The Final Judgment
as we begin a new year, let’s ask ourselves this question, what does
the Bible say will be the end? Where
is all our activity as a congregation and as an individual heading?
Jesus said it this way: “When the Son of Man comes in His
glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne
of His glory. All the
nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from
another, as a shepherd divides His sheep from the goats (Matthew
25:31-32).” Peter puts it
this way: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the
night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the
elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that
are therein will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).”
John states its this way: “Then I saw a great white throne
and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled
away. And there was found no
place for them. And I saw
the dead, small and great, standing before God, and the books were
opened. And another book was
opened, which is the Book of Life. And
the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were
written in the books (Revelation
-12).” The Bible
states with shocking clarity that THE end of all things will be our
final judgment before God. Let's
begin 2008 with THE end in mind! Let’s
exam that end a little closer this morning by turning again to the text
that was read this morning to see what the apostle Paul had to say about
this subject. We’ll try to
quickly notice nine aspects of the final judgment.
read verses 1-5. These
verses speak about the continuity and objectivity of the final judgment.
God has been mankind’s judge since the expulsion of man from
the Garden of Eden. We also
see His judgments in the universal flood, in the ten plagues on Egypt,
in the deaths of Aaron’s sons, in the captivity of the Jews, in the
deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, and in the destruction of Jerusalem,
only to name a few of the more visible manifestations mentioned in the
Scriptures. Now, such
judgments show His moral perfection.
We would not respect a Divine Being who just sits back and
ignores wickedness! Paul
affirms that God's judgment is always fair since it is based on truth.
Then, Paul points out to the readers of Roman that God sees their
accusatory actions and will bring judgment on them.
It is interesting that Paul mentions this kind of lesser judgment
before he discusses a day of judgment.
You see, God is working daily to set the record straight and to
bring about justice. Since
evil seems so prevalent; however, it may often be hard for us to see
God’s justice at work. Paul
shows us that God’s judgment, what He has been doing throughout the
centuries, will culminate in what Paul calls in v. 5 the day of wrath
and revelation. God’s
daily judgments will become God’s final judgment.
This shows the continuity of the final judgment.
let's look at the objectivity of the final judgment.
Objectivity means that God will bring both rewards and
punishments. In this verse,
Paul emphasizes the punishment by calling the final judgment a day of
wrath. Many of us don’t
like to think of God as being wrathful, but Paul is only being truthful.
You know, if you take a concordance, you’ll find there are more
references to God’s anger and fury than there are to God’s love and
compassion! “God’s wrath
in the Bible is never the capricious, self-indulgent, irritable, morally
cruel outrage that human anger so often is.
No, it is God’s righteous indignation against evil (modified
Packer).” At the final
judgment, the righteous will be vindicated and the wicked will be
punished. A holy God will
not allow wickedness to triumph! Let's
begin 2008 with THE end in mind!
let’s read verse 6. Now
Paul speaks about the universality and the accountability of the final
judgment. Paul states
that God will render judgment to each one.
There’s the universality of the final judgment.
All people of all the centuries of all the nations will be
present. No one will escape
it. “For we must all
appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor.
This is all mankind’s final destination.
“And the upshot of this for us is that everyone in this
auditorium who has not repented of their sins and has not been immersed
into Jesus’ name for forgiveness is under the wrath of God and heading
for hell. That may sound
harsh, good friend, but Jesus’ clear words in Mk. 16:16 are: ‘He
who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe
will be condemned.' ... And … there are no pockets of our society
which [will be] excluded from [this] judgment. … Corporate heads and
cab drivers, congressmen and custodians, housewives and harlots, sailors
and secretaries, pimps and preachers - we will all be there before the
bar, at the final fork in the road of life” (modified Piper).
Paul says the basis of our judgment—it is the deeds that we did during
our lifetime. This is what
is meant by the accountability of the final judgment.
Our deeds will reveal the genuineness of our faith.
While we are saved by grace through faith, Paul also says that we
become God's workmanship created in Christ to do good deeds (Eph.
2:8-10). Now our deeds don't
earn our salvation, they exhibit it.
