We are living in an increasingly partisan culture. We hear the word tribe often to clarify partisanship, which simply is, groupings. It has always been around for sure. We read about it throughout Scripture. However, it has become hyper-partisan. Everything is a group or sub-group with no limitations on how far one can take it and no one needs your permission to put you in that group. “You like chocolate ice cream so therefore you cannot possibly like vanilla too!” It has been a political paradigm for the most part when we would discuss partisanship, up-until-recently, however, the line is now blurred.
First, i will agree that there are definitely two groups, in fact, Jesus taught on these two groups, He called them the “sheep” and the “goats”. That is pretty much where the groups start and finish, however. Within those two groups are people, with various ideas, understandings, ways of life, social status, economic structure, intelligence and the list goes on…and among the goats, the list is even longer.
Now, Jesus, defined these two groups this way, sheep, equals saved, goats, equal not saved. It is worth noting here that these two groups are separated at the judgment and although there are good reasons to watch our associations it should never be a practice to segregate ourselves. “But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14.
Let’s talk sheep. Sheep don’t always get along. Paul split ways with Barnabas because they couldn’t agree on a philosophy of ministry, not a philosophy of salvation to which there was no disagreement. It’s ok. However, that is the exception, not the rule. “44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart” Acts 2:44-46.
Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don’t do as I say?” Luke 6:46. He also said, “If you love Me, obey my commandments.” John 14:15. He clarified those commandments this way, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40.
For me, here is what it boils down to, Love; Unconditional love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith. (1 Timothy 1:5). We love one another, we sacrifice for one another, we do for one another and we pray for one another…including GOATS! We live the message of Christ out in our love for one another, we tell others about this love by living it out in our actions so that when we say it with our mouths it has a deeper meaning. In the end when Jesus does separate us, the sheep and the goats, we can stand confidently that
we did, we lived, and we loved the best we could.