The sheep on the right hand (Mt 25:34-25:34)

“Then the king

Will say to those

At his right hand.

‘Come!

You are blessed

By my Father!

Inherit the kingdom!

It has been prepared

For you

From the foundation

Of the world.”

 

τότε ἐρεῖ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τοῖς ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ Δεῦτε οἱ εὐλογημένοι τοῦ Πατρός μου, κληρονομήσατε τὴν ἡτοιμασμένην ὑμῖν βασιλείαν ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου.

 

This last judgment section is unique to Matthew.  The right side is always the good side.  Jesus said that the king, not the Son of Man, would tell those at his right hand (τότε ἐρεῖ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τοῖς ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ) that they had been blessed by his Father (οἱ εὐλογημένοι τοῦ Πατρός μου).  They would come (Δεῦτε) to inherit the kingdom (κληρονομήσατε…βασιλείαν), since it had been prepared for them (τὴν ἡτοιμασμένην ὑμῖν) from the foundation or inception of the world (ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου).  The righteous right-side sheep would inherit the kingdom of heaven that had been prepared for them since the beginning of time.  This almost sounds like predestination.

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Inclusive Model of Salvation

The inclusive model holds that Jesus Christ is the normative expression of God’s will for all people.  The problem is that many people have never known Christ.  What role has the God of love for them?  Is Christian faith offered to everyone?  Some Christians believe in predestination so that only a few are chosen.  Christianity has always been missionary, sometimes overly zealous, as in the Crusades and the Inquisition.  What about those who have never heard of Jesus Christ?  The Catholic Council of Trent (1545-1563) in the 16th century talked about a baptism of desire.  You will be saved by Jesus without knowing him.  Salvation is fully found in Jesus, but offered to everyone in all genuine religions who live the good life, who sincerely seek God, moved by grace, and strive by their deeds to do his will as they know it.  Sometimes we call them like Karl Rahner (1904-1984) “anonymous Christians.”