Summary: When we cry out "It's not fair," we are forgetting that God has fixed a day when He will judge the world in righteousness. Followers of the Christ must look to Him to make right the wrong that now permeates the world.

“[God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” [1]

Sexually frustrated men driving vans on city sidewalks intent on killing innocent and helpless women, out-of-control students terrorising schools and slaughtering classmates, politicians bending the rules to enrich themselves, drug dealers selling deadly drugs to our children—I’m not sure how much more of these news stories we can take. Our world seems to lurch from tragedy-to-tragedy, shooting-to-shooting, murder-to-murder, grief-to-grief. With each new story detailing what seems to be senseless violence or gratuitous degradation, we hear one universal cry—“life isn’t fair.”

You know what? Life isn’t fair! Innocent people are taken far too soon. Bullies belittle those who should never be tormented by their hurtful torment. Principles are sacrificed to the gods of tolerance and niceness. The Psalmist was correct when he wrote of God’s people,

“For your sake we are killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

[PSALM 44:22]

It’s almost a certainty that you learned quite early in life to protest, “It’s not fair!” No doubt you squealed in anger “It’s not fair!” to your father or to your mother when a sibling got a treat and you didn’t, or when you were not allowed to attend a concert that all your friends were attending. When you were passed over for some recognition at school or even in the church, you may have seethed and muttered the complaint of the perpetually injured, the cry of contemporary victimhood—“It’s not fair!” All your disappointments during childhood were preparing you for the day when adulthood would arrive, and you would be well-trained to protest, “It’s not fair!”

What great disappointment finally, firmly introduced you to the imbalanced scales of life? Was it a major tragedy? A car wreck that left you bereft of family or friends? Did you experience the death of a child for which you had long prayed? Perhaps it was not tragedy in that particular dreadful fashion; perhaps friends forgot you, or a teacher ignored you, or an adult abused you and you protested in your disappointment, “It’s not fair!” Did a friend invite you to her wedding when your own marriage was being torn apart, and you wept, crying, “It’s not fair!”

Have you ever prayed the psalmist’s prayer? “How long, O Lord, will you look on” [PSALM 35:17]? When did you first ask the question asked by the prophet so many years ago, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper” [JEREMIAH 12:1]? Why, indeed? Life is not fair! Drug dealers get rich, feeding on the death of men and women whom we know. Sex offenders are not held to account. Politicians continue to lie their way into office, far too many of them exposed as crooks. Murderers are not called to account for their misdeeds. And among the churches, charlatans weasel their way into positions of authority and destroy the Zion of God. Hypocrites abound, and we question God. How long will injustice flourish? Where is God in all this? Is He unable to put an end to the evil that seems to plague our world?

God’s answer to our anguished cry is direct: He will not wait as long as one might think! Scripture reveals a somber promise: “[God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world” [ACTS 17:31]. God is not sitting idly by; He is not twiddling his thumbs or mindlessly passing worry beads through His fingers as He helplessly watches evil run rampant throughout the length and breadth of the land. Every passing day brings us closer to the day in which God will judge all mankind. A Judgment Day has been chosen; the hour is marked, and the moment reserved. Divine judgement is not merely a possibility—it is stark reality.

JUDGEMENT DAY — Judgement Day! Now, there is an unpopular term. We intuitively dislike even the suggestion of a day of reckoning, which is ironic. We disdain judgement, but we value justice; however, justice is impossible without judgement. For that reason, the Word of God reminds us, “We must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” [2 CORINTHIANS 5:10].

I must answer for the words I have spoken, precisely as the Master cautioned. It was while Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees on one particular occasion that He delivered this warning, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” [MATTHEW 12:33-37].

Just as I am accountable for what I say, so I am accountable even for my thoughts. Martin Luther was correct when he said that he could not stop the birds from flying over his head, but he could stop them from roosting in his hair. Just so, illicit, immoral thoughts will continue flitting into my consciousness, but I don’t have to entertain them by dwelling on them. I don’t have to focus on them. The Psalmist raised this very issue when he wrote:

“If we had forgotten the name of our God

or spread out our hands to a foreign god,

would not God discover this?

For he knows the secrets of the heart.”

[PSALM 44:20-21]

Perhaps you will recall the statement penned by the Apostle Paul when discussing the actions of Gentiles who do not recognise the Law. Paul wrote, “Whenever the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature the things required by the law, these who do not have the law are a law to themselves. They show that the work of the law is written in their hearts, as their conscience bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or else defend them, on the day when God will judge the secrets of human hearts, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus” [ROMANS 2:14-16 NET BIBLE].

