Mt 13:41,42 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.So for the present, the visible church is a mixture. There is no guarantee when you enter an institutional church that all the people there who call themselves "Christian" have actually been born of God. But there is no "gray" area between being born of God and not being born of God, but rather a distinct boundary:
"He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." 1Jn 5:12Either you're a good fish or a bad fish, and there is nothing in between, just as in Matthew 25 where there is a separation on judgment day made between sheep and goat and there is no sheep/goat hybrid.
I think Jesus told this parable to correct the presumptuous idea that the Jews had (and later the Christians), that simply being united under an institution - like Judaism, or institutional Christianity - means that all its members were saved. This was incorrect. He meant to bring uncertainty to people who put their trust in their association with the outward visible church as the basis of their assurance of salvation. But despite what He taught, it seems that historic post-Biblical popular Christianity never learned the lesson. The judgment Jesus speaks of here is also spoken of in this way:
"He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." Rev 21:7,8
|A fisherman threw his net in the lake
And caught all kinds of fish, both true and fake
For the net is the gospel that draws both kind
And in this age they are confined
To dwell together in the visible church
But in the end the angels will search
To take the wicked from the good
To be thrown into hell as they should
So if you are sure you are saved
'cause you go to church, but aren't well-behaved
You will be judged by what you do
For there are Christians both false and true.
But the false will end up underneath
Where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The Berean Christian Bible Study ResourcesFeb 10,2009