This morning I wrote about Mt. 24:42-51. It occurred to me almost as soon as I hit “Publish” that more could be said about the passage than I did in my brief remarks, and I’d like to do that now (and still more will surely be able to be said after this post too).
In the passage the Lord says that the servant will be blessed who is found doing what his Master commanded when He returns. Obviously what we do matters. The Lord Jesus is not coming back for the purpose of scooping up a bunch of sheep who are doing whatever the heck they want and relying upon mere faith to pave their way to heaven. No. The Lord is returning for the sheep who are doing His will. These are the servants who will be blessed at their Master’s return. It will not be just any old servants living in whatever way they see fit; the ones doing that will be “cut to pieces” and tossed out with the hypocrites. The upshot is that there is a critical sense in which we are not saved by faith alone. God’s grace (without which we absolutely cannot be saved) enables us to do His will, and if we do not freely do it out of love for Him, then we have no reason to expect to receive the welcome of the servant who is found working when the Master returns.
This is not much more than what St. Paul says in Romans 6:1-2: “Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Perhaps some folks take this to be a condemnation of the idea that we may actively commit sin while still living in God’s grace, but if you think about it for a moment it seems pretty clear that sins of omission are likewise excluded by St. Paul! We can’t just sit there; we must be doing the work the Master intends for us. As St. James says, if we merely hope for the succor of the poor man but do nothing to provide it for him, our faith is dead. We must be about the Master’s work, or we risk being cut in pieces and tossed out with the hypocrites. These are words directed to those who profess Christ, not to those who don’t. Let us love God gratefully for the salvation He has freely given us, but let us also work out our salvation with fear and trembling.