estiny Bulletin   

The Seven Judgments

We live in a world in which life moves on, sometimes with equanimity, sometimes with a bit of trouble. Unfortunately, many people just think life moves on, comes to an end, and that’s it.

That is not it! Rather, the Bible teaches that everything we say and do is one day going to be evaluated. Judgment Day is coming! But there’s not just one judgment, there are seven judgments told about in Scripture. And since it is so easy for people to forget that there are serious concerns such as these—especially when daily life seems to be so filled with promise (which it is)—we thought it would be prudent to remind ourselves about these seven judgments. In a world like this, we need to keep the events of time in proper perspective—if we are to truly understand those events in light of Bible Prophecy.

I. Believer’s Sins at the Cross

The first is the judgment of the believer’s sins at the cross. To understand this is to begin to understand what Christianity is all about. Jesus spoke about this when in the garden He prayed: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. This He said, signifying what death He should die” (John 12:31-33).

Christ knew He was moving into the days that would culminate in His crucifixion. A superficial observer might say, “Terrible judgment has come upon Him.” But when Jesus Christ went to that cross, He bore judgment for the sins of man. In that moment, God reached out through the annals of time, and He gathered from every broken heart, every dissolute life, and every despairing spirit, the sins of all mankind and placed them upon His Son. The Bible says: “For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Remember, you are saved by the righteousness of God, not by your own righteousness: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).

People talk about Christianity and about eternity, and quickly you realize that they don’t understand what it’s all about. “Well, he has lived such a terrible life, so he’s going to hell,” “She is such a wonderful person, and she’ll be in heaven someday.” Listen: you don’t go to hell because you’ve lived a terrible life. You don’t go to heaven because you’re sweet and nice and kind. The Bible says: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

You go to heaven for one reason alone: you have believed on God’s Son as your personal Savior—you have accepted the fact that your sins have already been judged and atoned for by His sacrifice on the cross.

II. Believer’s Self-Judgment

The second judgment is the believer’s judgment of himself. The Apostle Paul spoke about how excesses had developed at Corinth. Many were drunken and in various stages of disrepair, so he said: “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:3032).

As Christians, God calls us to do something! It’s called perfecting holiness in the fear of God. It means daily saying “Yes” to God and “No” to the Devil.

Spiritual victory isn’t really that profound. It’s causing my life, by my choices and my decisions, to as much as possible be conformed to the image of Christ. But at the communion table, these people started to treat the communion service not as a great memorial feast, but as a time of personal indulgence. You know, we can be Christians, saved by the grace of God, but still be a very real disappointment to the Lord and to His people. In fact, the Bible says: “For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live” (Romans 8:13).

So, the path to the Christian life is saying “No” to the “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). And “Yes” to the great purpose of God. That takes spiritual discernment. It takes personal judgment. Judge yourself more severely than your friends would. That way you will be in their favor, rather than the object of their derision. Be a responsible Christian, daily performing those acts of judgment whereby you tell the difference between right and wrong.

Self discernment: knowing what is right and what is less than right and then mustering the courage to do something about it—that is the program God has ordained for our lives. Never let down your guard: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

I try to ask myself the question every day, “What have I done today that makes my life a credit to Christ and a genuine threat to the Devil?” That has been a helpful thing in my life and I recommend it to you as well.

III. Believer’s Works

The third judgment is an event called the “Judgment Seat of Christ.”

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

The Judgment Seat of Christ is an awesome appointment that every Christian has. Will the issue at the Judgment Seat of Christ be, “Am I saved or am I lost?” No! That was decided the moment you believed in Jesus and took Him as your personal Savior. The issue of the Judgment Seat of Christ will be the believer’s works: what has he done for Christ since he was saved?

Can you imagine, standing in the towering, magnificent presence of the throne of Jesus Christ? There, in the presence of a myriad of believers, Christ will ask you, “What did you do with time and treasure and talent? What did you do with the opportunities I gave you?

