Re: Re. Separating Sheep from Goats!

Jeffrey Gibson (
Thu, 23 Jan 1997 15:19:59 -0600 (CST)

In the light of Paul's remarks, this might be a place to open a
discussion of the meaning of PISTIS as it applies to the believer. Paul
claims that faith moves one from one sphere to another. True enough, but
the question that Matt 25 raises - at least in my eyes - is what
constitutes faith. The parable/exposition seems to indicate that it is
not so much "believing in" as "faithfulness to (a pattern of behaviour)".
And is it in any way significant that the parable/exposition occurs where
it does in Matthew's Gospel, namely, within the "eschatological" discourse
which IMHO in volves a reflection upon the types of attitudes among
believers and non believers which culminated in the outbreak of the
Jewish war/the destruction of the Temple/(for Matthew) God's judgement
upon Jewish nationalism and exclusivism?

Jeffrey Gibson

On Thu, 23 Jan 1997, Paul F. Evans wrote:

> Carl,
> Given what follows in Mat 25:33-34 I am convinced that this separation of
> sheep and goats must refer to indivduals, and your comments have helped.
> However, the question of what basis the judgment takes place is difficult
> and complex. I am "feel" (not a safe hermeneuetic term) that Jesus often
> uses specific descriptions of what is implied by faith, and therefore,
> salvation. For example the lawyer who asked him about eternal life. The
> issue is eternal life, salvation. When Jesus turned the tables and asked
> him about his own opinion, the lawyer recited the crux of the law "To love
> the Lord you God...." (Luke 12;25-26). The whole of the Sermon on the
> Mount smacks of this kind of specific exposition of what is involved in
> righteousness. Christ even said that he had come to fulfill the law, that
> is establish its righteousness, but it is clear that he had something very
> different in mind to the religious observance of the Pharisees. He is
> addressing the community of faith and saying that faith in God will produce
> righteousness that is like this and this, and so on. What if the passage
> under discussion is actually not a parable but exposition, it would be
> typical of Christ to cite the characteristic marks of the believing
> community by underscoring specifics (10:35-45) while underscoring unbelief
> by highlighting those characteristics. Faith in Christ seems to effect an
> "instantaneous" transfer from the condition of being lost to being found
> and is always at the heart of Christ's teaching, shown particularly well in
> His encounters with people whom others would consider beyond hope. Since
> his comment includes that the Kingdom has been prepared for these from the
> foundation of the world, it is hard to conceive that this refers to those
> who have treated the believing community with compassion, when elsewhere it
> is the believing community for whom the kingdom has been prepared.
> This is dangerously off from the lists guidlines! Just let me say this,
> the AP' ALLHLWN tends to confirm that it is individuals not groups
> separated in the context.
> Paul F. Evans
> Pastor
> Thunder Swamp Pentecostal Holiness Church
> MT. Olive NC
> "Endeavouring to make use of NT Greek in a real life ministry!"