AC Judgment–Part 9

“When the Son of Man comes in all glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all nations, and He will separate the sheep from the goats. And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on his left. 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.’” –Matthew 25:31-34
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, The Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he arose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

The Bible records the story of the world. Its beginning with creation, the chosen people of Israel, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the spread of the gospel, and the founding of the church. However, the Bible does not only look backward, but also looks to the future. The Bible tells us about the beginning of the world according to God’s will, and about the end of the world according to God’s will. The study of the end of the world is called eschatology.

People have many different theories on how the world will end. Many in our day are convinced that the world will end through global warming. Some think perhaps through nuclear war, but Christians believe that the world as we know it will end when Jesus returns to judge the living (quick) and the dead. Christians have long debated exactly what the Bible teaches about when Jesus will return, and there is disagreement among genuine Christians as to the timing of that return. We’re not certain of the when, but we are sure of the how. The second coming of Jesus will be with glory, power, and majesty (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Jesus will bodily return to the earth. This is not a thing of metaphor or mythology. As He ascended to heaven, He will descend to judge the world.

Jesus Himself will be the agent of the judgment of the people of the world. “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22, 2 Tim 4:8, 2 Cor 5:10). Those who believe the ministry of Jesus is about affirming sinners in their sin will be proven terribly mistaken. In holiness, and with perfection, Jesus will carry out ultimate justice upon sinners alive at His return and those who died before His return. Apart from the grace of Jesus toward those who have accepted His salvation, no one could stand. By grace through forgiveness, we will pass through the judgment. Only covered by the righteousness of Christ will we be seen as righteous. No life can withstand the perfect scrutiny of the perfect judgment of Jesus. Instead, we must receive forgiveness.

The Bible is clear that on the last day Jesus will separate the sheep (believers) from the goats (unbelievers). The sheep (believers) called by Jesus, who hear His voice and respond by faith will go into the everlasting glory of heaven. Those who do not believe in Jesus as the Son of God, and finally reject His salvation, will suffer everlasting torment in hell. We are pilgrims passing through this corrupt and fallen world, seeking a heavenly city. We are not going to have our best life now, nor should we expect it. For Christians, the best is yet to come.

Albert Mohler concludes, “These truths point again to the gospel, for no sinner in himself can find survival in this judgment. The only means of survival—the only means of acquittal or salvation—is the loving sacrifice of Christ, our defender and judge. Christians must live with urgency because we understand that in this present age God will use us to snatch some from the evil one. The reality of the eschaton, the last days, reminds us of the urgency of sharing the gospel, because the eschaton goes hand in hand with the declaration of Jesus Christ among the nations. Our understanding of the future fuels our actions in the present; thus, missions and evangelism are eschatological activities—focused and fueled by the knowledge of Christ’s coming.”  

Thanks be to God for His mercy toward us,
Pastor Vic

< This is part nine in a series of articles on the Apostles’ Creed. To learn more about the Apostles’ Creed read: “The Apostles’ Creed: Discovering Authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits” by Albert Mohler. >

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