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Face Judgement

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

     Thank you for listening to the Words of Life broadcast as we share the Word of God.

The title for the lesson is: “Face Judgment.”  And the text is in the New Testament book of Hebrews, chapter 9 and verses 27 thru 28.  Please listen to our main text.

     Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. This is the Word of God.

     Just as many believe there will be only one general resurrection for all at one time, similarly many Christians believe and teach there will be only one judgment associated with the second coming of Christ.

For example, Jack Cottrell, an independent Christian churches theologian writes: “Scripture always refers to a single day as time of judgment, not several days or times.  For example, First John 4:17 speaks of believers’ confidence ‘in the day of judgment.’  Jesus is able to safeguard all that we ‘have entrusted to him until that day’ according to Second Timothy 1:12. In Matthew 7:22 Jesus describes some of the futile appeals of the lost ‘on that day.’  Romans 2:5 speaks of ‘the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.’  Second Peter 3:7 states: ‘By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.’  These and others all are references to a single day of judgment.  There is only one final day of judgment.”  This is the amillennial position of most mainline churches.

     Obviously, a day will come for God’s judgment, but these many references do not explicitly state that all judgment will occur on one and the same day. A careful inductive, or reasoning from particular to general, study of all scripture involved in God’s judgment reveals there are at least six major judgments which occur at different times.  Yet, they all have a day of judgment.

The six are:

First.  The judgment on the cross.  This is God’s judgment of mankind’s sin as Christ bore the sinners’ guilt as a perfect substitute for all.  Of course, it is only effectual to believers who receive Christ as personal Savior and Lord through faith.  Consider from John 12:31-33 Jesus stated: “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.  But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”  He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.  For believers who receive Christ by obedient faith consider Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  First Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness, by his wounds you have been healed.”  That is healed spiritually initially at your conversion to Christ Jesus.  This judgment of God has already taken place whereby Jesus Christ took our place.

Second.  Judgment of Believer’s Works not for salvation but for rewards beyond salvation.  This is a judgment only for genuine Christians, the church.  This judgment is Christ’s appraisal of a Christian’s works and service done appropriately for his sake and for his kingdom.  Romans 14:10 “…for we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”  Second Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”  This judgment of the Lord’s church is after the catching up of his church.

Third.  The judgment of the nations.  This is Christ’s judgment of individual Gentiles at the second coming of Christ to this earth after the Great Tribulation.  Matthew 25:32 “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”  The basis of this judgment is as believers or unbelievers proven, validated, verified by how they treated other believers and especially believing Jews during “Jacob’s trouble,” the Great Tribulation.  It is a judgment.  Verse 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, in the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”  To unbelievers Jesus states in verses 45-46 “…whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.  Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Fourth.  The judgment of Israel.  This will occur after the return of Christ to this earth.  Jews will be judged individually.  Consider from Ezekiel 20:36-38 “As I judged your fathers in the desert of the land of Egypt, so I will judge you, declares the Sovereign Lord.  I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.  I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me.  Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel.  Then you will know that I am the Lord.”  So only believers who are in the bond of the new covenant as having repented and believed on Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah, the Son of God, will enter the millennial kingdom and of the golden age of Israel. 

Fifth.  Judgment of Angels including the Devil.  This refers to the fallen, unfaithful angels who rebelled against God.  This judgment is evidently in connection with the great white throne judgment after the millennium.  Second Peter 2:4 “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, Tartarus, putting them into gloomily dungeons to be held for judgment.”  Jude 1:6 “And the angels who did not keep their position of authority but abandoned their own home, these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great day.”

Sixth.  The White Throne Judgment.  This last great judgment encompasses the judgment of all the unsaved of all ages.  The basis of judgment will be works which also suggests differences and degrees of punishment.  Nevertheless, it will be eternal, conscious consignment to the lake of fire.  It is a judgment of works because the unsaved rejected the grace of God.  With this judgment the history of the present earth ends.  Revelation 20:11-15 “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it.  Earth and sky, fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.  Another book was opened, which is the book of life.  The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.”  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.  The lake of fire is the second death.  If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

   So, the second death for all the unsaved means the final and complete separation from God, their Creator unto everlasting punishment.  It also means finally a sin-cleansed universe.

   If, as it reveals in Hebrews 9:27 “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”  Along with other verses that indicate seemingly one judgment as explicit on the same day as according to the scripture, then we could accept only one general judgment for all.  However, reviewing all scripture regarding judgment by God including purpose, and timing it is more reasonable to understand a plurality of judgments at different times.  This is the premillennial interpretation.

    The overall purpose of God’s judgments is in order to show God’s righteousness.  God is the judge of all, but he will perform his judgment through his Son, Jesus Christ, who is deity in bodily form as in Colossians 2:9John 5:22 verifies this “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.”  Why?  John 5:27 “And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.”  Jesus Christ as God has the insight and authority to judge, as a man, Jesus Christ uniquely understands man.  In his person, justice and grace meet, and as judge of all the earth, he will infallibly do the right thing always by everyone in his righteous judgment.

    God’s righteous wrath and tremendous grace in judgment should not be seen as a passion but as a principal, the eternal loathing of wrong and the eternal love of right.  We should understand that no one deserves to go to heaven.  It is only by the grace of God that anyone is saved.

    Consider this illustration, a father and daughter were walking through the grass on the prairie.  In the distance they saw a huge fire approaching them that would soon engulf them.  The father knew there was only one way of escape.  They had to quickly begin a fire right where they were and burn a large patch of grass around them.  When the devastating fire drew near, they then would stand on the section that had already burned.  When the fire came closer, the daughter was terrified by the raging flames.  But her father assured her, “the flames will not attack us.  We are standing where the fire has already been.”

    Likewise, if we are in Christ Jesus, through obedient, persevering faith, we can trust in our eternal security in Christ.  Jesus has already taken the wrath of God for our sin on the cross at Calvary.  We as believers stand safely, secure in Christ Jesus.  Therefore, we are where the fire of God’s righteous wrath has already been.  That’s God’s tremendous grace!  

 

           David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8