Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Judgment Seat of Christ: Heaven, Hell, and standing before the servant King

Source via Flickr "An Eternal Lullaby" by SSG Robert Stewart US Army CC 2.0
Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. 10 God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.
11 So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. 12 For he said to God,
“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.
    I will praise you among your assembled people.”

13 He also said,
“I will put my trust in him,”
    that is, “I and the children God has given me.”

14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.
-Hebrews 2:9b-15 NLT

There is a moment in every life when one must provide an answer.  I think we all know it deep down.  We all know that our actions matter.  We can feel it.  We all know that we live in a moral universe.  There is something within every single human being that demands that justice be done.  This moment is feared, minimized, and shunned by some.  For Christians it is the single most important moment we will face.  It is the single moment in history that every Christian is living for, preparing for, restraining themselves for.  It is the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. 

Death is the end for most.  They mourn it and the source of mourning is the ultimate death of all people.  It's an infinite abyss of despair that is never exhausted.  But we Christians understand the world differently.  We believe that death is not the end for the human race.  We believe in something greater.  We believe in a life eternal.  As Christians we are fully aware that this life is not the end all.  We know there is more. 

While we're on Earth our actions matter.  Every thought and every action are important.  This is in vast contradiction to the world, who generally believe that life is nothing, we are here for nothing, and just do whatever feels good.  And as unsustainable that lifestyle is, they continue to do it.  But we do not.  We must not.  We're all living for a moment in the future.

What is this moment?  It's the moment we die.  We die, and yet we live.  We are brought into the direct presence of our savior, the resurrected and glorified Jesus Christ.  

We know this life is but a tiny fraction of our true existence.  This life is only a shadow of what we will once become.  We can't fully comprehend this reality, but it is surely true.  We will become more than we are now, transformed into a new existence.  

The truth is we will be perfected.  Our distance from God will be removed.  We will be transformed.  Our position will be changed from children to honored leaders.  Our character will be transformed from sinners declared perfect in Christ, to glorified perfected sons of God united with Jesus Christ. 


We will all stand before the judgment seat of God Romans 14:10b ESV


The primary purpose of the cross of Jesus Christ is the victory over death.  And the primary purpose of the judgment seat of Christ is the dividing of the faithful from the wicked. 


Then 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 ESV


Jesus Christ provides a victory we can hardly fathom, we are so indoctrinated by this broken Earth.  We believe death is normal.  But it's not normal and we know it when it happens to us.  When a family member dies we know deep down that this is wrong and they shouldn't be gone.  Death is a disease and Jesus Christ is the cure.  


Are we so knowledgeable?  Are we so wise?  Can we really know the deepest things of God?  Can we really comprehend?  No we can't.  Our ego runs wild.  But we must all admit that we cannot see the fullness of the pictures of life.  The meaning of life to find eternal life in Jesus Christ is a profound mystery.  I can barely understand even the basics of this mystery.  Yet I do know that the meaning of life is that we be reconciled to God the creator of existence.  It makes sense when you break it down to this view point: Every person is fleeing, in the darkness, lost and confused in a wilderness we do not understand.


We are living for a day in the future.  The Bible calls it the day of the Lord.  Which means how we live today and everyday matters.  Yet it's so easy to lose sight of that.  It's a battle.  But we must be the conqueror.  


Matthew 12:36 (ESV) "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak."


Are you prepared to give an account of your life before God?  Are you really ready?  Will you be found faithful on the last day?


When we've trusted in Jesus Christ, we can feel secure in our journey to the judgment seat of Christ.  When we walk daily with God praying and sharing his truth, then we need never fear the judgment seat of Christ.  On that day, we will find love, mercy, friendship, praise, glory, and honor.  We will be warmly welcomed by dad, with a big hug, into the kingdom he has created for the perfection of reality. 

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 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. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 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. 35 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, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’
41 “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. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 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.’ 44 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?’ 45 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.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46

The Last Judgment by John Martin (1854) part of the Public Domain
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