Category: General

Sheep and Goats

Mat 25:31-46 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  (32)  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  (33)  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  (34)  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  (35)  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  (36)  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  (37)  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  (38)  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  (39)  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  (40)  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  (41)  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  (42)  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:  (43)  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.  (44)  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?  (45)  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.  (46)  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

At lunch yesterday I was thinking about sheep and goats. To me this passage exemplifies the fruit of the Spirit. Those on the sheep side were kind and merciful unto all that they came across. They weren’t doing these things to be seen, they weren’t even doing those things to try to obtain salvation (look at their response). They helped their fellow man because it was right. So I started examining how much time I spent helping the “least of these.” I was definitely found wanting.

Today in Bible Class we watched a video by Shane Claiborne and his work with the poor in Philadelphia. Now I’m not advocating selling all your possessions and moving to the inner city. But I know that I’ve become too comfortable just giving a check on Sunday and paying my taxes and thinking that meets my obligation. Is there anyone else out there feeling this way?


Blessed Assurance

I remember the day when I realized that I wasn’t going to Hell. I grew up in a fearful tradition. One that had no assurance of salvation… we would only know once we were standing at Judgment Day. Verses would always be resounding through my head, warning me to be wary because God was just looking for a reason to send me to Hell. Verses such as:

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Heb 10:26-27 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  (27)  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

God was to be feared, because He was looking for an excuse to burn me up. I remember as a child, every night as I was falling asleep I would repeat, “I love God and Jesus” over and over again. My thought process was that if I didn’t repeat this then a sin might enter my mind as I was falling asleep and I’d be condemned to Hell. This is not something my parents taught me to do… in fact to this day they don’t know that’s something I did. That fear came from the culture I grew up in. Hear enough Fire and Brimstone lessons and you start to smell smoke. It’s like when a psych student gets a hold of the DSM IV for the first time. By the end of the day they’ve diagnosed themselves with half of the disorders in the book.

During that time there were so many things I didn’t understand (not that I’m a fountain of wisdom now). I wondered how Paul could say:

2Ti 4:6-8 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  (7)  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  (8)  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

How come Paul knew that he would go to Heaven before he died? Where did he get his assurance? And then there were some of the songs we sang: Blessed Assurance, When We All Get to Heaven, Sweet By and By, Mansions Over the Hilltop. The vast majority of the songs we sang were about getting to Heaven… but I never felt like I was going to make it. After all, I was a sinner. Occasionally I would knowingly sin… but wait… then there is no more sacrifice. I knew a girl when I was in college that gave up on God completely because of Heb. 10:26. In highschool she was a very devout Baptist… but her and her boyfriend started having sex. One day she read that verse and became convicted that she had sinned willfully and could never again have forgiveness so she gave up on God completely.

However, all through the scriptures we are told that if we endure we will be saved. God assures us many times that we are His children. He doesn’t look for excuses to condemn us… just the opposite, He looks for excuses to forgive us! Why else would He send His Son to die in our place?

Pharisees Anonymous

My name is Thomas Paulson, and I am a Pharisee.

For my first post I’ll give a little background about myself. I grew up in a very strict sect of the Church of Christ (Restoration movement, not Mormons). The name a lot of people give us is the “Anti’s,” because we’re anti everything (one man minister, musical instruments, Sunday School, Bible Classes, kitchens, One Cup, the list literally goes on and on).  About five years ago I decided to question everything I had been taught, and see what the Bible had to say on all subjects. Having grown up in a tradition that boasts we always “Speak where the Bible speaks, and are silent where the Bible is silent,” this was a hard process to go through.

I often look back to that time and I’m frustrated at how blind I was. But then I think in another five years I’ll be frustrated at how blind I am now.

The purpose of this blog is to share the studies I’ve had over the last few years, and to share my future ones.

As with alcoholism, phariseeism is easy to slip back into. My secondary goal is to avoid slipping back in.

Mat 5:20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.