MAY 22 – HOPE IN ETHICS: UTTERLY UNREALISTIC AND NAIVE

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

MATTHEW 25:34

The hope being voiced by many that the nations will “accept the ethics of Jesus, disarm and live like brothers,” is utterly unrealistic and naive.

In the first place, the teachings of Jesus were never intended for the nations of the world. Our Lord sent His followers into all the world to make and baptize disciples. These disciples were to be taught to observe the commandments of Christ.

They would thus become a minority group, a peculiar people, in the world but not of it, sometimes tolerated but more often despised and persecuted. And history demonstrates that this is exactly what happened wherever groups of people took the gospel seriously.

To expect of once-born nations conduct possible only to the regenerated, purified, Spirit-led followers of Christ is to confuse the truth of Christianity and hope for the impossible. In the Scriptures, the nations of the earth are symbolized by the lion, the bear and the leopard.

Christians, in sharp contrast, are likened to peaceful sheep in the midst of wolves, who manage to stay alive only by keeping close to the Shepherd. If the sheep will not act like the bear why should we expect the bear to act like the sheep?

It might be well for us Christians to listen less to the news commentators and more to the voice of the Spirit![1]


Jesus here reveals unequivocally that the Son of Man who sits on the glorious throne (v. 31) is also the Son of God, the divine King. After his subjects are separated, 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.” Those will be the believers who have survived the holocaust of the Tribulation, and they will be ushered alive into the millennial kingdom, which has been prepared for them from the foundation of the world.

Doubtlessly anticipating the salvation-by-works interpretations that would be made of verses 35–45, the Lord made clear that believers will not inherit the kingdom based on good deeds they will have or will not have performed on earth. Their inheritance was determined countless ages ago, even from the foundation of the world. Those who enter the kingdom will not do so on the basis of the service they have performed for Christ but on the basis of their being blessed by the Father because of their trust in His Son. They will in no way earn a place in the kingdom. A child does not earn an inheritance but receives it on the basis of his being in the family. In exactly the same way, a believer does not earn his way into the kingdom of God but receives it as his rightful inheritance as a child of God and a fellow heir with Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:16–17).

Prepared for you accentuates the selectivity of salvation. From before the time the world was created, God sovereignly chose those who will belong to Him. And “whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). The source of salvation is the Father’s blessing, the reception of salvation is through faith, and the selectivity of salvation is in the advance preparation of the Father made in ages past. Stressing the same truth, Peter declared, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:3–5).[2]


  1. Then the king shall say to those at his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the founding of the world.… Since the Son of man is clothed with “all authority” (11:27; 28:18; cf. Eph. 1:22), he is called “the King” (cf. John 18:36; Rev. 19:16). To be at the King’s right means to hear from his lips, “Come.” They are welcomed to close, loving, and abiding fellowship with their Savior, the Judge and King. No greater blessing can be imagined (Ps. 17:15; 73:23–25). They are those who have been and, as the tense of the original implies, are abidingly the blessed of—or: those blessed by—the Father, who bestowed upon them salvation, that is, who delivered them from the greatest evil, sin and all its consequences, and placed them in possession of the greatest good, right standing before him and all it implies.

They hear the joyful words, “inherit the kingdom.” For “kingdom” see on 4:23, 13:43. Since this is the judgment day, the kingdom in its final phase is meant here. These blessed ones, who were already heirs by right now also become heirs in fact, and this in the full sense of the term. All the promises of salvation full and free are now about to be fulfilled in them everlastingly and ever progressively; all this in and through Christ (Rom. 8:17). For the implications of the term “inherit” see on 5:5.

It is surely wonderful and comforting to observe that before the good deeds of these “sheep” are mentioned (verses 35, 36) emphasis is first of all placed on the fact that the basis of their salvation, hence also of these good deeds, is their having been chosen from eternity: the kingdom had been prepared for them, and this not just recently, but “from the founding (or: foundation) of the world.” Whether this phrase (from, etc.) is used or before, etc. (Eph. 1:4), the result is the same: “from eternity.” The good pleasure of God Triune, his sovereign grace, is the foundation of their salvation. Their good works are the fruit, not the root, of grace. This must be borne in mind throughout the study of verses 35, 36. To God alone be the glory![3]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 25:34). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 887–888). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

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