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End Times Doctrine
“The Judgment of God”
** Watch at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RShVBBGano
The church today lacks a healthy fear of God. We have lots of teaching on God’s love, mercy and grace, which is good and necessary, but little is said about God being holy, righteous, and just.
And here is the point, until we truly understand the meaning of God’s judgment, we’ll never fully understand the meaning of His grace.
We also hear a lot about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and are looking forward with great expectation to that day. But crouched in this teaching is a truth that when it is finally understood it should shake the church out of its lethargic condition. That truth is the coming judgment of God.
God’s judgment may be the one truth that will awaken the church so it can shake the world.
And here it is, that all humanity will one day stand in judgment before God. There will be no support from anyone, not family or friends, not even an attorney. Everyone must stand before the justice and judgment of God.
This is why the truth of God’s judgment lays forgotten and ignored. It reveals the severity of God that most people, even those within the church, want to avoid. The teaching about God’s judgment has become distasteful. Just as the love, grace, and mercy of God cannot be overstated, so the holiness, righteousness, and justice of God cannot be understated.
The fact that everyone is judgment-bound is probably the most sobering thought that can be presented in the church today, and that’s because it’s been appointed for everyone to die and be judged afterward (Hebrews 9:27).
The only problem is that everyone thinks they’re going to heaven. They don’t think they’ll ever face God’s judgment, because judgment is for evil people like Hitler and Osama Ben Laden, and they’re nowhere near like them.
It’s like the story of the little boy who told his teacher, “My daddy says that if I don’t get better grades, someone’s going to get a spanking.”
The little boy, however, didn’t think he deserved to get punished, but he was pretty sure the teacher did.
When it comes to judgment most people think they’re going to get a pass from God. While they’ve done bad things, these are nothing compared to the things done by really “bad people.”
This, however, is not the way God’s sees it. God says there is no one who is righteous. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standards (Romans 3:10, 23).
Look at Isaiah’s response when He found himself in the presence of God.
“My destruction is sealed, for I am a sinful man and a member of a sinful race.” (Isaiah 6:5a NLT)
The prophet Isaiah is someone we consider to be as righteous as they come. But when he looked at himself in the light of God holy presence and purity he saw himself for who he truly was, a sinner.
But judgment isn’t just for the wicked; everyone will face judgment in the end. The Bible says, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27 NKJV)
If we’re all going to face God’s judgment, the question becomes, “At which judgment will we appear?”
There are actually two judgments, one for the wicked, and another for the righteous, and each has their own judgment seat and outcome.
In Matthew 25:46 Jesus said, “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46 NKJV)
However, before we can get to these two judgments, there is what is known as the book of life, from which these judgments derive.
The Book of Life
God’s judgment is based upon who is written in the Book of Life, also called the “Lamb’s Book of Life” (Revelation 13:8, 21:27). This is the book Jesus will use when He judges everyone in the end, because God the Father has given the final say to His Son, Jesus.
“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22 NKJV)
The Book of Life contains the names of those who are righteous, and they’ll have eternal life. But the ending of the wicked, those whose names are not contained within this book, will be everlasting death.
“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15 NKJV)
The names written in the Book of Life are believers in Jesus Christ whom God considers righteous, not based upon their own righteousness, but rather the righteousness of Jesus. Jesus refers to them as overcomers, and their white apparel is an indication of their righteousness.
“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Revelation 3:5 NKJV)
The ending for those written in the Book of Life will be an eternity in the presence of God in heaven.
“But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” (Revelation 12:27 NKJV)
So, what are these two judgments, and who are they for?
The Two Judgments
The White Throne Judgment: The judgment of the wicked
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)
The White Throne Judgment is God’s final judgment for those who have died outside a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It will be the final judgment for those who tried to get right with God based upon their own righteousness and made up religions.
This will be a terrible day, a day where the eternal destinies of the wicked are forever sealed.
What we see is the face of Jesus Christ. So fierce and terrible is His countenance that both the earth and heaven flee and are completely destroyed.
Today, however, Jesus is our advocate, taking up our case with the Father in heaven’s courtroom, where the Father declares us not guilty, not based upon our own righteousness, but upon the righteousness of Christ.
This is seen in 1 John 2:1 the Apostle John said, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1 NKJV)
But at the White Throne Judgment Jesus is no longer an advocate. He is the judge of everyone whose fate has already been decided and sealed through unbelief. And the verdict is “guilty” and the sentence is the Lake of Fire.
Take a moment and consider everlasting torment.
“When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
But it doesn’t have to be like this. God never intended hell and the lake of fire for humanity; instead it was created for Satan and his demons.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:41, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41 NKJV)
Wicked humanity, those who refused to believe in Jesus Christ, will be judged and sent into the everlasting punishment of the Lake of Fire along with Satan and his demons.
But that will not be the judgment and ending for those who believe, for the righteous.
The Judgment Seat of Christ: The judgment of believers
Speaking to fellow Christians, the Apostle Paul said,
“But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ … So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10, 12 NKJV; also 1 Corinthians 5:10)
This judgment doesn’t determine whether or not we make it into heaven, heaven is already our home. We’re already citizens of heaven when we become born again by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.
In Philippians 3:20 Paul said, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20 NKJV)
The judgment that takes place isn’t judgment for our sins, because God has already judged our sins through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and God’s wrath was satisfied.
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:8-10 NKJV)
But if our sins are no longer judged, then what is the judgment seat of Christ. Some have identified it as God’s rewards seat, that is, we’ll receive rewards based upon what we do for God and His kingdom upon this earth.
“For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Matthew 16:27 cf. Revelation 22:12)
Let’s ensure, however, that we understand it isn’t just outward acts and words that Jesus will judge, but the inward intent of our heart.
“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
What rewards will we receive?
In 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 Paul talks about rewards as being those works that hold up and remains under God’s holy fire of judgment. Paul describes them as gold, silver, and precious stones, as compared to those works that will be burned to ash, or the wood, hay, and straw.
These are things we do for God, seeing how Paul describes them as being built upon the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. That is, it’s doing the stuff that counts for God’s kingdom and not for our own.
The Bible also talks about additional rewards that will be given, five in all, and they are crowns that wait in heaven.
• The Crown of Righteousness for all who love the Lord’s appearing (2 Timothy 4:8)
• The Incorruptible Crown for those who discipline themselves unto godliness (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)
• The Crown of Life for those who remain faithful through the trials and unto death (James 1:12, Revelation 2:10)
• The Crown of Glory for those who were godly examples to others under their care (1 Peter 5:2-4)
• The Crown of Rejoicing for those who obey the Great Commission winning souls for the Kingdom (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
Solomon probably concludes this topic best stating a profound truth that needs be understood as we ready ourselves to face the judgment of God.
“Here is my final conclusion: fear God and obey his commandments, for this is the entire duty of man. For God will judge us for everything we do, including every hidden thing, good or bad.” (Ecclesiastes12: 13-14 TLB)
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