Matthew 25:37-39, "Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?"
Matthew 25:44, "Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?"
This morning, two classes of people remain in this world: they are the righteous people of God (sheep) and the unrighteous mammon (goats). The imputed righteousness of Christ given to them by the Almighty, Holy, Triune God put the righteous into their state. The Lord leaves the wicked in their filthy state, from the transgression of Adam being passed to them by nature, which they exercise in their untoward heart every day of their existence here on earth. Therefore, the text in Matthew 25 (return of the Great King) does not show forth that they did not meet conditions or criteria (as the Arminian would preach and teach). Rather, the King is pointing out the state of the heart that they have.
Notice that the righteous and the wicked seem to be in the dark as to the declaration of the Son of God. The righteous answer the King that they had no idea that they did any of these things to Him. They never saw Him in such a state, and therefore, they were not meeting conditions while they sojourned here to land them in heaven. Rather, they exercised the goodness of their heart in showing their love for the brethren. They helped the sick, comforted those that mourned, and strengthened the hands of those that plowed the field in the vineyard of the Master. All of these actions were not in order to gain access to heaven, but they were working out what the Lord had worked within.
But, the wicked seem to be in a similar state of darkness as to their actions (or lack thereof). They claimed, "Lord, if we had just seen you in such a state, we would certainly have done these things." However, they are showing forth that there is no goodness within. They would not have been doing any of these things out of love, but rather, a wicked person will do something to receive something back. To present a wicked man with conditions here on earth to keep him from hell will have no effect on him since he does not believe that hell, heaven, or God exist. However, on this great and notable day of the Lord, they are forced to believe, for the evidence is plainly before them.
This text cannot be talking about timely things, for the wicked are speaking to the Lord Himself and trying to justify their own actions. So, at this event, the righteous hear the beautiful proclamation to come, for Christ has prepared all for them. The wicked hear the dreadful condemnation to depart, for their actions will be shown (in manifold abundance) that they deserve the lowest regions of hell for all eternity. Therefore, seeing we know these things, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation? Not that we would receive heaven by our actions, but that the love of God shed abroad in our hearts would be poured out in service to our God and His dear people.