W. Hanson:http://www.tentmaker.org/books/Aion_lim.html

  3. Beautiful, John. Like you and Mr. Fagliano, my hope is God will indeed save everyone – or has already. Blessings, from an undeserving sinner.

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