Summary: God’s judgment is fair and impartial even though it will be an awful experience to face his wrath and fury.
Grace and Sin’s Judgment Part II
I. God’s Judgment On Sin (continued)
A. It may seem Paul belabors the subject of God’s judgment, but spending some time on this matter and establishing a firm footing in this area magnifies the grace of God as well as helps us remember there is a divine person we must answer to.
B. In verse 6, Paul reminds us God will judge all people.
C. Those who have no relationship with God go about their everyday activities with little or no thought of having to answer to God. A part of God’s judgment will be meted out on sinners.
1. Since they have not committed their life to him, and he is therefore not part of their daily thoughts, they live with reckless abandon.
2. Life is about them, enhancing their image, getting ahead, accumulating possessions, investing wisely for the future and having a family.
3. Unlike the believer, all of these and other activities are carried out with self in mind.
4. This is not to say a thought of God or some responsibility factor never enters their mind, but they do not let such thoughts govern their actions-they do not consult God about decisions they make.
5. At the end of their lives or at the end of time at the Great White Throne Judgment (depending on one’s view of when we actually stand before God), they will be given the opportunity to defend their actions.
6. Jesus himself warned about such a lifestyle when he spoke of gaining the whole world but losing one’s soul. This statement was followed by the warning of his coming, along with his angels, to judge all people according to their deeds. (Matthew 16:24-28)
7. The judgment of unbelievers will be according to their works, for there is nothing else for God to judge them by since they have rejected the gift of his Son and the forgiveness that comes through that relationship.
8. Every society has knowledge of an existent moral law. If they did not, they would not establish laws that bring punishment when violated.
9. Since these people do not appear before God in a faith relationship (which would remove the judgment), they must appear on the basis of their good works.
10. Their fate, however, is sealed for they can never live up to God’s ideal which is perfect obedience to his law.
11. Paul will deal later with the fact that no person can be justified by the law even if he could perfectly obey it. (3:20)
12. We are not told how all elements of this judgment scene will play out, but if given the chance, surely these individuals will begin to enumerate all the good things they did in life, hoping they will be sufficient to gain them entrance into heaven. However, such a philosophy-as popular as it is, is destined to fail and represents a huge misunderstanding of how God operates.
D. Believers will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
1. This judgment is quite different for God will not judge us for sin but rather on our deeds.
2. God’s judgment on sinners relegates them to eternal separation from him. They failed to receive his gift.
3. Believers, however, are not under condemnation, though our actions will be considered. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (8:1)
4. God’s gift of salvation does not free us from faithful obedience to him.
5. Our rewards-the amount or dearth of them, will be determined by this judgment.
6. This judgment has nothing to do with whether we enter heaven or hell-that was settled when we decided to follow Christ.
E. Having examined the above two aspects of judgment, we agree with Paul’s line of thought-God will judge all people according to what they have done.
1. All people will stand before God on one of two foundations.
2. They either stand on the foundation of grace or works. The first is secure while the last will crumble.
F. Another aspect of God’s judgment is that the punishment will not be equal for all who have failed to believe-though it will be fair.
1. The eternal destiny will be identical, but the punishment will vary.
2. Those who had great opportunity to trust Christ yet chose to live in open rebellion will receive the greater punishment, while those who had less light will be given fewer stripes.
3. Jesus explains this aspect of judgment when telling the parable of the servants who were left in charge of their master’s household while he was away.
4. The faithful servant will be rewarded, but the servant who acts wickedly because he thinks his master will be gone a long time will be punished.
5. He will be severely punished because he knew what he was supposed to do and did not do it. (Luke 12:47-48)