Copyright 1996, John H. Stoll
There is a coming day of judgment upon the earth, that will in various aspects affect all of mankind. It is taught in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It will include Christians, non-Christians, Jews, Gentiles, and all the nations of the world.
Psalms 96:13, Ecclesiastes 12:14, and Hebrews 9:27 speak of a general judgment that will take place at the end of the age. Acts 17:31 declares the certainty of this judgment, by the fact that God raised Jesus from the dead, showing His ultimate power over all mankind, even death. John 5:22,23,27 declares Jesus Christ to be the judge. The Bible speaks of seven distinct judgments.
I. The Judgment of Believer's Sins on the Cross of Christ - John 12:31; I John 3:8..
Here is where judgment began. The sins of the believer in Jesus Christ were judged by His death/burial/resurrection. In Hebrews 2:14,15 it speaks of the fact that Christ came into the world in the human form of Jesus, since sin had been committed in the realm of humanity, to meet sin head-on and conquer it. The result was that mankind has been delivered from the bondage of sin and death (i.e. eternal/spiritual separation from God).
The result of Christ's coming into the time/space world of mankind, where sin had been introduced, was God's declaration of righteousness (i.e. Justification) to every person who makes a commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of one's life. Romans 3:24 explains that every believer is justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Then Romans 5:1,9 notes that one who is justified by faith has peace with God through Jesus Christ. Furthermore, being justified by His blood brings salvation from the judgment to come.
II. The Believer's Self Judgment - I Corinthians 11:31.
In the context of one's coming to the communion table there is the necessity of self judgment. This is a time of evaluation of personal sins that need to be confessed to God, so that any broken fellowship with Him may be restored. This self judgment avoids chastisement from God.
Chastisement from Him is not condemnation (I Cor. 11:32), for His chastening is always corrective of His child, not vindictive (Hebrews 12:10,11). God does not chasten non-Christians, only His children, to bring them back into the way of holy living.
III. The Judgment of the Believer's Works - II Cor. 5:10.
This is a judgment that takes place in heaven, to all believers, when their works as Christians are evaluated. This is a judgment of one's works, not one's sins. Every Christian's sin have been covered (i.e. eliminated) by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. But, every work of the child of God as His child will be evaluated for reward or loss thereof (Gal. 6:7; Col. 3:24,25).
I Corinthians 3:11-15 shows to the Christian that Christ is our foundation of life. Every child of His builds upon that foundation a superstructure of "gold/silver/precious/stones" or "wood/hay/stubble". Then the text tells us that God has an account of our works that the day of judgment will declare it, and then everyone will receive a reward or loss of it, but the Christian will be eternally saved, even through the judgment of God's refining fire.
The time of this judgment will be at the return of Christ to take over the world, and conclude everything in judgment (I Peter 5:4), i.e. "when the chief shepherd shall appear". Therefore, the admonition to every Christian daily is, "Whatsoever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto mankind" (Col. 3:23).
IV. The Judgment of the Nations at Christ's Return - Matthew 25:31-46.
When Christ returns to judge the world, He will judge the nations on the basis of how they treated His people, Israel. Since nations cannot be judged apart from individuals, it will be a judgment of individuals within those nations.
The test is their treatment of Israel during the Tribulation period. In the Matthew passage it speaks of three classes of nations: "Sheep" nations, "Goat" nations, and "My Brethren".
V. The Judgment of Israel at Christ's Return - Ezekiel 20:33-38. This is a prophecy of future judgment upon Israel. The issue will be as to who will enter the promised land for the kingdom blessings. In Malachi 3:2-5; 4:1,2 it speaks in prophetic tones, that refer ultimately to the Lord Jesus Christ, as the "Sun of Righteousness", who will bring healing to the people of Israel. From Jesus Christ's personal testimony in the New Testament we recognize that only those who believe in Him as their Messiah and Savior will enter into the kingdom blessings (John 6:26-29). Those who have not accepted Him as Messiah and Savior will not enter in to enjoy the promised blessings of His eternal kingdom.
VI. The Judgment of Angels & Satan After the Millenium - Jude 6,7 and Revelation 20:10. After the thousand year reign of Christ on earth, and Satan's loosing "for a little season", he will be judged, along with all the fallen angels (i.e. Satan's demons), II Peter 2:4. When Lucifer fell from Heaven, and became Satan before the creation of the earth (Isa. 14; Ezek. 28), he drew a third part of the angels in heaven (Rev. 12:4) and they threw in their lot with him. There was war in Heaven, and God cast Lucifer and his angels out of Heaven, and now these fallen angels became Satan's demons. They all will be judged for being against God, and will be judged to eternal damnation (i.e. "the lake of fire" -Rev.20:10) Matt. 8:29; 25:41.
VII. The Judgment of the Wicked Dead - Revelation 20:11-15. This is the final judgment. It will include every person who has not acknowledged Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. This is a judgment that the Bible calls the "second death", which is eternal separation from God, not annihilation. It is the "lake of Fire", which not only is totally separate from the life of God, but will be the torment of eternally unfulfilled desires. For those who plead their "works" as justification from God's judgment, the "Book of Life" is God's answer (Rev.20:15). The way by which one enters into the Book of Life is through a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, and His covering for their sins. Then one's works, which never can measure up for Salvation from sins, will bring reward, as done out of love for Him. God never created anyone for judgment, but for eternal fellowship with Him. It would be inconsistent with God's attributes to send anyone to eternal damnation. Each person condemns himself to eternal separation from God through his sins. This is why Christ came to redeem (i.e. buy back by paying the price of one's sins) every person (Rom. 8:1-4), so that the judgment of God would not fall on him (Note: John 6:26-29). To the individual who accepts Christ's redemptive work, he has eternal life. To the one who does not accept Christ's sacrifice for his sins, then God has no other alternative but to judge that person to eternal separation from God. For God in His holiness cannot countenance mankind's sin. This is why Christ died for all, to care for the sins and eternal destiny of every person.
Breathe on me breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what thou dost love,
And do what thou would do
Breathe on me breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with thee the perfect life,
Of thine eternity.
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