Forgotten Essentials

We are big on essentials. What do I have to do to compete the job, the course, the paper, the test? What is necessary. We know God has some essentials for us as Christians. I fear that some essentials have been neglected. Jesus definitely spoke of some things as essential to salvation. Jesus said those who “did not do it” would “go away into eternal punishment” (Matthew 25.45-46). What was Jesus talking about? What was Jesus saying we must be doing in order to go into “life eternal” (Matthew 25.46)? Who will hear the great welcome “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25.34)? What are these essential things Jesus is talking about?
Those who are welcomed in to life eternal and spared eternal punishment are those who helped the helpless. Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matthew 25.35-36). Jesus said these things were essential to our salvation. Just as faith (Heb. 11.6) repentance, (Acts 17.30, Heb. 10.26), confession (Rom. 10.9-10), baptism (Mark 16.16), and obedience (Heb. 5.9) are essential–helping is essential to our salvation.
James’ epistle could be titled “True Religion”. He tells us that “true religion and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1.27). He also describes a condemned faith as one who sees “a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving him the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead.” (James 2.14-17).
There will many who did believe and even did many great things who will not enter into life eternal. Those who did not give food to the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoner will hear the unfortunate words of disaster, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25.41).
The suffering are all around us. God cares for them, and we must display his care for them through our loving actions. They are counting on us. When we help the suffering individuals with their physical problems, then we can begin to bring them closer to Christ so that they can be saved from our common spiritual problem.

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