Are You a Sheep Or Goat?

by Matthew J. Slick

There are only two kinds of people in the world: sheep and goats. Jesus Himself gave us this categorization when He said, "And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left," (Matthew 25:32-33). On the Day of Judgment, the Lord Jesus will judge the world. He will cause the nations to be gathered before Him. This means that everyone will face Him; everyone will be held accountable for their sins before Him. For those of us who were covered in the blood of Christ, who had been forgiven and cleansed by the blood (1 John 1:7), we will not face the wrath of God. But the goats, those who have not been cleansed by faith in Christ, they will experience the full brunt of God's holy and righteous judgment. Jesus will say to them, "Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels," (Matthew 25:41). Are you a sheep or a goat?

Many people think that because of their goodness it will somehow merit for them a place with God. Others think that because of their own sincerity, God will be more forgiving and tolerant of them and not condemn them to hell. Such false hopes can only lead to destruction, for the Bible tells us that there is none who is truly good (Romans 3:10-12). And, to seek favor with God because of your own sincerity is to appeal to a quality in your self, which amounts to pride. By contrast, those who have experienced the presence of God, have also experienced humility because you were voluntarily humble yourself when you're in His holy presence. They do not boast or hope of position with God because of anything in them.

The difference between being a sheep and a goat, spiritually, is the difference between night and day, life and death, salvation and destruction. The goats do not hear the voice of God. They are unregenerate and cannot hear Him because they have not been redeemed and do not have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in them Who guides them and convicts them of sin and righteousness (John 16:8). But we Christians are indwelt by God (John 14:23). We have the presence of God. We are greatly privileged by His grace in redemption.

If you are a sheep, that is, if you are a Christian, then by necessity you must hear the voice of Christ. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand," (John 10:27-28). You will know that you are hearing the voice of your Lord if you are following Him. So, are you following Jesus? Are you following His words, His teachings, and His will. Are you seeking Him or something else? Are you answering His voice or your own? These are questions only you can answer. They are questions we all need to answer.

We all need to hear Him more, to love Him more, and to seek Him more. As Christians we need to be in fellowship with Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9) and follow Him as sheep follow their master and protector. We follow Him by faith as we trust that He will guide us and lead us. To hear the voice of Christ, is to hear the voice of God, who calls us to live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4). We are called to seek Him in prayer, in the word, and in the communion of the Saints. In this we follow the voice of our Lord.

So, make sure that the voice you are following is the True Voice. How will you know? Study the word of God and listen to Christ and become familiar with His voice. Trust in Jesus to forgive you of all your sins and ask Him to cleanse you, to redeem you, and to save you from the wrath of God. If you hear the voice of God, you will come to Christ for the Father points you to Him (John 6:45). And, the true Jesus draws all men to Himself (John 12:32) and He bears witness of Himself (John 8:18). Therefore, you hear the voice of Jesus when the focus is Jesus.

Taken from the CARM Newsletter, July 8, 2004, Devotional -- Are You a Sheep or Goat?.
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