Righteousness guards one whose way is upright, but sin overthrows the wicked. Proverbs 13:6 NRSV
Last week another pastor and I were talking about the final judgment. In Matthew 25:31-33, Jesus tells us there will be sheep and goats. There won't be many categories, almost a sheep or sort a goat. We are either included in one camp or the other; sheep are in, and the goats are out.
Whether we are sheep or a goat depends on how we live our lives from this moment forward. God, of course, desires us all to be sheep. When we walk morally, ethically, and virtuously, He protects us with righteousness. This doesn't mean we are sinless, but because of Jesus' atoning sacrifice and our faith in him, we remain in hope. We are forgiven sheep. In that hope lies eternity with the Father.
The goats, though, walk the way of the wicked. Satan cares not one whit about the goats. The appetite of goats includes eating trash, and Satan is content to provide a steady diet of rubbish, and the poor goat doesn't care because it tastes good. We know, though, that diet ultimately leads to death.
The good news of Christ is the goats don't need to remain goats. They can become sheep. Christ, the Good Shepherd, can redirect their paths, and they can enjoy the still waters and green pastures.
Good Shepherd, thank you for guarding us with your righteousness. Help us to walk in your right paths. Use us to spread your transforming message of hope to the world. On judgment day, may we be included with the sheep. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.