Summary: Judgment of Believers is not to be feared but should move us to deeds in Christ with confidence.
Sermon: Judgment: Not What You Think Matt 25:31-41 July 6, 2003
The Final Judgment - Trial & Judgment date: Sometime in the very near future
The place: Heaven’s Court
Defense Lawyer: Jesus Christ
You have died and passed from this life. The Rapture has happened and all that was prophesized has been fulfilled. It is the day of your trial and judgment - the final step to eternal life or eternal damnation. Which will it be? As you wait for your trial to begin, you nervously move about in your chair. A thousand thoughts are swirling about in your head and your life is flashing before you -
like a movie in fast forward mode. You cringe in your seat and fear has begun to well up inside you.
That is the image most of us have of the final judgment. We image ourselves in a courtroom. We believe we will stand before God and our lives will be reviewed in great detail, every sin, every good deed. We believe that by proving we had abstained from certain sins, that we went to church, that we were relatively a good person we will get into heave and conversely that the sins revealed on that day will send us to hell. But this image is more an image of the cinema world of movies than it is of the biblical final judgment before God.
In Matthew we find the “parable of the sheep and goats” only it is not truly a parable but a metaphor given by Jesus himself of what judgment day will truly be like. Jesus the son of man will come in all his glory and we will stand before his throne – not in a courtroom. It will be a spectacular place, shining with his glory. And “all the nations [all people] will be gathered before him” at one time. Every person, believer, unbeliever, godly and ungodly alike will stand before him.
Now notice what is not in this picture that Jesus gives us. Satan is not given an opportunity to argue why we belong in hell. There is not TV screen flashing pictures of our lives for everyone to see. Jesus is not standing up there asking us to prove we deserve to go to heaven or not. He already knows. It will be as obvious as it is tell sheep from goats, Syrian sheep from goats. Syrian sheep are white and Syrian goats are black. I mean how much more apparent could it be. There will be no gray areas, no maybes, no opportunity to convince God well you really meant to do such and such, be so and so, no excuses or explanations. The evidence of your life in Christ is contained in the here in now, in the present. It is what you do, today and tomorrow that colors you black or white before Christ.
And Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats. Jesus, the very man, God himself, who came to earthy and died for us will be the final authority. Isn’t it great to know that the One who makes the final decision is the One who loved us enough to die for us? If nothing else that should bring us great comfort when we consider the final judgment. But many carry that thought to far and argue how could a God who loves us that much, condemn us, judge us. God condemned his own angels, Lucifer and the those who followed him to damnation – separation from him. What makes us think he won’t denounce humanity, won’t judge us. No, it is very clear throughout the Bible, Old and New Testament, every man will be judged and sent to either heaven or eternal damnation, of that there is no question!
But, now, here is a really interesting part of this metaphor. The part this is unlike all those stories and images of judgment day we have, the part that might surprise you. There is no mention of sin on judgment day according to Jesus. Divine judgment. God’s judgment will not be based on sin for there is no for the believer there is no sin. Oh, trust me for the unbeliever, they will have to look at the sins of their life revealed continually – to me that would be hell. To have thrust before my face every inquity, every wrong word, every hurt or pain that I cause, every sin of omission and commission, to not have Christ covering me – to me that is eternal punishment. But as Christians we can go before the final judgment with the confidence and boldness of I John 4:17 for 2 cor says God counts no sin against those who are saved. That our sins are as far as the east is from the west. He has forgotten them. And, if they are forgotten they how can they be recanted on judgment day? There will not be a review of our sins on judgment day because we have accepted Jesus Christ as an atonement for our sins.