Summary: Since God will judge the wicked, how will He judge?
“Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. ‘ Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the Day of Judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.’”
The question submitted read, “How will God judge the wicked?” I had to interpret the intent of my interlocutor. It was possible that the one submitting the question was asking, “What is the physical setting of the Judgement of the wicked?” It is conceivable that the questioner was wondering as to the sentencing parameters. However, I assume the individual was asking the basis for judgement.
The simplest answer is that God judges mankind because of lack of faith in the One whom He has provided to bear sin. This is the clear declaration of the Word. For instance, we read, “Whoever believes in [Jesus, the Son of God] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” [JOHN 3:18]. We see that failure to believe equates condemnation now.
Again, John writes, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” [JOHN 3:36]. Again, failure to believe the Son means that the one not believing is already an object of God’s wrath.
There is yet another portion of the Word to give us pause. The author of the Letter to Hebrew Christians asked a rhetorical question that is positively frightful in its implication. He asked, “If we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay’” [HEBREWS 10:26-30a]. The author followed this assessment with the terrifying warning, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” [HEBREWS 10:31].
I take no pleasure in announcing the condemnation of sinners. The love of Christ constrains me to echo the words spoken by Peter before the Jewish Council, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” [ACTS 4:12]. No one can assume that she can avoid the warning announced in Scripture. Consider the warning that is spoken to those who trifle with the Word! “Since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation [HEBREWS 2:2, 3]?
However, I believe my questioner was asking clarification for the basis of pronouncing judgement. The Master addressed that matter during His days in the flesh. Listen to this response to questions He received on one occasion. Approached by disciples of John the Baptist for assurance of His Person and ministry, Jesus not only assured them of who He was, but He continued by addressing the perpetual crowd that surrounded Him wherever He went.
“What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,
“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’
“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.