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Future Inheritance Promised For Faithful

Matthew 25:34 (ESV) … “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

The king’s division is clearly between those who are saved and those who are lost, as his verdicts make clear. The first group, those on his right, are told, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ (25:34).

We have only to recall the Beatitudes to realize that these blessed ones are faithful children of God, the true disciples of Christ. They are heirs of the kingdom, the kingdom prepared in God’s sovereign grace since the creation of the world. All this has to be assumed.

Jesus does not include every element of the gospel in every part of his teaching. Salvation is by grace, received in faith. That we must never doubt. What we have here is the evidence of that faith. Salvation is by faith and judgement is by works. The king looks for works as evidence of genuine faith. This much-neglected truth is to be found throughout the New Testament (cf. 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 2:16). What we have here is a further definition of what it means to be faithful.

In verse 41, we are told that the wicked ‘will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life’. This parallel statement is almost sufficient on its own to refute those who claim that the fate of the wicked is annihilation, not everlasting conscious punishment. While it is true that ‘eternal’ can refer to the quality of the age to come, the link with life in the presence of God shows that it must include the idea of ‘everlasting’, as God is everlasting. This should be sufficient to direct us first to Christ for mercy and then to examination of ourselves for confirmation that we have received forgiveness. Although the wicked were considered second, Christ ends his discourse with the destiny of the righteous. These are words of warning, but also of promise. His desire is that sinners should repent. Like the Father, he takes ‘no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live’ (Ezek. 33:11).[1]

[1] Legg, J. (2004). The King and His Kingdom: The Gospel of Matthew Simply Explained (pp. 473–474). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.

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