By Ron Thomas
The significance of Easter to a great many people is in relation to the Lord’s resurrection from the grave. The importance of the Lord’s resurrection is in the message of hope to a people lost in sin (all are lost in sin; Romans 3:23). With this message of hope, is a message of warning. Paul spoke to those in Athens, saying, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he 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" (Acts 17:30-31, ESV). A coming day of judgment is something people understand as a matter of justice, but some confusion surrounds the idea of justice and precisely how it will be applied. For what will one be judged, what standard will be used to judge and what happens after the judgment is rendered?
Briefly, let us address each question. For what will one be judged? The things done in this life. Paul wrote about this in his letter to the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 5:10). “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.” The words “good” and “evil” are understood exclusively in relation to the Lord’s express will.
The standard used to judge us is the standard of God’s holy will as spoken by the Lord Jesus Himself (John 12:48). “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” This means the life we have chosen to live will be measured against the life the Lord wants us to live. If one chooses poorly, then on that day of judgment, the one who chose poorly will not hear pleasant words (cf. Matthew 25:37-43).
At Judgment, what happens? “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31-32, KJV). There is no chance we can escape this day, but there is an opportunity to escape the Lord’s disapproval.
Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God? If so, change your way of thinking, confess Him as your Lord, be buried (immersion) with Him in baptism (Romans 6:3-7). Do this and live faithfully for Him (Rev. 2:10), and you will hear words that are most pleasant (Matthew 25:44-46). Before you know it, judgment day will arrive! For the faithful Christian, judgment day will be a grand day, but for the one who refuses to obey, judgment day will be a day of horror! Brighten your day and to Jesus obey.
- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website. http://sunrushchurchofchrist.com/