Alice Mosely painted a picture for her dog, Joe, when he died. It showed Joe’s soul ascending to a place where a separation was made: one heaven for dogs and one heaven for folks. The title of the painting is, “Until Today I thought I was Folks.” You can see it in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, or here: ( http://www.alicemoseley.com/until-today-i-thought-i-was-folks/ } I liked that painting and Mrs. Moseley’s whimsy. But I would have liked it better if Joe had gone into heaven with the folks!
Jesus is God, but when He was here on earth, He was folks. His parables and stories were crafted from common experiences of folks. When Jesus saw hardworking fishermen, hauling their net in to sort their catch, instead of ignoring them, He used their work as a picture for His next lesson:
” “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 fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:47-50)
Every time one of those fish were discarded, Jesus’ listeners saw a picture of this sobering truth: There will be a separation at the end of the age. It won’t be sorting the dogs and the folks, but the wicked and the righteous. You and I will be there. Read again how Jesus described the destination of the wicked.
Did you read it? Okay then, here’s the question: How righteous is righteous enough?
God won’t be grading on a curve. There is no such thing as “righteous enough.” Righteous means perfectly righteous. It means pure. That’s why, on another occasion, Jesus said:
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. “ (Matthew 5:48)
Lot of folks will be saying, “Until today, I thought I was righteous…” But righteousness is measured against the standard of God’s perfection. You won’t make it, not unless you somehow get a pass.
Here’s the deal. Jesus is the only One Who has the authority to give you that pass, to take you out of the “wicked” line and give you a place in the “righteous” line. That’s because He fully paid for it on the cross. We don’t deserve it. We could never earn it. That’s why it’s called being saved. Here’s how Jesus explained it:
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”” (John 6:40)
Lots of folks who accept His offer, when it comes time to be separated at the end, will be saying, “Until today I thought I was wicked…”