Eternal judgment is the last of the six foundation principles of the Christian faith. In the Old Testament the word "judgment" is used in two ways. One refers to the laws of God; and the other concerns God's judgment on men and nations. In the New Testament, God uses this second definition when referring to judgement.
The word "to judge" means to separate or make a difference between. This includes bringing to trial, examining evidence, determining guilt or innocence, and deciding the penalty for sin. Eternal judgment is the great and final judgment spoken of in the Bible which determines the eternal destiny of all souls.
So who has the right to judge the righteousness of a man’s soul? Who can contain the power to decide the fate of nations?
For the Lord is our Judge, The Lord is our Lawgiver, The Lord is our King; He will save us. (Isaiah 33:22)
He judges the sinful behaviour of mankind, but God's real desire is not judgment but that all men come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9)
God's desire is that all men (and women) everywhere repent. If they do not repent of sin they will experience His judgment.
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)
God has given this authority to judge to the one He appointed the one He raised from the dead, His Son, Jesus Christ.
The standard by which we all will be judged is pure and simply the Word of God. It is not the standards, creeds, or traditions of man by which we will be judged. It is not on the basis of organizational or denominational rules. The standard by which we will be judged is the fixed standard of the Word of God.
Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. (Psalms 119:89)
The Bible reveals that judgment is necessary because of ungodliness, unrighteousness, unbelief, trespasses, and evil deeds. Although these are all different words, they are all words for sin.
Men and nations will be judged according to the knowledge of God which was given them. Jesus said some would be judged more severely than the cities of Sodom, Gomorrha, Ninevah, Tyre, and Sidon. These were evil cities mentioned in the Old Testament which God judged and punished.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
A general revelation of God is given to all men through the wonders of creation, and is the basic standard by which everyone will be judged. Those who receive additional revelation by hearing God's Word will be judged by a higher standard of knowledge. And do not think judgment determining individual eternal destiny will be done on a group basis. It will be on an individual basis according to the truth, and on the basis of personal conduct.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)
A friend of mine once asked me, “So if all of the sins you have ever committed, or ever will commit have been forgiven; why not enjoy life and commit whatever sins you want? After all, if he’s already paid for the car why not take it out for a spin?” In truth he had me stumped for a minute. I knew he was wrong and that there was something he was overlooking but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
Then I remembered that the more our relationship with God grows, the more we become responsible for our actions. Jesus died and all of our unintentional sin was forgiven; but what about intentional sin? That requires repentance for:
God's record of man's "works" covers not only actions but also thoughts and motives. God looks on the heart, not just on the outward appearance (I Samuel 16:7).
According to Scripture there is a past, present, and future judgment. Today we will be looking at two special judgements delivered by God, and then next time we will look at the present and the future judgements.
The Bible itself is a history of God's past judgment, from the time of Adam and Eve it records God's judgment of nations and individuals. The Bible records two special past judgments that are important to believers. These are the judgments of Satan and of the world.
Satan has already been judged by God. He is allowed limited activity until he is cast into the lake of fire at the end of the world but he is already condemned as guilty. Satan's angels, who left their original position in Heaven as angels of God to join him in rebellion, were also condemned by this judgement.
As for the world, Jesus said:
Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. (John 12:31)
When Jesus was crucified on the cross for our sins, the physical world was condemned by God's judgment.
Jesus Christ is our judge by the authority of God the Father; He is the only one who has the right or ability to judge us. He wants nothing more than for us to come to Him free of the shackles of sin and has done everything He can to insure we have that opportunity. Let us pray now and thank our Father for His grace.