THESIS #48 of 95 - Those who show compassion to the destitute are judged as serving Christ and rewarded accordingly
Mt25:40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
Gal5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
Gal5:14 For the WHOLE LAW IS FULFILLED IN ONE WORD, in the statement, “You shall LOVE your neighbour as yourself”
Rom13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law
Rom13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbour – that is why love is the fulfilment of the Law
1Jn4:7 Let us love one another; for love is from God, and EVERYONE WHO LOVES HAS BEEN BORN OF GOD and knows God
This is another thesis relating to what I have described as “common faith” and its interrelationship with compassionate love – the above verses refer. Such “faith” is shown to be present when love (agape) is exercised, being a genuine concern and care for another person, which is the heart of God’s law (Gal5:14). Since love is the efflux of faith (Gal5:6), faith must be present for that love to flow out from it; love and faith being quite inseparable, faith being the agent of love and love being the product of faith. A person is justified within the Universal Covenant by responding positively to God’s witness to them through creed or conscience regardless of the degree of accomplishment. Providing the person demonstrates agape they are accepted by God, for He knows that agape was derived from Him, being His Own nature (1Jn4:7). This aligns with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25 concerning the sheep and goats. In serving the weakest of humanity through any act of compassion, the “sheep” are regarded as serving Christ Himself even though they have no personal knowledge of Him:
“In truth I tell you in so far as you did this (act of kindness) to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to Me”
It will appear to some that Jesus is here teaching justification by works. But Matthew25:31-45 is demonstrating justification through faith with reference to works. No mention is made of how consistently or perfectly the “sheep” showed compassion, they just demonstrated they possessed it and were justified by exercising it regardless of measure. They therefore demonstrated they possessed the quality called faith whose product is agape, being the essence of true humanity. On the other hand, faith alone if it be merely a passive belief, trust or reliance on something (or even Someone) is dead if it does not result in positive action. The “sheep” had not been passive; they showed compassion because they had responded positively to their “heart” motivating them to act in such a way out of sympathy, empathy and to be at peace with themselves. Jesus was thereby affirming that acceptance before God is not entirely a matter of grace for fruit must be produced. Yet it is entirely dependent on grace since the “sheep” are accepted by exercising the quality called faith, being an innate faculty provided through common grace. They will not have perfectly fulfilled God’s law or lived a sinless life. So, at the universal level justification is granted on the basis of such common faith, being a positive response to conscience (the light of Christ in the spirit) evinced by compassion, through the kindly favour (grace) by which pardon for sin has been granted to all producing the fruit of faith through the all-sufficient merits of Christ’s atonement.
Such divine magnanimity pertains to Who Jesus Christ is. During His earthly ministry He almost exclusively referred to Himself as the Son of Man. As Son of God, Jesus uniquely represented God to man, for He alone had been begotten of the Father. As Mary’s Son, He uniquely represents members of the human race. You or I could never represent mankind as a whole, but Jesus does. So, when we show kindness to another, especially a person in need, we are regarded by Christ as serving Himself and shall be rewarded as such. It should not be such a surprise then that whenever the apostle Paul summarises the requirements of God’s Law, such as in Gal5:14 and Rom13:8&10, religious service is never mentioned, only our dealings with our fellow man. Likewise, James describes love for neighbour as the Royal Law (Jam2:8), for when both apostles are rightly understood, they agree about everything. There is so much more that could be said on this subject, and it has been in the remaining theses. More importantly, these doctrines been synthesised with the teaching of the bible as a whole in The Little Book of Providence.
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