Summary: Foreigners in a Foreign Land Living in Light of Future Judgmen
Foreigners in a Foreign Land
Living in Light of Future Judgment
We are in the first of three mini series in 1 Peter, “Foreigners in a Foreign Land” (1.1-2.10) where we have been looking at what Peter says about our identity, our salvation, our hope, and holy living. In the next couple of weeks, we will begin a series called “Living on Mission in a Foreign Land” (2.11-4.11) and then finish in the fall with, “The Church in a Foreign Land” (4.12-5.14). Today's message is “Living in Light of Future Judgment.”
Big idea – We are to live our lives in light of God's future judgment.
Looking at God's judgment of humanity gives a weightiness to our time together. We are looking at the matter of life and death; eternal joy and eternal torment. I want us to feel the weight of that this morning. This is one reason why I said a couple of weeks ago we are not here to entertain, to make light of eternal truths.
Lets review where we have been. Peter has emphasized what God has done in our lives through his sovereign grace - we are chosen by God; he has caused us to be born again; and we are being guarded by God's power through faith. Peter is demonstrating to suffering Christians that salvation is the work of God – he has caused them to be born again and he is presently sustaining them through their suffering. God has not abandoned them, he is with them, and he is keeping them. Last week we looked at the main point of this passage, 'conduct your lives with fear because God judges impartially, and because he has ransomed them from their former sinful lives. This fear is a fear that we will live un-transformed lives, giving evidence that we do not have genuine saving faith. It is the fear you feel when we are on the top of one of the mountains across the bay and a storm comes in too quickly for you to come down safely. You are not dressed for weather so you look for a safe place, a refuge, to wait out the storm. You find a place in the cleft of some rocks to seek refuge. The storm comes raging in, the temperature drops, rain and hail is coming down hard, and the wind is gusting fifty miles an hour. You are safe in the cleft of the rocks and know if you leave that cleft it will mean certain death from exposure. That is the kind of fear Peter is talking about. I am not saying we are saved by works. We are saved by grace through faith and that is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works lest anyone boast in their own efforts. Faith is the invisible evidence of God's work in salvation; spiritual growth and sanctification are the visible evidence of God's work in salvation. Today I want to look at what he means by God who judges impartially according to each one's deeds or works.
Judgment for For Those Who Reject the Gospel
There will be one final judgment where all humanity will be brought before the presence of Christ who will judge us all based upon our works. Let's look at a passage that describes this judgment, Revelation 20:11-15. The great white throne is the judgment seat of Christ. The “judgment seat” was a tribunal bench in the Roman court, where the governor or other high official sat making judicial judgments and passing sentence. There are books and then there is the book of life. The books are the records of all our works, our thoughts, our words, and day to day actions; the book of life contains the names of Christians written by God before the foundation of the world. The dead are judged by what is written in the books according to what they have done. Those whose names are not written in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire, a picture of hell, for all eternity. There will be degrees of punishment to the degree of evil they committed in their lives. For those who have rejected Christ this day will be a day of dread and terror. In contrast those who trust Christ will face the last judgment with God as a Father who himself has secured their eternal destiny.