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. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” “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.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:34-46 ESV)
This parable explains the difference between those that belong to God and those that do not. One lives a life of grace toward others and the other does not. This is not to say that the other does no seemingly gracious works. Had he known it was Jesus who needed food or clothes, etc., he would have helped. But that only shows that his actions would not have been acts of grace but acts of works, trying to curry favor with Jesus. The one who is truly gracious helps others who cannot lay him back. He gains nothing from it.
The challenge for us is to live according to who we are. We are recipients of God’s grace and we must let this take hold of us. If we fail to understand the true misery of our condition, the depths from which we have been raised, then it will be hard for us to appreciate the grace given us. If we fail to know something of the beauty and majesty of God and the joy of our salvation then it will also be hard for us to appreciate the grace given us. We must major in the gospel everyday that our memory of so great a salvation does not fade.
Lord, would you show me your grace to me that I might reflect it well.