Preparation for Judgment
There is within us all a desire for justice, a craving for things to be better than they are. This is a desire which is not just found within the Church; the recent outcry over sexual abuse in the humanitarian aid sector, or the unease expressed over the demise of Carillion show that it is human to seek justice and fairness. The Bible makes it clear that at the end of all things justice will be done and will be seen to be done (Rev 20:11-13). This is good news!
If we fail to study eschatology, we will fail to see that God will put all things right. This is the central thought in judgment; it is not simply about punishing wrongdoing, it is just as importantly about making things right.
As Christians, we should be aware of judgment, be prepared for judgment, and be helping others prepare for judgment. The first of these demands that we study eschatology. The second of these demands that we study eschatology carefully so we recognise that all of us will face judgment. Many years ago, after a sermon when I had made reference to the judgment seat of Christ (Rom 14:10, 2 Cor 5:10) one of the congregation, who had been a Christian for a number of years, challenged me about where I had got that notion from. He refused to believe that Christians will have to stand before their Saviour and give account for what we had done. This is not a judgment which will lead to punishment, rather it is a judgment which will lead to reward – but it is a judgment nonetheless, and one which we need to prepare ourselves for. If we fail to study eschatology, we will fail to have understood this truth. The third statement demands that we study eschatology with compassion. Knowing that all will face judgment at the end of time should spur us on to bring the good news of Jesus to others, so that they are prepared; it is a duty we owe humanity as witnesses of and to Jesus.
The reality of judgment acts also as a put to holy living. When we are aware that we will stand before our Saviour at his judgment seat, then we gain a renewed impetus to live our lives in a way which will please him, and who will eventually lead to those words I suggest we should all crave to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant! … Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt 25:21, 23)
How prepared am I to meet my Saviour face to face at his judgment seat?