Judgment Day (Concise Version)
All roads lead to standing before God on Judgment Day. Only one road leads to a favorable Judgment Day, but all roads surely do lead to Judgment Day. Judgment Day is unavoidable, inevitable, and escaping it is impossible. God will, according to His Word, reckon with every individual according to their works. If there were no Judgment Day, Christ’s Gospel would be meaningless. There would be no need to prepare to meet God. Pursuing truth and righteousness would be a waste of time. And suffering for truth and righteousness would be downright foolish. We would rather do better just getting the most pleasure possible out of life. And the Apostle Paul said this much as he spoke about the resurrection of the dead in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. Though many do not believe in an inevitable Judgment Day before the Holy God of the Bible, and though many who say they believe in this don’t live like it, such are foolish. For those not ready it will be a day of regret, sorrow, and agony which will eclipse the worst of these things in this life to a measure that we cannot even comprehend.
In 2 Corinthians 5:10 we read: “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.”
And you can see by looking at the context of 2 Corinthians chapter 5, Paul was speaking about every individual here. Part of the Christian’s responsibility in preparing for Judgment Day is to warn others about the terror of the Lord and persuade them to be obedient to Jesus Christ, in whom is the only atonement for sin and who is the only Mediator whereby one can be justified before God. Apart from Him all are dead in sin as God’s enemies; and none can be reconciled and made alive to God without obeying His Gospel and living to righteousness in obedience to His Word.
It is a great delusion to believe, as many do, that Christians will not be judged by the same criteria that everyone else will be judged by. It is thus a great delusion to believe that works which will send a non-Christian to hell will not send a Christian to hell also who does the same works. This is a common deception in the realm of professing Christianity. Though I can see how an argument might be made that the timing of the judgment of those whom God has decided to save might differ from the timing of the judgment of those whom God has decided to condemn to hell, God’s grace before His throne of judgment will only be towards those who repented of their sins and wholeheartedly pursued righteousness through Jesus Christ according to the light they had until the end.
A faith that saves is obedient. Even the thief on the cross who came to believe in Jesus right before he died still walked in such a faith. If he had not confessed his just condemnation over his deeds and stood on Jesus’ side and called on Him for mercy like he essentially did, Jesus would not have told him that he would be with Him in paradise that day.
Romans 2:4-11 says: “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God.”
We see again here that God deals with all people by the same criteria. He will save or condemn each person accordingly. If you look at Matthew 25:31-46, where Jesus speaks of the sheep and the goats, the sheep needed to do what they did to be saved; and the goats are damned for not doing what the sheep did! If God gave them all strict justice, they’d all go to hell. But God is gracious and willing to show mercy to those who will turn to walk in the light of His Word (i.e. obey Him by walking in the conditions of His covenant in Christ). We must exercise true faith in Christ which sides with Him, comes into line with His purpose, and regards His people as our own.
Hebrews 11:24-26: “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”
It is clear in Scripture that sin is never profitable and every deviation from God’s instruction has consequences. It is great to have more time to understand His whole counsel, walk in it, and continue in it for a great while. But obviously more time, more opportunities, and more understanding (more potential to understand is probably even more accurate) also brings greater accountability. Dying in sin and willful disobedience to the light of God’s truth surely is where the line to damnation has been crossed.
We should consider in all our decisions that we are not only going to give an account to God for them, but we are also conditioning ourselves for future decisions. Whatever profit we might be temporarily getting, or that we might think we’re getting, from not doing what is right in God’s eyes will surely be regretted. Vice-versa when it comes to suffering for truth. One’s feelings and circumstances now are not the true reference point whereby we should judge our decisions. That will be Judgment Day!
Those who will have a happy Judgment Day will have known sorrow in life for making the choices they needed to make to have a favorable Judgment Day. Even the thief on the cross lost respect and suffered humiliation before that crowd by siding with Jesus and became an object of scorn and derision more than he already was in being crucified. And those who will be damned on Judgment Day surely counted themselves happy at the moment to have held onto sin somehow and avoided the suffering necessary to wholeheartedly pursue righteousness before God. But God will turn their laughter into mourning on Judgment Day, even if He didn’t do so before (like He has been known to do) and even if they died in peace in old age, having lived a basically happy, comfortable life.
