“...and After This Comes Judgement.”
The prosecution rests. The accusations have been made. The defense offers rebuttal. All have been heard. Upon deliberation, a decision has been reached. The gavel slams and the sentence read.
Legal dramas are popular in today’s society. People want to see the right man punished for the evil deed and the innocent man set free. So they tune in to fantasy land with little thought of the day in which they themselves will stand before the Judge of all to give an account for their deeds.
The Spirit reveals throughout scripture that there will be a day in which all men will stand before the Lord and be judged. The writer of Hebrews said, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27). This will be a day for which all must be prepared. How do we prepare? We search the scriptures.
First, the scriptures show that no one will be able to avoid the judgement. Paul told the Corinthian brethren, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). The courts of this land are reserved for those who are accused of a crime. Most people will live their lives in such a way so that they will never stand before a judge or jury. However, in death, all will stand before the Lord. There will be no avoiding this day. No hiding. No delaying. All will have their day before the Lord.
Second, the scriptures reveal that no one knows when this day of judgement will take place. Jesus said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matt. 24:36). Those who delay their service to the Lord until a more convenient time must wait no longer. The Lord goes on to say, "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming... For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Matt. 24:42,44). The need for urgency in this preparation is clearly seen. There will be those who take Jesus’ admonition seriously and those who will take it lightly. There will be those who are prepared and there will be those who are not.
Third, this judgement will be based upon our deeds. The wise man said, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Eccl. 12:13-14). The Lord clearly calls His followers to live in a certain way. This judgement will not be based upon what a person may intend to do, but rather the actions or inactions that a person takes. Paul reminds the Ephesian brethren, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10) Those who work deeds of righteousness will be rewarded. Those who work the deeds of darkness will be punished.
Next, it should be understood that there is one standard by which judgement will take place. Jesus states, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48). Judgement will not be based off of human creeds. It will not be based upon what others say or do. Nor will it be based upon what people may think of you. Rather, judgement will be based upon what the Lord said and how you responded.
Finally, there will only be two results. For the faithful, there will be salvation. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). For the unfaithful, there will be eternal punishment. “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).
Can you picture the scene? Standing before the Lord. He opens the book of life and it is time for you to give an account. How have spent your time? What has occupied your mind? Have you used the talents the Lord has blessed you with to follow Him fully? Will you hear the words “well done?” Are you ready for the judgement day?