Reflection: Evangelical Christians rightly reject any suggestion that salvation can be earned by good works. Yet the New Testament makes it plain that Jesus’ judgment will be “according to works” (apart from today’s passage, see Matt. 25:31-45, Rom. 2:6, Hebrews 12:14; see also Prov. 24:12, Jer. 32:19). There are two aspects to this idea. One we have dealt with in previous days – good works are the necessary corroborating evidence of real faith (and persistence in sin is damning evidence of the lack of it). But there is another aspect as well. Even people
who are spared condemnation at the Final Judgment because of their saving faith in Christ will still be subjected, in some mysterious way, to a system of reward and punishment. Those who do not leave behind a worthwhile earthly legacy will “suffer loss” (1 Cor. 3:10-15). Most of us, perhaps, will receive a combination of rewards and punishments. Privileged twenty-first century Australian Christians should remember that Jesus will consider our individual capacities and opportunities (Luke 12:48, 13:30).
Questions: What is your attitude toward the prospect of judgment by Jesus according to works? How do your works to date – in particular, your efforts at evangelism – stack up?
Prayer: Father, I realise that Jesus will reward and punish me appropriately for all my works, good and bad. Help me to take all my opportunities to do good works, especially works whose fruits will last in your eternal kingdom. Amen