Christians recognise that there must be a judgement; they realise this because each time they read the Word, they are being judged. Do you recall this cautionary statement found in the Letter to Hebrew Christians? “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” [HEBREWS 4:12]. Reading the Word of God exposes us to ourselves, and the exposure testifies to what is coming. Such knowledge makes us uneasy.

Judgement Day will not be as many imagine. For many Christians, they imagine that all mankind will be assembled before the Lord God. There, their lives will be weighed against the perfection of Christ. Those who fail to match up to divine perfection will be condemned; those whose good deeds outweigh their bad deeds will be accepted. Nothing could be farther from truth if the Word of God is our standard. In other words, we can either appeal to human imagination, or we can ask what God has said concerning His judgement.

Many people are unaware that the Word of God speaks of multiple judgements, some already past and some which still lie ahead. The first judgement that has an impact in the life of each individual is already past, it is God’s judgement of sin at the Cross of Christ. By His crucifixion, the Lord Jesus judged sin. Recall the prophetic words penned by Isaiah:

“Surely he has borne our griefs

and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed him stricken,

smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned—every one—to his own way;

and the LORD has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.”

[ISAIAH 53:4-6]

Writing the Christians gathered in Rome, the Apostle Paul spoke of this divine judgement. “God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” [ROMANS 8:2b-4].

One Friday, a day unlike any day in all history, that one day that saw night twice, the Son of God was crucified. No man took His life from Him; rather, the Son of God gave His life as a sacrifice, allowing Himself to be killed in the most ignominious way imaginable. He was humiliated, His life surrendered in a public spectacle. Midst the flies and the curses and the rattling dice, He died. With no tender hands to wipe the death dew from His brow, and with no tender words to soothe His spirit. He tasted death for every man; He died for our sin; He gave Himself for you and for me. Is there anyone here so brutish that he or she can look on that death and walk away untouched?

Was it for crimes that I had done, He groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity, grace unknown, and love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide, and shut his glories in,

When Christ the Mighty Maker died, for man, the creature’s sin. [2]

Again, we are told that God will judge the nations at the end of the Great Tribulation. This will be an awful judgement for lost people who pass through of the Great Tribulation; the condition of the heart will have been revealed through the actions of those in the world in that day. And though people may fear the antichrist and refuse to jeopardise their lives for the cause of Christ, the Lord of Glory will nevertheless hold people accountable for their choices at that time, even as we are accountable for our choices in this day. All peoples remaining alive at the conclusion of those awful days shall give an account to the Saviour.

The Master instructed His disciples as recorded in the first Gospel. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me no food, I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” [MATTHEW 25:31-46].

On a more positive note, there shall be a judgement of the redeemed. This judgement immediately follows the Rapture; the faithful will have been gathered to Christ Who redeemed them. At that time, they shall be judged by Christ the glorious Lord. This is not a judgement to determine the spiritual disposition of the saved; it is a judgement for distributing eternal rewards. We read of this judgement in Paul’s First Letter to the saints in Corinth. Paul writes, “No one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” [1 CORINTHIANS 3:11-15].

In the Second Letter to this congregation, Paul reveals more concerning this judgement when he writes, “We are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” [2 CORINTHIANS 5:6-10].

This judgement is actually the fulfilment of hope for the people of God. It is the consummation of the perfecting work which the Lord has now begun in His people. This is the culmination of which John has written. “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world” [1 JOHN 4:17].

I turn our attention to a dark time of judgement, a time so awful that the mind naturally rebels. Whenever we think of divine judgement, we almost always think of the Last Judgement, that awful final assize when all the lost must appear before the Great White Throne. The devil and his angels shall have been judged and cast into the lake of fire. Following this judgement of the evil one and his minions, comes that frightful time when the lost must hear the formal sentence pronounced.

John writes of that dire, frightful day in the final book of the Bible. The Revelator writes, “I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” [REVELATION 20:11-15].

I am so grateful that I can affirm that no redeemed individual will be in that judgement. Peter informs the godly, “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment” [2 PETER 2:9]. This divine promise given through Peter is an iteration of Paul’s testimony that, “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” [1 THESSALONIANS 5:9]. Each follower of the Saviour can give glory to Christ for this divine promise, this mercy.

