Summary: 1. The judgment means that justice will be done. 2. The judgment means that all sentences will be final 3. We can face the judgment with confidence.
Why doesn’t God do something about the evil in the world?” How many times have you heard that question asked? But when you respond to that question by saying, “God will do something about the evil in the world; there will be a judgment when God will reward righteousness and punish evil,” people don’t want to hear about it. They want God to do something about the evil in the world, but they do not want to think about a judgment! The Bible explains that God will do something about the injustice and suffering in the world, and that there is a day of reckoning. The good news is that no one is going to get by with anything.
The first point is: The judgment means that justice will be done. I believe in the judgment! I believe, as the Apostle’s Creed states, that Jesus Christ, who has ascended to the Father will soon come to judge the living and the dead. The Bible tells us that God is a God of justice and that we are ultimately responsible to Him. In the Old Testament, the prophet Daniel tells about the vision God gave him of the final judgment. It is a vision so awesome and terrible that Daniel was in shock. He writes: “As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9-10).
To you and I will come the day when we see with our own eyes what Daniel saw, only it will not be in a vision, but solemn reality, and we will tremble before the awesome Judge. For the Bible says, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). We read in the book of Romans: “For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living... For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’” (Romans 14:9-11). You and I will stand in naked honesty to give an account of our lives before the One on the burning throne. The Bible tells us that not only will every deed and word be recorded, but every idle thought, and they will all be weighed in the balances of God’s justice.
God, in his goodness and patience, will give us every opportunity before that time to repent and turn to Him. He will provide opportunities for us to find him, live for him and turn our lives around so that we live out our days in the joy of obedience. He is patient with us, wanting each person to have every possible opportunity to face the judgment with confidence. But after God has given us every opportunity, and we still refuse his offer of love and grace, then we alone will have to answer for our decision. The Bible says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Hebrews 10:26). But also hear the pleading of God as he spoke through the prophet Ezekiel: “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die...?’” (Ezekiel 33:11).
Perhaps you will say: “But I believe in a God of love!” The Bible says, “Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God....” (Romans 11:22). Yes, God is a God of love, and because he is a God of love he must judge sin. Because he loves you and cares for you he will bring into judgment all that has been done against you. He will right all the wrongs of the world. That is why the Bible can say, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). If there is no judgment then the atrocities of the world will go unnoticed, unchallenged and unpunished.