The Bible speaks of a day of judgment and much is said in the religious world about the Lord’s return and what will take place at that time. Some of what is said is true, but much of what is said is nothing but the fallacy of man’s imagination at work. It is extremely important that we have knowledge of what the Bible actually teaches concerning this subject because it will have a bearing upon how and what we do now, in this life, and most importantly, a bearing upon where we will be for eternity. Let us note four important truths concerning the great day of judgment.
First, consider the “SURITY” of the judgment. One verse tells us that just as sure as we live, we shall face the judgment. The author of Hebrews stated, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). As David was about to die, he told Solomon, “I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man” (I Kings 2:2). David was acknowledging that all die, thus according to Hebrews 9:27, all will face the judgment. As the apostle Paul stood upon Mars’ Hill and addressed those of Athens, he said, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).
Next we need to consider the “SCOPE” of the judgment. The question arises, who shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ? The verse already noted in Hebrews (9:27), tells us the judgment is an appointment that we have. Now, when it comes to appointments that we make here on this earth, we often cancel them, forget them or even change our mind and simply not keep our appointment. Such will not be the case when it come to the appointment to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. In Jesus’ description of the judgment (Matt. 25:31-46), He says, “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” (Matt. 25:32). Paul writes, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). The fact of the matter is; every person ever born upon this earth will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be judged.
Thirdly, let us consider the “STANDARD” of the judgment. Let us first understand that we will not be judged by our opinions, our feelings, the words of mere men or our sincerity. What we will be judged by is what God has legislated. Paul wrote, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16). Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). In the description of the judgment found near the end of the book of Revelation, we read, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Rev. 20:12). Thus, the standard of the judgment will be our own actions in this life as compared to the word of God. As Paul said, “…everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10).
Finally, let us consider the “SEPARATION: of the judgment. The judgment will separate the righteous from the unrighteous. Using the words of Jesus in His judgment description, “he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” (Matt. 25:32). To some He will say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you…” (Matt. 25:34). To others He will say, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). Paul says that when “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:7-9). Notice that everlasting separation in the last part of that passage.
It is a fact that we do not and can not know when the Lord will return (Matt. 24:36; II Pet. 3:10). But we can be sure that the judgment day will come. We can and should know that the scope of the judgment will include every one of us. The standard used for the judgment will be the word of God, with our life compared. And we can know that eternal separation will take place that day.
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