Why Judgment Day

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Perhaps you have known someone who, although a sinner “for all have sinned,” was basically a good person. This person was generous, kind, and caring, but for some reason never accepted Christ. He or she was certainly no worse, and possibly better, than the average “Christian.” Do you suppose this person deserves to be cast into the lake of fire? The parable of Lazarus and the rich man has a message for Christians.

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich manís table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abrahamís bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. Luke 16:19-25

This parable is not a literal description of heaven and hell, but is given to make two points. You will notice that the story never says that either the rich man or Lazarus was a Christian. It only states that the rich man in his lifetime received his good things and Lazarus evil things. The contrast is that the rich man had his heaven while Lazarus had nothing but misery; therefore, Lazarus will be comforted. Referring to Himself, Jesus makes another point in this parable.

…, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. Luke 16:31

Lazarus is a picture of all the suffering people of the world. Their names will be found written in the book of life. They, too, will be comforted. Jesus said in Matthew 5:3-5,

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Jesus put no stipulation on these promises. To those who are already comfortable in this life, He said,

But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. Luke 6:24-26

Even so, this is not necessarily the end of the matter for those who are rich. Speaking of the rich and how hard it is for them to enter the kingdom of God, Jesus said,

…, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. Mark 10:27

So you see, Godís judgment is a righteous judgment. It is more fair than any human court on this earth. Psalm 9:7-8 tells us,

But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.

Does God actually judge? As we read in Daniel, chapter 7, judgment will be given to “the saints of the most High.” In John 5:22-23 we find,

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

God has delegated this task of judgment to Jesus; who in turn has assigned us to the job. But God is still the judge. He is judging, through us, by His Holy Spirit.

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just: because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5:30

Know ye not that we shall judge angels?. I Corinthians 6:3

What kind of judge will we be? Will we examine their “works” in the books only to disregard their good works? Will we condemn them to the lake of fire? Will we disregard what kind of person they were, because they did not accept Christ in this life? Again, why judgment day?

Why do you suppose God is giving the responsibility of judgment to us? Could it be because we can empathize with our fellow human beings? And what is the criterion for judgment? We know that we will judge them “out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works;” but what are the works by which we will judge them? The parable of the sheep and the goats is a picture of the judgment. Matthew 25:31-46 shows us the criterion by which they will be judged.

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: 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, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred 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 hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 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. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not . Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

The standard that we will judge them by is whether or not they had compassion for their fellow human beings. It is apparent that none of these people became Christians in this life because they will not understand how they did or did not do these things to Jesus.

Perhaps you are familiar with the story of Lot, in the land of Sodom and Gomorrha, and the fate of the people there. Jesus instructed His twelve disciples on how to preach the kingdom of God from city to city. He said,

And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment. than for that city. Matthew 10:11-15

If there is only one outcome of the judgment, how can it be “more tolerable” for one group over another? It is because they are judged as individuals, “according to their works,” as to whether they were compassionate or selfish in this life to even one of the least of His brethren. It is also because people who had heard the truth and rejected it will be judged more harshly than those who had never heard the truth at all.

And if any man hear my words, and believe not I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. John 12:47-48

How can anyone enter the kingdom of God not having accepted Christ in this life? In the judgment it will be impossible to deny that Jesus Christ is Lord. In Romans, Paul upbraids believers for judging others self-righteously in this life.

But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. Romans 14:10-11
 

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

Jesusí death paid the penalty of sin for everyone who ever lived. This is why people who never had the choice of accepting or rejecting Him can be saved; their sins were paid for.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin,, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation [reconciliation] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. I John 2:1-2
 

For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. Romans 2:11-16

With God, ignorance of the law is an excuse. We, however, do not have this exception. We have heard the truth; we have no excuse. Whether we accept it or reject it is the standard by which we will be judged.

Why judgment day? The purpose of the judgment is to show us what a gracious and merciful Father we have. Even to the truly wicked and selfish, He is merciful. Rather than being tormented forever, they will receive a quick and merciful death by fire ( the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone - which is the second death ).

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him. Psalm 67
 

Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations. For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place. Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations. The LORD reigneth . Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein. Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. And say ye, Save us, God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD. I Chronicles 16:23-36

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