Scripture Text: Matthew 25:31–34
31 “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. 34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Matthew 25:31–34, RSV
This will take place publicly in the presence of all angels, men and creatures, and before the whole rabble of an ungodly world, that it may be seen who have been pious, honest Christians, as well as who have been hypocrites. Such a separation cannot take place in the world until that day, not even in the assembly which constitutes the Christian Church. The good and the bad must remain together in this world, as we learn from the parable of the wedding guests, or as Christ himself had to tolerate Judas among his apostles. Christians are much grieved that they must remain in the midst of a crooked, perverse, ungodly people, which is the kingdom of Satan.
While Christians have their sufferings here upon earth, they will also have their comfort on the coming day of judgment, when Christ will separate them from the other flock, so that after that day no false, ungodly men, nor death, nor devil can ever touch them or offend them. Christ will pronounce the verdict in the very words in which he has already prepared it and set it forth and will certainly not change it. Therefore see to it that you are among those who are kind and merciful here upon earth for Christ’s sake, or who even suffer for his sake, then you may joyfully await the last day, and need not be afraid of the judgment; for he has already selected you and placed you among those who shall stand at his right hand.
We who are Christians should hope for the coming of this judgment and desire it with our whole heart, as we pray in the words: Thy kingdom come; thy will be done; deliver us from evil; so that we may also hear the glad and welcome words: Come, ye blessed, into the kingdom of my Father. This is the verdict we await; for this we are Christians. For we must constantly see and hear the maliciousness which Satan and the world practice against the gospel. There is so much misery upon earth that we ought to be tired of this life and cry aloud: Come, dear Lord, and deliver us. For there are certainly souls who are joyfully awaiting the judgment of Christ with a good conscience.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 413–14.
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