Posted by: pastortomvabeach | September 1, 2015

Thought For The Week September 6, 2015

By the date on this entry, I will either be unreasonably excited and happy unconsolably depressed and unhappy. All because my favorite time of year is here – college football season. And my favorite team will be playing their first game on Saturday. All my hopes are for a great year but the outcome of this game will say a lot about where the team is headed this year. But, in the end, I’ll get over it whether it be the crazy high or the unwanted low because, after all, it’s only a game, right? Please remind me of that on Sunday if we lose!

The final four of the biblical truths held by the Assemblies cover the topic of escatology, which is a big word meaning the end of all things. I guess it’s fitting that we save these for last because that’s when they happen. Number 15 is The Final Judgment.

The Bible is very clear that God is the one who decides what is right and wrong and when His eternal plan is completed, there will be a final judgment in which everyone will be judged for what they did while on earth. Acts 17:31 reads, He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.

Revelation 20:11-12 tell us of the Great White Throne judgment: I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away..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. It is interesting to note that this says “the dead” were there being judged when Paul tells us that without Christ we were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Revelation goes on to say that those who were not found in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire which is called the second death (Revelation 20:14-15).

The judgment at the Great White Throne is reserved for those who died without trusting in Christ to wash away and forgive their sins. Christians will not face this judgment since Jesus was judged in their place when He carried their sins on the cross and the charges have been removed forever: You, being dead in your trespasses…He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14) Notice that Paul says Jesus made us alive, so we won’t be standing with the dead at the Great White Throne.

This does not mean Christians will not be judged. We will not be judged for our sins but for how we lived the life Christ gave us. Paul tells us of the judgment seat of Christ where we will be judged for what we have done with this gift God has given us: we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10) He provided some context for this judgment in I Corinthians 3:11-15: No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ…if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work…If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Paul says we only have one foundation, Jesus, and with Jesus as our Savior, what we build on that foundation will be the topic of judgment. Gold, silver, precious stones only get more brilliant in fire but wood, hay, and stubble will burn up, yet he says that person will still be saved. The better path is to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21).

The importance of the final judgment is in revealing that God is good and just. A good God cannot withhold judgment for that which is evil. If He did that He wouldn’t be good. Neither can He judge unfairly, that’s why He made a way to escape the judgment that leads to hell (the second death). Knowing this judgment awaits, everyone needs to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and come to Jesus believing. Escape is a free gift, Jesus already paid the price. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23). Now that’s a thought worth sharing.

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