They demonstrate in no uncertain terms that we truly were trying
to do God's will by serving others and living unselfish lives.
We will give account before God.
Let's begin 2008 with THE end in mind!
Now let's read verses 7-10.
Here we see the simplicity and the irrevocability of the final
judgment. “Notice how Paul
now spells out, in two pairs of verses, the simplicity of judgment
according to works. Verses 7
and 10 are about how to have life. And
verses 8 and 9 are about how to have wrath.
Let's take the positive pair first, and notice that the path to
eternal life is 'persevering in doing good' in verse 7 and 'doing
good' in verse 10. Then
consider the negative pair, and notice the path that leads to eternal
wrath is self-seeking, being disobedient to the truth, and doing evil”
(Piper). It is simple
because there are only two alternatives.
Our eternal destiny is determined at our death; the final
judgment will be a recognition of all the deeds that we did during our
lifetime. To increase your
good deeds during this next year, let's try this plan: turn off our TVs,
our DVDs, our I-pods, and our computer screens, then let's brainstorm
with a few other members about what we all can do that will be
significant, edifying, or helpful, and then let's serve together to make
that deed a worthwhile reality. Isn't
that a good new year's resolution? You
see, the 3 hours a day that most Americans spend entertaining themselves
could be used to serve the Lord. Let’s
not let Satan distract us by amusing ourselves to hell.
Paul shows here not only that there is
no intermediate state between death and judgment where a person can have
the disobedient and wicked deeds of their life reversed but also that
after the pronouncement of Jesus, our righteous Judge, our destiny is
irrevocable. At the final
judgment, no second chances will be given.
At that moment, it will be too late to make any changes.
Now note verse 11.
This verse shows the impartiality of the final judgment.
“In the biblical setting, [the first task of one of
Now in verses 12-15 Paul talks about
some of the criteria that will be involved in the judgment (the
selectivity of judgment perhaps, but an explanation of these things
would take more than our time allows), so let's drop down and read verse
16. Here we see both the
visibility and the authority of the final judgment.
Visibility could refer to the fact that every eye shall see Jesus
when He comes again, but another idea is the fact of the exposure that
the final judgment will bring. “No
human court would ever make such an exhaustive exposure.
Not only will our words and deeds be exposed, but also our
thoughts and motives. Paul
wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:5: ‘Therefore judge nothing before the
time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden
things of darkness and reveal the counsels [or motives] of the heart
(P. G. Mathew).’” Hidden
evils, wicked motives, and secret actions will all be brought to the
light in that great day!
The authority for the final judgment
will rest with the One who claimed that God had given Him all authority
in heaven and on earth, Jesus Himself (Mt. 28:18).
“… Jesus constantly affirmed that in [that] day when all
appear before God’s throne to receive [the] eternal consequences of
the life they have lived, He Himself will be the Father’s agent in
judgment, and His word of acceptance or rejection will be decisive. …
The prophet Amos’ message to
Another story is told about an average
American fellow whose name was George.
We pick up the story as George contemplates standing before Jesus
in judgment. “Yes, he knew
many things now—too late. He
knew he had had time for religion—that those other things he had put
first [in his life] were really not important after all.
He knew, too, that those hypocrites in the church, whom he had
thrown up to his [believing] wife time and time again, would spend
eternity where he was going to spend it … an eternity spent without
God and without Christ. And
somehow, somehow, he even knew now what eternity was like.
He had heard eternity talked about.
He had even heard it joked about.
But why hadn’t someone conveyed the bigness, the emptiness, and
the vastness of it all? 'Without
end, without end, without end.' So
very much had happened. There
had been the shout, the sound of the trumpet, the dead rising, those who
had met Jesus in the air, the destruction of all things.
And yet he really knew that no time at all had been involved.
It was as if time had stood still—and now eternity had begun.
Then in his heart of hearts, he heard a name being called.
It was his own. It
was his turn to receive sentence. He
stepped forward, and even as he did so, he knew what it would be, ‘Depart
for Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his
angels.’ (Roper)” Let's
being 2008 with THE end in mind!