JUDGEMENT DAY IS FIXED — “[God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” This is the first truth that we must grasp. I don’t mean to imply that we are simply to give mental ascent to this truth—that is a no-brainer! To acknowledge that God’s Day of Judgement is fixed is to recognise that all of life must be lived in the shadow of what is certain. Allowing the truth of a fixed Judgement Day to grip our mind is to ensure that we will seek to honour God in our conduct, in our speech, in every facet of life

The perception among earth-dwellers is that God won’t judge mankind. This attitude is prominently displayed in Peter’s warning against presumption against the Lord and His judgement. “This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’ For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

“But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” [2 PETER 3:1-10 NASB95]

Isaiah wrote of that dreadful day, warning readers even before the Christ was born.

“The LORD of hosts has a day

against all that is proud and lofty,

against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low.”

[ISAIAH 2:12]

God has a day, a day when those who are full of themselves shall be brought low.

“[God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world.” Perhaps this promise doesn’t matter to some; perhaps it doesn’t even register on the scale of your concerns. Though I have never known such people, I suppose there are people who feel that life is fair and just. I’ve never quite been able to convince myself that life is fair. Like many of you, I’ve struggled with the unfairness of life. There are people who fight a daily battle with anger. Some have been robbed—evil people pilfered days they would have enjoyed with their loved ones.

A parishioner in Dallas County phoned one evening to weep out his confusion and his rage at the unfairness of life. His son, a young man just starting life and with a promising future, had stopped to assist a motorist who appeared to be in trouble on the Stemmons Freeway. The motorist that young man had stopped to help pulled a gun and demanded the keys to the car the young man was driving that evening. When the keys were not yielded in timely fashion, that evil man shot and killed the young man, leaving his father to arrange for a funeral and to attempt to make sense of the violence that had robbed him of his son. There was nothing “fair” about that.

Multitudes have surrendered their loved ones to the cold embrace of the death angel far too early; and multiplied thousands more will do so as the world continues its circuit around the sun. There was nothing fair about the sentence announced by the physician or by the surgeon. The diagnosis was nothing short of a death sentence, and it was far too early for such a pronouncement—it is always too early to hear such a sentence. These dear people feel robbed, bereft of love they once shared. Their dreams are shattered; rather than a future together, they are now forced to plan a funeral and often they wonder how they will be able to survive. There is nothing “fair” in what they are forced to face.

I know a little boy who awakened on his first day of school to hear the awful words that would never be erased from his memory: “I don’t give a damn about you or about those boys.” With that, his mother walked out the front door and was forever gone from his life. He would struggle to make sense of what was wrong with him that she didn’t love him, why she would leave him and his brother. There was nothing “fair” about a little boy having to face that.

A lovely woman, a mother of wonderful children, had her hopes for a future together ripped from her when her husband, the man she loved, chose to surrender to his own wanton desires rather than honouring the vows he made before God. Now, she will struggle to be a mother and a father to the children God entrusted to them; she will labour to make sense of how it is that any man could walk away from the family he had fathered, unconcerned for the welfare of his children or the wife of his youth. There is nothing “fair” about what she will face.

I remember walking through the Tenderloin District of San Francisco one dark evening. Fellow believers accompanied me as I visited a needy family living in that district. Their little nine-month-old son was in need of basic supplies, and the family needed food. My colleagues refused to allow me to visit in that district without their presence. As we visited, for the first time in my life, walking through that district, I witnessed children, twelve-year-old girls, prostituting themselves. Undoubtedly, some of these children had been sexually abused at home; others had been betrayed by perverted individuals who saw them as playthings to be used and abused so they could enrich themselves. Too often, these young children must have felt this was all they had left. There was nothing “fair” in what I witnessed that dark night or on subsequent trips evangelising in that vast concrete jungle as we sought to rescue some of these children.

Fairness? There is little fairness in this world. I know that we are each responsible for the choices we make; however, I realise that Satan tempts us, and demonic powers deceive us. As the Apostle of Love has written, “We know that … the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” [1 JOHN 5:19b]. I recognise that the power of the wicked one is great, turning many from the path of righteousness.

When a drunk driver plowed into my granddad, injuring him and ensuring that his life was shortened, I know that man was responsible for his own drunkenness. However, someone sold him the liquor. Someone distilled that booze knowing that it would earn money at the expense of providing for a family. I know that politicians were confident that they could suck more money from the pockets of weak-willed individuals so that they could enrich themselves. It is the same political calculus that imagines that taxing cannabis will enrich public coffers so that they can have more money to manipulate the public into voting for them, thus ensuring they maintain power. And behind all this, is the wicked one who seeks to dethrone the Lord God and enthrone himself.

