The final judgment is the event that concludes the history of this present world and ushers in the everlasting kingdom of Christ. Scripture, therefore, has a great deal to say about the judgment day.
That judgment, because it is one day, one event, as we have seen in the previous article, will be universal. All men, angels, and devils shall appear before God to receive from Him the reward of grace or unrighteousness and shall receive it in the body in which they lived and acted unrighteously or righteously.
The universality of the judgment is clearly taught in Scripture. All shall be judged (Matt. 16:27; 25:31-32; Jn. 5:28-29; Rom. 2:5-6; II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:11-14; 22-12). If there are any exceptions at all they are the beast, the false prophet and the devil, who apparently shall be cast into the lake of fire without judgment since their wickedness is already fully manifest (Rev. 19:20; 20:10).
This judgment is be according to works (I Cor. 3:13-15; I Pet. 1:17; Rev. 2:23;20:12-13) though not because of works, for that would make merit the basis of judgment and on that basis none could stand. In the judgment, the works of every person will show whether or not He is in Christ - they will be the proof either of his justification before God (cf. James 2:14-20) or of his unrighteousness and demerit.
According to these works, therefore, everyone shall receive a proper reward - either the rewards of works, that is, of eternal damnation, or of grace, that is, of eternal life (Matt. 16:27; Rom. 4:4; Rev. 22:12). That reward will reveal the justice of God in the condemnation and damnation of the ungodly and the greatness of His grace to His people.
That judgment and rewarding is the work of Christ. To Him the Father has given all judgment (Jn. 5:26-27; Rev. 22:12-13). This is necessary for all, both righteous and wicked must be judged in relation to Him. He it is that the wicked have crucified and slain (Rev. 1:7; Heb. 6:6) and He it is who has provided a justifying righteousness for His own.
To Him the book of life belongs (Rev. 17:8). That book of election (Lk. 10:20) and its fruits that guarantees the salvation of those whom the Father has given Him and it is out of that book that some receive not what they have merited, but grace for grace.
For the believer, therefore, the day of judgment is not a day of terror, but the object of his hope and longing. In spite of the fact that he too must be judged, his confidence is in Christ and in his righteousness through Christ.
Indeed, there is great hope for believers in the judgment. Not only shall He sit as Judge, who is their Lord, their elder brother, their justifier and Redeemer, but when they appear in the judgment they shall appear as they are in Him.
The fact that the resurrection precedes the judgment means that when believers appear in the judgment seat of Christ, they shall already be in His likeness (I Jn. 3:2). Their vile bodies shall have already been changed into the likeness of His glorious body (Phil. 3:21). What a comfort and foundation for hope! We trust it is yours.
- Volume: 8
- Issue: 10
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address13823 Clear Lake Rd.
State or ProvinceWA