Last time we discussed what the word judgement meant. We talked about Christ and the authority God the Father gave to Him regarding judgement. Also, we discovered the standard we have been, are, and will be judged by. Finally, we looked at two special judgements from our past; the judgement of Satan and the judgement of this world.
Today, we will be concluding our look at eternal judgement by seeing what present judgments we are undergoing, and what our future, final judgement will look like.
There is a present judgment that goes on continuously. All men are presently judged as sinful or righteous before God. The present judgment of man is on the basis of whether or not he has accepted Jesus Christ as his or her Saviour:
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)
God's present judgment on unbelievers is by showing His wrath because they hinder the truth:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. (Romans 1:18)
God's present judgment of believers is in love. He corrects them when they do wrong:
My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:11-12)
Just as a natural father corrects his children, God judges the behavior of His children. If they sin, God corrects them in love just as a father does his son. God's chastisement [correction] of His children is for a specific purpose:
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)
It is the future judgment to which Paul refers in Hebrews 6 when he speaks of "eternal judgment.” Eternal judgment happens after death: It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
Now you might be wondering why it is I am using so much Scripture in this sermon series. When we are talking about something as important and life effecting as the basic foundations we build our faith upon. I don’t think we can look to Scripture enough.
As you may remember when we looked at the doctrine of resurrection, after a person dies it is immediately determined whether or not he or she enters the presence of God. The destinies of the righteous and the unrighteous are different after death. But the final judgment confirming their eternal destinies occurs after the end of the world and the resurrection:
I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom.(II Timothy 4:1)
And we see again in the book of Jude:
...Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all... (Jude 14-15)
How then should we live? How should the doctrine of eternal judgment affect our lives as believers? When writing on the subject of future judgment, the Apostle Peter answered this question:
Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; (II Peter 3:11-14)
Understanding of eternal judgment should result in a spiritual maturity in the life of the believer. The subject of Christian maturity, which Paul calls "going on to perfection," or Peter calls “without spot and blameless.” will be the subject of our next sermon, the last sermon in this series based on Hebrews 6:1-3, I have loved sharing this insight into these verses and I promise to make my next series a little shorter.