Some will have a great report before the Lord. They will present to Him “gold, silver, precious stones” (1 Corinthians 3:12); the gold of a life lived for Christ; the silver of souls won to the Savior; the precious stones of spiritual accomplishment. The Bible says Christ will speak to those individuals and say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. . .enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21).

But the Bible also says some will only have “wood, hay, stubble” to present to Christ. Those materials will go “poof”—gone in an instant. So the Bible says: “And the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).

That’s the Judgment Seat of Christ. What an awesome experience!

IV. Judgment of Gentiles (Nations)

The fourth judgment pertains to the Gentile nations: “And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:32-34).

Jesus Christ is the King of the Jews. He is also the King of the world. And one day as the King of the Jews, He will sit upon the throne, judging the nations of the world. The basis of that judgment will be: “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (Matthew 25:35-40).

You know, the greatest charitable work in all the world has been done by Christians and that is rightly so. And I applaud and support those wonderful organizations in their work, for the Bible says: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

Many times people quote this passage as being a mandate to care for the children of the world. I don’t violently object to this, but if we are going to stay with sound exegesis, we must recognize that Christ is not here talking about all the children of the world. He is talking about “the least of these MY BRETHREN.” And the brethren of Christ are the Jews! During the early days of the Millennium, the nations will be called upon to answer the question, “What have you done to the Jews?”

V. Judgment of Israel

The fifth judgment is the judgment of Israel. Israel has come under many cycles of discipline. But there is one final judgment yet to come upon Israel about which the Scripture is very clear. When Christians are taken out of the world at the Rapture of the Church, the Tribulation will begin. The Tribulation is “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). During those days, Israel will come under the terrible oppression of the Antichrist. They will be so pressed, so chagrined, that they will ask, “Why is this happening? Where is God now when we need Him?” They will come to the end of their rope. So the Bible says: “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 13:1).

The Jews will turn to Jesus as their Messiah and all Israel will be saved. That will be quite a moment! “For if the casting away of them be a reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15).

VI. Judgment of Angels

The Scripture also mentions a judgment that will come upon the angels. Angels are great in power and mightmuch stronger than humans. They were created to be God’s special servants, but some disobeyed the Lord. About them, Jude writes: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6).

The angels who disobeyed God are already in prison. They are even now kept in jail, awaiting that Judgment Day. Who will judge the angels? Well, the Apostle Paul writes: “Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know you not that we shall judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).

We Christians will judge the angels. That’s a fantastic statement, but it’s true. The angels will stand before you and before me in judgment. To fully understand this gives a very exalted impression of who men are, and what will be their destiny in eternity.

VII. Judgment of the Wicked Dead (Great White Throne)

Finally, comes the judgment of the wicked dead. It’s hard to read this passage without being greatly moved as to the awful fate of the wicked. The Book of the Revelation speaks about them: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life. . . And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12,15).

The Word of God states this with a touch of finality! Think of the people running around in today’s world saying, “I don’t need God. He’s totally irrelevant. What has He ever done for me?” What inane and preposterous arrogance!

He’s given you life. He’s offered you salvation. He is “able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him” (Hebrews 7:25). Every person who passes by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, says “No” rather than “Yes” to God, ignores His tender invitation, and looks with despite upon the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the cross, and is going to stand before God someday.

We need to hear it again: if a person knows Jesus Christ as personal Savior, he’s going to heaven. If he doesn’t, he’ll be cast into the lake of fire. This, the Bible says, “is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Therefore, the question is not, “Have I done the best I can? Have I gone to church? Have I joined a few clubs? Have I been a decent member of society?” At the Great White Throne, none of these things matter. What matters is, “Is my name written in the Book of Life?” It gets written in the Book of Life by believing in Jesus Christ, by coming to know God’s Son as your personal Savior. If you have not yet said that wonderful “Yes!” to Jesus Christ, do it today.

And then, let’s continue to work together to tell a world about the marvelous love of God and the soon return of Jesus Christ. There are souls to rescue; there are souls to save. Judgment day for the unbeliever will be unbelievably terrible, and we have the message that can spare them from that awful fate. May we labor with increasing fervor to get that message to the world. I pray that we will!

From the writings of Dave Breese

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