Judgment

There are two subjects that are taught by Evangelicals without ever consulting the verses on those subjects: the Judgment and baptism.

For both these subjects we do not consult verses about judgment or baptism; we consult verses about faith. We then extrapolate from those verses on faith to arrive at a conclusion completely different than what the verses on the Judgment and baptism actually say.

And then we call ourselves Bible believers.

I’d like to just address one of those subjects today. That subject is the Judgment. Then maybe in the next post we can discuss why those verses so badly contradict what we Evangelicals teach about faith.

The verses on the Judgment:

Matt. 25:31-46: Here Jesus says he will be on the throne, and the nations will be judged based on whether they fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, and visited the imprisoned and sick. The sheep at his right hand did those things and inherit the kingdom. The goats on his left didn’t, and they are sent into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

As Keith Green pointed out at the end of his song, “The Sheep and the Goats,” the only difference between the sheep and the goats, according to the Scripture, is what they did and didn’t do.

John 5:28-29: Those that are in the graves will resurrect to life or condemnation based on whether they have done evil or good.

Romans 2:2-7: The judgment of God is “against those who do such things.” A hard and unrepentant heart stores up wrath for the day of judgment, when God will “repay every man according to his deeds.” He will reward eternal life, says Paul, to those who seek immortality by “patient continuance in doing good.”

Romans 14:10: “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” The verses on the Judgment apply to Christians as well as non-Christians.

2 Cor. 5:10-11: Again, we’ll all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, where we will “receive the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad.” Because of the fear inspired by this judgment, Paul persuades men.

Hebrews 10:26-31: This is the most horrifying of passages on the judgment. It is said to those who “have received the knowledge of the truth,” but continue sinning willfully. They should fearfully look for “judgment and fiery indignation, which will devour the adversaries.” This is just because if Israelites were put to death mercilessly for violating the Law of Moses, how much worse punishment is deserved by those who tread the Son of God underfoot, count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and despise the Spirit.

James 2:13: The person who shows no mercy shall be judged without mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Thus we see that it is not believing in Christ that causes judgment to cease, but showing mercy, which is again something you do.

The very next verse says, ” What will it profit you, my brothers, if you say you have faith, but you have no works?” Apparently, James knew what Jesus and Paul said, which is that it’s only what you’ve done that will matter at the judgment.

1 Peter 1:17: This one speaks for itself very well: “If you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, then conduct yourself throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear.

There are not many of Evangelicals who believe the Bible, even though we say we do, so I get a lot of objections to these verses. A common objection is that if this were true, then it would cause Christians to fear.

Great! That’s what we’re commanded to do in 1 Peter 1:17!

Inheriting the Kingdom

Those are all the verses on the Judgment in the NT that actually give a description of the judgment. You may notice a consistent pattern. They all mention works, and none of them distinguishes at all between those who have faith and those who don’t.

There are other verses that warn us that this might be so.

Eph. 5:5: For this you know, that no immoral, unclean or covetous person—who is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Actually, many Evangelicals don’t know this.

The Scriptures foresaw this as well. Look at the next verse.

Eph. 5:6: Let no one deceive you with empty words …

We really should have listened to that better!

Eph. 5:6 (cont.): … for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

I’ve been told many times that people don’t go to hell for sin—because, after all, those are paid for on the cross—they go to hell for not believing in Christ.

Fortunately, I did not let them deceive me with those empty words.

Eph. 5:7: Therefore do not be partakers with them.

Now why would he say that in this context?

We should all know the answer now that we’ve seen the Scriptures on the Judgment. You’re not judged any differently than they are, except that you may be judged more strictly because “to whom much is given, much will be required.”

So don’t act like them, or you, too, will experience the wrath of God.

Revelation 3:4-5

You have a few names, even in Sardis, who have not defiled their garments. They shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before my Father and his angels.

It doesn’t get much more straightforward than this. There were only a few in Sardis who had not defiled their garments. They will walk in white, and their names will remain in the Book of Life.

The problem was their works. Jesus says so back in verse 2. Apparently their sins weren’t blotted out by Jesus’ death because their sins had defiled their garments.

Some Evangelicals—some of the many who don’t believe the Bible among us—like to argue that while Jesus said that he wouldn’t blot out the names of the worthy, that does not mean he will blot out the names of the unworthy.

That’s too silly to answer. If you want to disbelieve the Bible that badly, go ahead. You can work it out with God at the Judgment.

One more thing to note in these verses. I’ve been told quite often that we can’t be worthy. Apparently, Jesus didn’t know that!

Concluding Thoughts

We can look in a future post at how these verses relate to the verses on faith. However, these verses say what they say, and they say it clearly. There are no verses contradicting these verses. All the verses on the Judgment say the same thing …

The Judgment will be according to works, not faith, and it will apply to Christians.

As I said, in the next post, we can straighten our ideas on faith so that we can go ahead and believe what these verses plainly say.

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6 Responses to Judgment

  1. Pingback: Judgment & Eternal Life | The Rest of the Old Old Story

  2. Jennie S. says:

    I keep wanting to comment on your post, but I haven’t had time to think through what I want to say, I’ve been so busy. I’ll just give a couple of passages that occured to me when I read this.
    The first passage is 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.”

    The second passage is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

    The first passage seems to say that those who have believed in Him and been made new creations have everlasting life, and won’t be judged for salvation, though we know there is a judgment where dead works will be burned up.
    The second passage says that when Christ returns (I don’t know if there’s a pre-trib rapture, but there is a rapture seen here) then the dead in Christ will be resurrected and then the believers who are still alive will be taken up and always be with the Lord. This seems to say that those who are taken up are not judged (or the ‘taking up’ IS their judgement which shows that they are His and won’t be condemned) but have eternal life already.
    Revelation speaks of two resurrections, the first is for the believers which seems to be synonimous with the rapture I mentioned earlier, and the second is for the dead who will be judged and go into the lake of fire.

    You mentioned the judgment of the sheep and the goats. I believe that passage is talking about a judgment of living people who are on earth when Christ returns. Jesus says this happens at the end of this age when the Son of Man returns. The final judgment will be at the end of the next age, after the millenium. Maybe there will be new believers then that came to Christ during the millenium that will need to be judged, but I don’t believe those who were in the first resurrection before the millenium will be judged for salvation.

    • Shammah says:

      Hi Jennie,

      The points you make at the start are good. The rapture passage in 1 Thess. 4 is something I think about, too. Even the story of Lazarus and the rich man seems to say that judgment has already been made before the judgment at the end.

      The things you say at the end sum up the standard explanation used by Evangelicals for the judgment passages.

      There are two resurrections mentioned in Revelation, but the first one is only martyrs, not all Christians. The idea that martyrs went straight to heaven, bypassing the judgment, was common in the early churches. In fact, it seemed to be a given among them. Even Ignatius, whose letters are written as early as A.D. 110, seems certain that martyrdom would guarantee him his heavenly reward. That’s a very early testimony from a very authoritative witness, since he was appointed by John as bishop of the apostle Paul’s home church.

      However, we don’t get to pick and choose passages. What we want is a belief that lines up with all the Scriptures, not just some of them.

      A summarization of such a belief is too long for a comment, so I’m finishing my answer at http://rosecreekvillage.com/shammah/archives/233.

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