I know that my son made his own decisions and that the consequences for him are dire. However, I also know that Satan tempted him through well-meaning social workers who told him that he could make his own choices even as a young teen. I know that Satan used adults in positions of authority who questioned the need for strictness in the home, telling him that he could decide for himself. I want to see the wicked one pay for the injury he imposed on our family. I want to see justice prevail on the earth.

I want to witness the devil as he at last pays for seducing our children and our grandchildren to turn from the path of righteousness as they sampled the sordid slop that parades as pleasure in this broken world. When second and third generations turn from pursuing the Lord God because they succumbed to demonic seduction, I want those unseen powers to pay for the horror of their enticement.

I want to see the old serpent pay for the multiplied tears that have been shed because he drove a father to exalt his own interests above the welfare of his children and above the welfare of his wife. I know that man is responsible for his choices; but I also know that he was seduced by powerful forces that must pay. The knowledge that he was seduced does not excuse his behaviour, but evil must be judged.

I want to be present when that destroyer of all that is good and holy is made to pay for the sorrow imposed on children who have been forced into prostitution. I want to witness that arch deceiver when he is called before the Living God to answer for degrading young women by stripping them so that filthy eyes could watch them for their own perverted pleasure, so that young men would be drawn into looking at pornography as though it was normal. I want to see goodness and holiness spread throughout the earth when Satan is at last removed.

I’m ready to see Satan pay for the evil that he has imposed on our world. I look forward to the day when I stand next to those who have loved God and paid dearly for their devotion to Him. Together, we will see the devil bound and chained and cast into the lake of fire. I’m ready to see righteousness prevail over the earth. This is the promise of God as recorded in the text: “[God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world” [ACTS 17:31].

JUDGEMENT DAY WILL BE CONDUCTED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS — “[God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness.” The Lord God will have the final word. Perhaps you have heard this warning that was given by the Psalmist?

“God is a righteous judge,

a God who is angry with sinners every day.”

[PSALM 7:11 ISV]

We don’t hear much concerning God’s anger in this day, though we should. Pulpits are virtually silent concerning the wrath of God. However, in this Psalm, we are informed that the Living God, the Righteous Judge, “is angry with sinners every day.” The thought of God being angry is perhaps stunning in this day—at least it should be shocking!

The words of the Psalmist anticipate something that was written in the Prophecy of Nahum. This ancient prophet revealed God’s awesome character when he wrote,

“The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;

the LORD takes vengeance

and is fierce in wrath.

The LORD takes vengeance against his foes;

he is furious with his enemies.”


It is startling for many people to read that “[The LORD] is furious with His enemies.” This is startling because our modern society has crafted a sympathetic, benevolent god that would never make us feel bad about ourselves. The reality concerning God is quite different.

Yes, we are informed,

“God is a righteous judge,

and a God who feels indignation every day.”

[PSALM 7:11]

This revelation is given as though anticipating Nahum’s revelations of God’s wrath.

“The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;

the LORD is avenging and wrathful;

the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries

and keeps wrath for his enemies.”

[NAHUM 1:2]

And again, when he writes,

“Who can stand before his indignation?

Who can endure the heat of his anger?

His wrath is poured out like fire,

and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.”

[NAHUM 1:6]

When God at last judges mankind, there will be no complaints concerning His justice. There will be no woeful cries from sinners bleating out, “That’s not fair!” after they have stood before the Living God. I note a constant refrain from the Psalmist concerning God’s judgement. Listen to just a few portions of the Word as presented in the Psalms.

“[The LORD] comes to judge the earth,

He will judge the world with righteousness;

and the peoples with equity.

[PSALM 98:9]

Again, the Psalmist writes,

“[The LORD] comes to judge the earth,

He will judge the world in righteousness,

and the peoples in His faithfulness.”

[PSALM 96:13]

Once more, we read in the Psalms,

“The LORD sits enthroned forever;

he has established his throne for justice,

and he judges the world with righteousness;

he judges the peoples with uprightness.”

[PSALM 9:7-8]

There will be no question concerning fairness when the LORD judges. There will be agreement that God has judged justly. The world will be held to a perfect standard, a standard of perfect righteousness, and there will be no appeal from that standard.

We read the words of the Revelator who described what he saw of that awesome day when the lost must give an account of their lives, and we rightly tremble. The Revelator has written. “I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” [REVELATION 20:11-15].

