The suspense of the courtroom is great indeed. The lives of accused men and women have been followed with great interest by our entire nation. But there is a courtroom that is even more serious and the results much more far reaching than any earthly tribunal. The courtroom of the Most High is where the cases of the countless millions who have walked this earth will have their eternal destiny forever decided. How much more interest and attention should we give to God's Great Judgment Day?
Not only is God's Great Judgment Day the most solemn and serious court case ever to take place in the history of our world, but also each one of us is subpoenaed to this trial of our lives. "For we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ." [Romans 14:10]. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." [II Corinthians 5:10]. This subject is something that involves every person that is alive today. In fact, this is something that involves every person that has ever lived upon the face of the earth. Not one will be exempt because the Scriptures declare, "we must ALL appear." Both the righteous and the wicked are included in this injunction. [Ecclesiastes 3:17]. Both the rich and the poor. Both the learned and unlearned. "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ."
While I was preaching upon this topic in Africa, in order to emphasize the point, I mentioned that both the President of the United States and the President of the country that I was in were going to have to appear before God in judgment. Afterward I was told that naming publicly the political leader of the African country was not a wise thing to do for it could lead to arrest and being charged with conspiracy. Fortunately nothing happened, but none-the-less it is still true. The President of the United States and every other president in the world will one day be brought face to face with the Great Judge of the Universe. From the poorest pauper to the monarch on his throne, each will one day come before the judgement seat of Christ. Our standing in the world will have nothing to do with this judgment. The most despised outcast to the most influential politician--none are exempt. Truly each one of us has been subpoenaed to the trial of life!
A View of the Judgment
Thousands of years ago the judgment was presented to the prophets. Undoubtedly the prophets were filled with amazement and a loss for words as they tried to describe this solemn event that they had seen. "I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The judgment was seated and the books were opened." [Daniel 7:9, 10], marginal reading. Daniel watched in awe as he saw the Ancient of Days seated with the innumerable company of angels watching with intense interest. Then the judgment itself was seated and the books were opened. John elaborates on the glory surrounding the throne at the judgment, "And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne in sight like unto an emerald…. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices:" [Revelation 4:2, 3, 5 KJV]. When the judgment is seated and the throne is set it is a proceeding like never before witnessed. The glory is unsurpassed and the interest of the heavenly being is unrivaled. Since this is recorded as such an important event in the Scriptures, it would seem logical that we study and understand this topic for ourselves.
Perhaps the most disliked figure in any court case is the prosecuting attorney, and likewise in the trial of our lives, the prosecuting attorney is no hero. The prosecuting attorney is the one who is accusing us before God. "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night has been cast down." [Revelation 12:9, 10]. The prosecuting attorney is none other than the Devil or Satan. He is no longer allowed in the courtroom for the courtroom is in heaven, but he is constantly doing his heinous work of accusing God's people and demanding that they be pronounced as guilty. In Zechariah's vision a representation of this work is seen going on. "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him." [Zechariah 3:1]. Satan was represented as standing there as a villainous prosecuting attorney opposing and accusing Joshua the high priest, a leader of God's people. Fortunately, the scene does not end there, "And the Lord said to Satan, 'The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?'" [Zechariah 3:2]. This takes us to the next much more encouraging point--the defense.
We are not left alone with the grim picture of the devil, the prosecuting attorney; the Bible also pictures a defense attorney, as well. "My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." [I John 2:1]. Our advocate, our helper, our strength, our hope is our defense attorney--Jesus Christ. We are powerless of ourselves to withstand the accusations of the prosecuting attorney. It is too much for us by ourselves, but with the aid of our all powerful defense, "nothing will be impossible" for us. Matthew 17:20.
The thought of our Lord and Savior as our defense is certainly a comforting one indeed. It would be impossible for us to find an attorney here on this earth who knew every detail of what we have been through and has gone through the same experiences himself, but that is what Jesus is to us. "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." [Hebrews 4:14-16]. Not only does our defense know every detail of our lives--both the outward actions and the inward motives and thoughts--but He has been tempted in every way that we have. We cannot encounter an obstacle that He did not face. The prosecution cannot bring a temptation to us that He has not endured. Truly, money could not buy a better defense than what God has provided for us.
