Many people at the judgment will say to the Lord, “I’ve been a good person.”
Many have never been guilty of what they consider to be serious positive transgressions of God’s commands. They think they should be admitted to heaven solely on the basis of their conduct. In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees considered themselves good people.
In Matthew 25, the end-of-time pictures Jesus paints were not about people who had been bad, as such. All of the pictures are about people who could have prepared for eternity, but did not. They knew what they needed to do, but decided to leave those things undone.
The five foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) should have known their lamps would likely go out, but instead of preparing for that eventuality, they ignored it until it was too late.
The one-talent man’s problem was that he was unwilling to work (Matthew 25:14-30). He had been given an amount of money that represented an opportunity which he hid in the ground. He was called wicked, not because he was a bad person, but because he was afraid and didn’t want to work.
When Jesus judges the world in righteousness, some will be condemned because they knew there was work to be done, but they just didn’t want to do it (Matthew 25:31-46). These people were not bad; they just failed to do the things Jesus wanted.
Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty and you gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked and you clothed me not: sick and in prison and you visited me not,” (Matthew 25:42-43).
Friends, there is more to being faithful than just avoiding those sins we think will condemn us. Remember what James wrote, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
How many will be turned away from heaven who just are unwilling to prepare?
John serves with the Grand Blanc, Mich., church. You can hear his insights here.