During my introduction to a variety of church denominations in high school, I was naïve to the drastic differences that existed. Since I was taught to focus on religious traditions, I was accepting to other ones that I didn’t know about or understand. Some of my closest friends were Mormons who didn’t drink or smoke, a positive influence for any parent worried about their children getting involved with the wrong crowd. When I got to college, there was a greater emphasis on theology, specific beliefs, doctrines and interpretations of the Bible. This biblical teaching that I absorbed confused me, forcing me to re-examine former beliefs that I held. I guess you can say I was stuck somewhere between loving others for who they are and confronting ungodly practices that strayed from the Bible.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,” Matthew 10:34-35.
Today, Universalism has been embraced to avoid offending other churches, denominations and religions. The mindset behind this ideology uses love as justification and rationalization, claiming “surely a loving God would not condemn his own created children. This worldview suggests there are many paths to heaven, even if it means accepting other religions that contradict or stray from biblical accounts. During a blunt conversation with his disciples, Jesus reveals the division that will occur within families that hold different religious beliefs. This isn’t a matter of if, but when this spiritual rift will arise.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,” Matthew 25:31-32.
In the Parable of the Sheep and Goats, Jesus unveils a glimpse of what to expect in the future. At the end of time, God will separate sheep from the goats. Based upon John 14:6 and Acts 4:12, Jesus is the only path, the sole way to heaven. Thus, the sheep are symbolic of those who accept Jesus into their hearts, Romans 10:9-10, enduring persecution for the sake of Christ. Meanwhile, the goats are individuals who try to find another way to heaven, straying from the instructions in the Bible. Coming to grips with this separation is tough, especially if loved ones are stuck on the other side. Yet, I’d rather someone tell me the truth now, while I am alive, than after it’s too late. Hopefully, this explains why this separation is necessary.
by Jay Mankus