Luke 6:20-26 says: “And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”
Consider then the magnitude of importance in relation to intellectual honesty. Refusal to acknowledge God’s existence, refusal to look upon and acknowledge the evidence of the Bible and history which connects God to being the God of the Bible and the Father of Jesus Christ, refusal to agree with clear Biblical evidence regarding a certain doctrine, tradition, action, or other topic, refusal to acknowledge one’s own obligations in relation to these things, etc. Such will damn a person on Judgment Day- especially when blatant dishonesty, cowardice, and/or pleasure in any form of sin was involved with such refusal. No one can be forgiven unless they acknowledge their Creator as He has revealed Himself and agree with His verdicts concerning what is righteous and unrighteous, clean and unclean, holy and profane, etc. and turn to walk in the light of this evidence.
Revelation 7:13-15 says: “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”
But what if you in any way denied your need to be made clean before God? Or what if you called good, evil; and evil, good? And what if you were attached to the darkness and uncleanness which defiled you? Isaiah 5:20-21 says “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”
Consider also the importance of knowing and understanding the whole counsel of God in the Bible. How much Scripture do we want to risk standing before God ignorant of, since “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says? How much of this do we want to risk not getting the fullest understanding from which we might have gained and walked in the light thereof? And at what point do we want to risk being regarded as enemies of God out of line with Him due to insufficient regard for His Word?
Consider also how God is no respecter of persons. We ought to make sure that we are not seeking exceptions for ourselves due to our natural advantages or disadvantages. No one will be saved due to their background. No one has any excuse for taking shortcuts around righteousness due to real or perceived oppression of their ancestors; or due to any real or perceived disadvantages which they believe they have inherited. Consider also how racial ties, natural family ties, and other associations could lead someone into valuing such associations over God’s commandments. Such inordinate affection leads to partaking in sin directly, as well as partaking in sin through making villains out of people for doing right; or making heroes out of people who were in the wrong. When there is a conflict between one of your family, race, or whatever other camp you are with someone from another group, you’d better judge righteously and take the side of the one in the right; and stand against the one in the wrong. Otherwise, you will have a super abundant weight of regret for this on Judgment Day when you are found out of line with God and cast into hell as a respecter of persons (see Proverbs 17:15).
In Jude 14-15 we read: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these (i.e. mockers of God, which the Book of Jude is speaking of), saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
A note then about something related to the context of Jude 14-15. Enoch spoke these words especially about the Lord’s ultimate coming, but they were fulfilled in some measure by the flood which eventually happened in Noah’s time, several centuries later. Given the common long lifespans then, this was something which some who heard Enoch speak likely lived to experience. The Lord has throughout history given previews of Christ’s 2nd coming where He will assume His great power over the world, reign in righteousness, and destroy the wicked in judgment. The flood in Noah’s time was a great, notable example of such a preview. Christ didn’t personally come to reign, but His hand was in the flood in a special, extraordinary way. Another such example is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis chapter 19. Another obvious example is the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70. Jesus spoke about this in His discourse on the Mount of Olives which is recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. He spoke of His coming to judge Jerusalem in a way which parallels to a great extent His second coming and the end of the age. Some of the things He said in this discourse apply to the destruction of Jerusalem, in which He would be involved in a special, extraordinary way. And other things He said here are directly applicable to His 2nd coming. Yet many of the things He says here apply to both events, since there are great parallels and similarities between the two events. He left it to us to use our God-given intellect and apply common sense to discern what applies to each event; and to take it all for what it is worth in the context in which it was and/or will be fulfilled. The arrangement of events which left the Temple utterly destroyed, with not one stone left upon another; and how guilty Jerusalem was so utterly given over to horrible, unspeakable affliction gives even greater assurance about Christ’s 2nd coming happening in the manner which the Bible says it will happen. It also proves the truth of 2 Peter 2:9 “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” All these things, and any other special judgments which Christ has given or might yet give, are ultimately loving, merciful actions to warn man to fear Him and give glory to the true God to prepare for His second coming and the ultimate Day of Judgment.
