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.
Judgment for Those who Trust the Gospel
Scripture describes Christians as facing the last judgment with hope and joy because we will only face grace and mercy and pleasure because Christ has already been judged on our behalf. Justification is the act of God whereby he forgives us of our sin and reckons us as righteous. Our sins have been imputed to him and his righteousness, his perfect obedient life, has been imputed to us. The result is that we are accepted by God and our eternal destiny is secured and guaranteed so we face the last judgment with hope and not fear. The purpose of the last judgment for Christians is twofold: first, to provide demonstrative evidence regarding who is genuinely saved and second, to determine the degrees of reward that Christians will receive. We see this in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10. At the last judgment, Christ will pass judgment on us in two ways, first that our life demonstrates evidence of genuine faith (Mat 7:19-27) and second that each one may receive what is due for what he has done. Paul makes it his aim to “please” Christ because the extent to which one does this corresponds to the measure of rewards that one will receive. Our present-day actions, what the bible calls works of faith , have eternal consequences! All Christians will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive “what is due” for the deeds that they have done in their earthly life. Then those thoughts, words, and actions that are 'works of faith,' as frail and inadequate as the are, will be seen through the perfect obedience of Christ, as perfectly acceptable and result in praise and glory to Christ.