The effect of genuine faith
Faith in Christ brings forth a change in our personality and disposition and brings with it a sense of responsibility towards the downtrodden in society.
How do we know if we have got the sense of the message of Christ? It directly relates to how we treat people. Jesus revealed this in the account recorded at Matthew 25:31-46
Matthew 25:31-46. But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angel with him, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory, 32 and all the nations will be brought before him; and he will separate them from each other as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and will set the sheep on his right, but the goats on his left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right ‘Come here, blessed of my Father, inherit the empire that has been prepared for you since the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave me a meal, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was a stranger and you lodged me, 36 naked and you clad me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the right-doers will answer him ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and lodge you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ 40 And the King will answer them ‘I tell you verily, insofar as you did it to one of the littlest of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will also say to those on his left ‘Go from me, accursed men, to the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you did not give me a meal, I was thirsty and you did not give me a drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not lodge me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 Then they too will answer ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and not attend to your needs?’ 45 Then he will answer them ‘I tell you verily, insofar as you did not do it to one of the littlest of these, to me also you did not do it.’ 46 And these will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
A quick reading of these words devoid of their context and without knowledge of the author might cause a person to conclude that works are what Jesus is looking for. However salvation is never a result of works. Salvation is a free gift from God for those who exercise faith.
How We Treat The Less Fortunate Tells Us Whether We Have Genuine Faith
Jesus is stating clearly that he is observing how we treat others. He especially notices how we treat those in need. When we are moved by our faith in Christ to help others Jesus takes it personally.
The works mentioned are THE RESULT or the OUTCOME of our faith.
When we help the needy because we want to imitate the Christ, who never turned away the lowly and poor, then we demonstrate the love of the Christ to be genuinely at work in us.
When our faith in Christ moves us to help the lowly we get the sense of Jesus pattern of life. We, as it were, substitute for Christ in his absence, and then his response is clear. Christ says to us… “for I was hungry and you gave me a meal, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was a stranger and you lodged me, 36 naked and you clad me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to me.” ‘‘I tell you verily, insofar as you did it to one of the littlest of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
We are ambassadors substituting for Christ. We must do what he would do. Otherwise how are we footstep followers of Christ?
Yes it is as if we are ambassadors substituting for Christ. We are his representatives. It is essential that we extend love to others around us.
Let us though never fall into the trap of substituting the idea of works being the key to salvation. It isn’t works that are the key. Our works simply demonstrate the extent to which we understand the message of Christ and have faith in his message. They help both us and Christ to understand what is happening in our heart.
Never fall into the trap of thinking that we can earn salvation
Why not do a brief assessment of what you have done recently to assist others? Is there a family member who needs a call? Is there someone in your circle who needs help? Can you put yourself out to assist them? Could you assist the work that we are doing here to spread the truth?
Importantly try to get the sense of the Christian message.
Christ wasn’t like the Pharisees who put heavy burdens and expectations on the Jewish people. He was a refreshing and kindly individual. Can we be the same? Yes we can.