Friday, January 18, 2013
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1–2).
Scripture Reading: Daniel 7:9–10
Both the Old and the New Testaments tell us that there will come a time when each person will stand before God to give an account for the life that he or she lived.
If we believe in the truth of the Word of God, we must accept as fact that one day each of us must stand before our Creator to be judged. Many passages of Scripture speak concerning the certainty of judgment, the universality of judgment, and the basis on which people will be judged. We can rest assured that the decrees of this day of judgment will be final (Acts 17:30–31).
1) For two groups there can be no good news concerning the judgment.
There is no good news for those who have refused or neglected to trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
We can search the Bible from beginning to end for a glimmer of hope for those who refuse or neglect to accept Jesus Christ as Lord, but we will find none. There is salvation in no other. In every instance in which the Bible speaks concerning the certainty of judgment and the basis of judgment, no hope is held out for those who have chosen to neglect or reject the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Matt. 10:32–33; 25:31–46; Rev. 20:11–25).
There can be no good news concerning the judgment for those who are seeking to obtain a righteousness that is acceptable to God through their own efforts. Some people labor under the impression that in addition to trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, they must keep the Mosaic law or some other law to guarantee their salvation. Those who believe that at the end of the way their good deeds must outweigh their bad deeds cannot possibly have peace of mind as they face the judgment day unless they have lowered God’s requirements to the point where they are easily reachable. The Word of God clearly states that people are not saved or justified by the keeping of the law (Rom. 3:20). We are not saved by our good works; we are saved by our faith in Jesus Christ, who has provided salvation for us by God’s grace (Eph. 2:8–9).
2) There is good news concerning the judgment day for the saved.
Someone has said that in order to go to heaven, one must have a perfect record. Since all of us are sinners, this puts us in a bad position. However, God has provided for us a Savior in Jesus Christ. We are given the privilege of going to heaven on the record of his perfect obedience to the law of God and because of his sacrificial death on the cross for our sins. It is faith in this crucified but resurrected Lord that brings us into a position where God justifies us (Rom. 5:1; Gal. 2:16). Justification is something that God does for us. To be justified means to be given a position of acceptance in the presence of God. God treats justified sinners as if they had never sinned.
In this experience in which sinners who put their faith in Jesus Christ are justified in the sight of God, a spiritual birth takes place in which they receive the very nature and character of God. This means they have a new appetite and new ambitions. They want to live according to their new nature. They want to live so as to be pleasing to God. The good news of the gospel for believing sinners is that their sins have already been judged and they are no longer alienated from God. The good news is that they are now children of God and at peace with God, and condemnation has been removed (John 3:17–18). Furthermore, in this experience of the new birth, believers not only have condemnation removed, but they pass out of the realm of spiritual death into the realm of spiritual life. They enter into a relationship with God in which there is not even a possibility of being condemned and rejected by the Father (5:24).
This is good news that can cause the heart of the believer to rejoice with joy unspeakable.
3) The good news of possible rewards on the day of judgment.
The purpose of the day of judgment is not to determine whether we are saved or lost or whether we will go to heaven or to hell. That is determined by what we do with Jesus Christ before the judgment day ever arrives. As death finds us, so will the judgment day receive us, and so will eternity retain us. The Bible clearly teaches that there will be degrees of condemnation or judgment for the unsaved. It also clearly teaches the possibility of believers so serving as to receive a high commendation from the Lord.
For believers there is the possibility of receiving great rewards (Rev. 22:12). Our Lord repeatedly promised to reward his followers according to their labors.
The apostle Paul speaks of the possibility of people living and serving in such a manner as to have no rewards following the judgment day.
He speaks of a time of testing when every person’s works shall be tried by the fires of judgment. If people have built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and out of the materials that endure, they will have a reward. On the other hand, if people do not serve, give, minister, witness, and help, they will be saved without having the joy of receiving a reward (1 Cor. 4:11–15).
Now in Conclusion
If you have put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the Lord of life and as the Lord of death, you need have no fear at all of the day when you will stand before God as far as your being accepted by him is concerned. The heavenly Father does not want us to live in an agony of anxiety about our eternal destiny. He desires that we serve him and others from a motivation of love and gratitude rather than from a fear of being rejected if we do not.
We should earnestly and sincerely labor and serve so as to hear the Master say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21). Through Jesus Christ there is good news for believers as they contemplate the fact that one day they will stand before God. They need have no fear of being rejected. They can rejoice in the possibility of being commended and rewarded by the eternal God who has revealed himself in the person of Jesus Christ.
God bless you all, Pastor Mike