“…The harvest is the end of the age and the harvesters are angels…The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear…Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. – Matthew 13:39-43; 47-51
Jesus teaches so many parables revealing what the kingdom of heaven is like – seeds sown yielding different harvests or none at all; good seeds sown that are then surrounded by weeds; a mustard seed that grows into a tree to provide shelter and rest for birds; dough that rises as yeast works through it; great value recognized in a field with a hidden treasure and a pearl of great worth is found; fish caught in a net, some kept, some thrown out. In all of these parables, Jesus repeatedly lets us know the truth that not every person will enter into His kingdom – the kingdom of heaven.
And, quite honestly, this truth is a hard truth for me. As are others that Jesus spoke. Still, they are Word of God given truths. And Jesus, who is the “Word made flesh” (John 1:14), spoke the hard truth that God, in His righteous judgment, will separate those who will enter the kingdom of heaven from those who will not. It is not for me, or for any of us, to pick and choose which truths we’ll accept from God because we like them and they make us feel loved, blessed or encouraged. It is not for me, or any of us, to pick and choose which truths we’ll reject from God because we don’t like them. Or don’t think we need them. Or they’re just too hard to accept.
God is God. God is one. God is love. God is good and God is just. God is holy and God is merciful. God is the righteous judge and the sacrificial lamb. It is in the very fullness of God’s perfect and unchanging character that we must trust. It is the very fullness of God’s grace and truth that we must hear, believe, honor, and embrace.
Jesus embraces us with His unfailing love and nail-scarred hands. Jesus is the one from whom the fullness of God’s “grace and truth came” to us (John 1:17). All that is sin, all who are unrepentant and all who are unsaved sinners will be separated from God’s goodness and righteousness. Such a very hard truth. Yet, God’s truths, even His hardest truths, are never separated from the fullness of His grace.
May we each ask God to bring the fullness of His grace and truth to us and into everything we do – trusting God to be God in our lives, and in the lives of all others.