The Great Judgment (…or The Least Of These)
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ Matthew 25:41-45
“As I have said, throughout the whole body of his parables, Jesus spends a great deal of time denying that goodness or badness has anything to do with salvation. The gift of grace, as he portrays it, is a gift of acceptance already granted – a gift that it takes only a response of trust to enjoy. The prodigal is not portrayed as cleaning up his life, only as accepting his father’s acceptance. The eleventh-hour laborers are not shown as having earned their pay by twelvefold exertions, only as having trusted the vineyard owner. And the publican is not sent home justified because he said he would lead a better life, only because he had the faith to confess his death and to trust in a God who could raise the dead.
Accordingly, as far as this parable is concerned, I am not about to come to it prepared to hear Jesus say that he wasted his time establishing faith rather than goodness as the means of appropriating the gift of salvation.
Jesus came to raise the dead, not to reform the reformable, and certainly not to specify the degree of nonreform that will nullify the sovereign grace of resurrection. He came to proclaim a kingdom that works only in the last, the lost, the least, and the little, not to set up a height-weight chart for the occupants pants of the heavenly.” Robert Capon