The Coming Judgment - Part 1
January 29, 2022
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left (Matthew 25:31-33).
God is holy. This means He is morally perfect, pure, without flaw or evil. God is righteous. This means He does all things right, morally and legally just in accordance with His holiness. God is just. This means He treats others (people, nations, angels, etc.) with moral and ethical equity; He does what is right according to His holiness and righteousness. Because He is those things, He must deal with evil and sin. He will not tolerate evil and sin to continue unchecked.
Throughout Scripture God deals with wickedness, evil, sin, iniquity, etc., by judging them and those who practice them. There are 4 such judgments mentioned in Scripture: (1) temporal judgment, (2) the bema judgment, (3) the judgment at the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, and (4) the Great White Throne judgment.
1. God’s temporal judgment. This judgment occurs during the life of the person, family, nation, even the church. It has a two-fold application: (A) God will allow sin to run its course; He will not intervene in the consequences of sin. This is clearly seen in Romans 1:24,26,28, God gave them up . . .God gave them over. In other words, God backs off and allows the consequences of sin to overtake the sinner. (B) God can directly and personally intervene and punish a person for sin. Acts 5:1-11. Ananias and his wife Sapphira lied to the Apostles regarding the sale of property they had promised to the Lord. Immediately the Holy Spirit killed Ananias and a few hours later killed his wife Sapphira. Temporal judgment does not condemn a person to hell, but allows the sinful attitudes and actions to have their consequential effect on the person and his/her situation. For this reason, both Christians and non-Christians are subject to temporal judgment.
2. The bema or judgment seat of Christ. The bema judgment is reserved for the righteous after they have left this life (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10). This judgment does not determine the eternal destination of those who stand before Christ. That is settled when the person is saved. (John 5:24) Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. (1 John 3:14) We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. This judgment determines the rewards for faithful service to the Lord (or lack thereof) in this life. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Amen.