And that will be a horrible day for those who are not prepared. A lot of people take comfort in the fact that Christ will come back to rule and reign in judgment. It should be considered that when He returns, He will lay down the law by putting down evil and upholding righteousness as the Judge of all mankind. And that should terrify everyone who is not wholeheartedly seeking Him and striving to live in line with His righteous ways here and now (and that includes most professing Christians). Only those who are not at enmity with His reign, by currently living so that He’d have no controversy with them if He came back today or if they were to die today, ought to take comfort in Christ’s 2nd coming.
Amos 5:18-20 says: “Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. 19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. 20 Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?”
Matthew 24:29-31: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
There was this song back in the 2000s about standing before Jesus and being overjoyed at His presence. It became very popular, not just among the contemporary Christian music crowd, it even crossed over into significant mainstream music popularity. It implicitly says that people can assume a happy Judgment Day. Its popularity shows the deadly misconception that the professing Christian world, and the world as a whole, has of Jesus. They don’t see Him as the utterly holy, uncompromising authority figure that He in truth is. They see Him as an all-loving, humanistic figure whose primary purpose is to make them happy and blessed. Or they see Him as someone who’d never harm anyone except for those whom they consider the worst of the worst villains. The false conception many have of Jesus being an effeminate, hippie figure with long hair goes hand in hand with these things. Mountains of Scripture have to be ignored for such a picture to be maintained.
Hebrews 1:8-9: “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity (lawlessness); therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
Just consider Jesus cleansing the Temple. To anyone who had been partaking in the selling, buying, or money-changing in the Temple; and even to anyone who was not already mourning over that and doing what they could to stand against that, Jesus cleansing the Temple would have been a horrible, horrible sight! When He comes back in glory to reign, it will be the Temple cleansing times one billion. He will prove that He is not mocked and that those who persist in their resistance to Him are fools who imagined a mischievous device which they are not able to perform. He will demonstrate the utterly evil and foolish nature of being His enemy by casting down His enemies in a show of terror which no man will be able to stand before.
Every person has an appointment with the Holy God of the Bible wherein he or she will be judged for their works in the light of God’s truth. While there is breath, there is a way for all to come into line with God through the atoning blood which Christ shed on the cross by exercising wholehearted repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (who is the Lord and Savior- and must be received for everything that He is in order to be properly received). Preparation for that appointment will be closed to each of us when we die or when Christ comes back in person (if we are yet alive when that happens). Our eternity will surely depend on the outcome of that judgment. God will surely not save those who lived in sin by refusing to walk in the light they had in terms of knowledge of His expectations. There will also surely be consequences of some kind for each one of our words and actions, even for those whom God saves and even though it is hard to know exactly what those will be and how it will all happen.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
Romans 14:10b-12: “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:9-10: “Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.10 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.”
As the Niagara River (between the Canadian Province of Ontario and the American State of New York) flows towards the terrifying, inevitable monstrous experience that is Niagara Falls, everyone on earth is heading to an inevitable Day of Judgment before God! To most this will be a nightmare, as their rebellion and enmity towards God, which they had justified and continued in, will cause them to be swept away into the eternal hell fire in a torrent of God’s unstoppable wrath. If you want to picture the narrow way of Christianity, consider Niagara Falls and the prospect of surviving a trip over those falls. And if you are not diligent to prepare to meet God, you surely won’t have a favorable Judgment Day. Yet if you are as diligent as you ought to be, and you really do follow His instructions in the Bible wholeheartedly, you will surely make it despite the immense difficulty. It is wise to choose to live in light of this great and ultimate day. Don’t take any chances regarding what you believe about God nor about any topic related to worship and related to morality. Don’t take any chances by not acting upon the truth you know and the right which you know you ought to do. To not live in light of Judgment Day is the ultimate form of denial. Let all take warning.
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]