Understanding the Bible 27: Who Truly Belongs to the Community of Salvation?

One of the most troubling images in Jesus’s teaching is the sorting of the sheep and the goats (the “sheep” being the “righteous” who are rewarded with eternal life, the goats the “unrighteous” condemned to punishment).  At first glance the stakes appear to be “heaven” and “hell,” with our human actions the determining factor in our eternal fate.  But such an interpretation – while not entirely mistaken – does not fit particularly well with our understanding of God’s love and the larger project of salvation.

In this episode we examine the larger question of belonging – of membership within the community of faith.  If Jesus’s call to “repent and believe” is not a call mainly to stop being “bad” and adopt a new theology, but to realign one’s loyalties to follow the Jesus Way, what does such a realignment look like?  What does it require of us?  And how would we know if we were truly following in the footsteps of our guide?


This is a sermon that was originally presented at Canvas (a Presbyterian church in Irvine, CA), March 23, 2014. To learn more about Canvas, click here!


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