“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “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.’ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Many Christians like to quote the part here about separating the sheep and the goats. They take this separation to mean the believers and the non-believers. This is yet another example of Christians who take a few sentences out of a store and twist it to accommodate their version of faith. If you read the entire store it is clear that Jesus is also talking about those who care for the “least of these” and those who don’t. Those who think of their faith as more or less fire insurance should be shaken by these words. It is not enough that you make some proclamation of faith and then go back to the way you were before. As James so directly put it, your faith must be backed up by action or you have no faith at all! Jesus made it clear just what a big part of that action is. Yes, faith in Jesus as your savior will be a critical factor on judgment day but it will not be the only factor. Many will have proclaimed “Lord, Lord” at some point in their lives but will not enter into heaven on that final day. That is what this story is all about.