What can the lost say? They will not be judged on the Lord’s perception of their actions. They will be judged “by what [is] written in the books, according to what they had done.” Christ has no need for someone to tell Him what the wicked have done; their deeds have been recorded as they were performed. The lost are judged in righteousness. What they meant to do, what they may have thought of doing, is immaterial. Those who foolishly said, “I’ll trust in my good deeds,” will receive their wish. What they imagined would turn to their benefit will turn into an eternal nightmare as they learn that their best always falls short of divine perfection.

The Son of God spoke a dreadful warning. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” [MATTHEW 7:21-23].

CHRIST THE LORD WILL PRESIDE OVER JUDGEMENT DAY — “[God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed.”

Followers of Christ hold to this promise—Jesus will forever balance the scales of justice. A day is coming, sooner than we might expect, in which we will see the devil pay for all the evil he has inflicted upon the world. Satan, and all who follow him, will hear the awful sentence: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” [MATTHEW 25:41]. Justice will prevail, though the thought is painful for the moment.

I caution against any of us demanding God’s judgement. If we are not in the way of the Lord, we are placing ourselves squarely in line for judgement when we demand that He judge; and that should give us pause to ensure that we seek His honour in all things. We need to remember that our unsaved children are even now under judgement. When God judges, our lost children will be judged. Family members who have failed to receive Christ as Master, or friends who have trifled with the Faith in order to make a false profession, will be among those who are judged at the return of the Son of God. Our hearts must be moved with compassion, impelling us to plead with those we love, begging them to believe the message of life while it is day.

We who follow the Lord do want to see righteousness prevail upon the earth. We want to see Christ glorified in His saints. However, at this time, our enthusiasm is tempered by the knowledge that many—even many whom we love dearly—are lost. The knowledge that people we know have never received Christ as Master over their life must break our hearts. That knowledge must impel us to pray, drive us to speak often of our love for lost friends and family members who are unsaved as we plead with them to believe the message of life.

I know that we struggle to speak openly with family and friends who are far from Christ. None of us are immune to this pressure; each of us is conscious of the possibility that we may say something that offends others. None of us want to dishonour the Lord, especially when it may have a negative impact on those we love. We are often hesitant to speak because we don’t want to offend, we don’t want to “push them away” from the Saviour or from ourselves. However, we must understand that these relationships are precious only for time. Those whom we love and who are lost, will be separated from the love of God and from us for all eternity. If we are uncomfortable speaking with them, then let us plead with the Lord to make them uncomfortable, to disturb their heart, to send someone to call them to faith. Our unsaved children cannot stop the prayer of a godly mother, cannot flee from the prayer of a godly father. Our friends whom we love so dearly cannot escape the love of God revealed through our compassion and through the pleas we make of the Saviour.

Here is one feature of our relationship to the Son of God that will encourage us in our prayer life. We know that Christ is coming, and that He will judge the lost at His coming. The Master has told us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” [JOHN 5:25-29].

Because we know He is coming to judge, this knowledge can move us to have compassion for those who must stand before Him. Knowing that our loved ones, knowing that our friends shall be judged, we will be encouraged to pray for them. This knowledge, if we permit it to grip our hearts, will encourage us to plead with the Saviour to send His Spirit to call those we love and those for whom we care to repentance and to life.

Even if those for whom we now plead appear resistant and recalcitrant with obdurate hearts, we can ask the Lord our God who is able to invade the heart bound in the darkest of nights to show mercy by breaking their obdurate hearts and drawing them to life in the Son of God. It is Christ who saves; we are but instruments in His hand; we are His servants fulfilling His will by speaking of Him. With compassion for the lost condition of those we love, let us resolve to ask the Great King to flood their hearts with light. Let us plead with Him to turn them to righteousness. You may be assured that He will hear you, His child, and He will answer.

Outsiders sometimes wonder whether God will judge the wicked. The answer is “Yes!” Unequivocally, Christ will judge the wicked, and that includes you if you have never been born from above. However, you need not stand in that judgement, because Christ the Lord came to set at liberty the most wicked of sinners, and that includes you. We read in the Word of God, “We have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe” [1 TIMOTHY 4:10]. The call is for you to believe in Christ as Master over your life. Scripture promises, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” [ACTS 16:31]. Believe this message, receive this Saviour. Do this and live. Do it now. Amen.

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers, 2001. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[2] Isaac Watts, “Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed?” 1707