The Parable of the True Unbeliever

The Parable of the True (Un)Believer

by Ty Gibson  |  August 19, 2016

The kingdom of heaven is like unto two men, one who believed in God and one who did not.

The first man engaged in prejudice and hatred and various other forms of ugliness contrary to love, all the while saying to the world, “I believe in God! God is with me! God is on my side!”

The other man looked at all the injustice and abuse done in the name of God, and he said to himself, “I don’t believe in God,” and spent his life relieving the poor and defending the oppressed.

In due time, both men died, and on the day of final judgment, both men were resurrected and stood before God. Gesturing with His right hand, God said, “Come, my son, enter into the eternal bliss prepared for you.”

And the Lord said to him, “I think you’ve mistaken Me for some other god…”

The man who believed in God smiled and stepped forward, but God raised His left hand and said, “No, not you,” and gestured for the unbeliever to come. The believer began to argue with God, “But wait, I believed in You, I went to church, I gave money to Your cause, I condemned sinners for You, and I even used apologetics to prove unbelievers wrong.” And the Lord said to him, “I think you’ve mistaken Me for some other god, perhaps Beelzebub. I don’t know you and you certainly don’t know Me. Depart from Me into eternal darkness.”

The unbeliever, weeping with his head down, said, “But why would You be so gracious to me and call me Your son? I didn’t believe in You.” And the Lord said, “Of course you did. You believed in justice and defended the oppressed, and you believed in mercy and relieved the poor, and that’s who I really am. So you are the true believer. Enter into the eternal bliss prepared for you.”

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:31-46).

Ty Gibson Co-Director
Light Bearers
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  • Erik Stenbakken

    Yes. Yes. Yes.
    Jesus gives us ample warning that at his return there will be surprises. Fortunately there are also those who do claim discipleship and who do follow in the footsteps of Jesus and have the heart of the Father.

  • Vallens Emile Collot

    Amen

  • Bethany

    In other words, God does not judge based on our acceptance of His name, but on our living manifestation of His identity.

  • YouNoWho

    The parable is flawed. According to the Bible, if you know about God but don’t accept him, you’ll burn in hell. Not that I believe any of it, but if you’re gonna write as a Christian believer, you should tell it like it is, not have as your goal to put a pretty dress on it.

  • AJ

    In this case you are forgetting something, namely the fact that the man in the parable had been exposed to a false image of God, a God that I as a Christian don’t believe in either, so while the atheist was exposed to a god, he wasn’t exposed to The God of the Bible, in other words, this man really didn’t know about God, which is the unfortunate case of many people on this world who will be saved even though they reject the image of God that they have been exposed to, and the reason that they will be saved is that they really didn’t know God, but they manifested His Spirit in that they spent their lives relieving the poor and defending the oppressed.

  • Todd

    Just read James 1:26-27, which goes along with this take on the parable. “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

  • Ray

    I believe AJ said it very well. Many of us who are followers of Jesus would not identify with the misrepresentation of the character of God that most have come to associate with the term Christian. God help us to live lifes that serve to reflect the image of Him that we have come to know and love.

  • RL

    Salvation is a gracious gift from Jesus that is accepted by faith. It is not earned by personal merit of knowledge and behavior such as ” You believed in justice and defended the oppressed, and you believed in mercy and relieved the poor, “