Most of us enjoy thinking about the topic of Christ’s return, but the final judgment can be a difficult topic to discuss because no one enjoys the thought of being judged. The Nicene Creed states, “Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” Not only does the creed make this bold claim, but the Scriptures are also full of references to the final judgment. It will happen. Therefore, we cannot ignore it. Today we pray that God will open your heart to understand and receive His plans for the final judgment.
I Believe in the Final Judgement
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.
Watch Week Nine Day Three
What is the Final Judgment?
In the final judgment, Christ will judge believers and unbelievers as He decides their eternal destiny. In Revelation 20:11–15, John describes a great white throne occupied by Jesus from where He judges the living and the dead. Matthew refers to the final judgment where Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats, those who fed and clothed Him from those who did not (Matthew 25:31–46). John says that God has given Jesus the authority to execute this judgment (John 5:26–27).
On the day of the final judgment, Christ will be fully just in His judgments. First Peter 1:17 says that God “judges impartially according to each one’s deeds.” God will treat everyone fairly, and we will see the just ways of our God on display. Why is it important that our God is just?
The Judgment of Believers and Unbelievers
Both believers and unbelievers will appear before Christ upon the day of final judgment, as Revelation 20:12 says the dead, great and small will stand before the throne. For believers, the final judgment will be one of reward. Revelation 11:18 says, “The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great…” Therefore, believers do not need to fear the final judgment, as they will not be eternally condemned. Romans 8:1 proclaims, “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
For unbelievers, Paul says, “but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury” (Romans 2:8). Unbelievers will be judged for their evil ways and lack of belief. “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5).
The Teaching of Hell
Hell, mentioned throughout the Scriptures, is closely related to the final judgment.
What is hell? Hell is a real place of eternal punishment where the evil and those who have rejected Christ reside. In Matthew 25:41, while discussing the final judgment, Jesus said, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Hell is a place of torment because it is eternal separation from God.
The reality of hell is so heavy, sad, and heartbreaking. What are we to do? We should not shy away from the truth of hell, but rather we should let ourselves feel the weight of hell. Let us have the same feelings as Paul had toward those who do not believe in Christ: “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart” (Romans 9:2). Finally, God deeply feels the weight and the sadness, as He said in Ezekiel 33:11: “As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”
What is the most difficult thing for you to accept about the teachings of the final judgment and hell?
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