On this earth , if there is an attorney who claims to have never lost a case, his fees are exorbitant, but it is not so with our Lord. He says, "Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none," [John 18:9] "except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled." [John 17:12]. As long as we do what He asks and tells us to do, our case will be won for of those who have cooperated with Him, He loses none. But if, like Judas, we go our own way and do our own thing, He can do no more and we have lost our own case. What our defense attorney asks of us is simple and plain. "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'" [Matthew 16:24]. "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." [John 13:15]. "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." [I John 2:6]. We must follow Him and do what He says. If you have ever been involved in a court case you know that you have to do what your attorney says and it is the same way with our great defense attorney--we are to, by faith, do whatever He tells us to do.
Not only does our defense know every detail of our lives and has experienced it Himself, and not only has He never lost a case of one who follows and obeys Him, but He is also our judge as well. "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son." [John 5:22]. "Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance to this to all by raising Him from the dead." [Acts 17:31]. In our judicial system today you would never get an arrangement like this. Our defense attorney and our judge are actually the same--our Lord Jesus Christ. Although He is both our defense and our judge, that does not mean that He will rule in favor of our case if we are guilty. "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;" [Psalms 89:14]. He loves us with an everlasting love [Jeremiah 31:3], but His love is too great to allow the guilty to go unpunished. [Numbers 14:18]. It is only through Jesus' great sacrifice that God can still be "just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." [Romans 3:26]. Having seen the prosecuting attorney, the defense attorney and the judge, it is important to proceed to the next step in a court case.
In a literal court case, different exhibits and records are presented. Unfortunately, in our world it is possible for the evidence presented to be misconstrued or misinterpreted resulting in the sentencing of the innocent or the acquitting of the guilty, but it will not be so in God's judgment. The evidence in this judgment is unerring and incontrovertible. God has kept a record of everyone's life that cannot be questioned. The Bible constantly calls these records "the books." Whether they are literal books or some type of video footage we do not know, but one thing that we do know is that God's technology is much more advanced than ours. "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books." [Revelation 20:11, 12]. John records for us as Daniel did the greatness of the judgment, but additional detail is given. It is actually by what is written in the books that we appear before God. The righteous do not appear in person before the Majesty of heaven, but it is by the faithful record of all that they have done. It must occur this way because the investigative part of the judgment occurs in heaven while life is going on as normal on the earth. (For more information on this see Steps to Life's booklet, Your Last Chance to Be Saved.)
Everything that we do has been faithfully chronicled in the books of heaven. All of our sorrows are there. "You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?" [Psalms 56:8]. All of the times that we have worshipped God with His people are written there. "Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name." [Malachi 3:16]. In fact, absolutely everything about us has been written there. "My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes see my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them." [Psalms 139:15, 16]. Everything about us has been written in the books--our sorrows, our joys, the good things we have done, and our sins we have committed. An angel has been beside us watching everything that we do and recording it all. Not an iota will be missing. It will all be there, both the good and the bad.
Not only is everything that we have ever done recorded in the books, but it goes even farther than that. Every secret thing that we have thought that no one else knew about is faithfully written there as well. "For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil." [Ecclesiastes 12:14]. The Lord knows our thoughts [Luke 5:22; 6:8; 9:47; 11:17], and even those are recorded there as well. Every motive, every thought, every word, every action will meet us again. Jesus has said, "For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore, whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops." [Luke 12:2, 3 KJV]. We cannot think that we can hide anything from the all searching eye of our God. The day is coming when all that was done in secret will be plainly known by all. The secrets that have gone on behind the diplomatic doors of the nations, the unknown unfaithfulness to the marriage vow, the contemptuous words spoken against another human being--all will be known and revealed in the Great Judgment Day. The records will be open to all. There will be no hiding of anything; nothing will be swept under the carpet in that day. Each case will be seen as it truly is.
How Would You Plead?
How would you plead if, today, your case came up in review before God? Jesus has warned us how some are going to plead. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'" [Matthew 7:21, 22]. Jesus tells us that many are going to plead innocent. Many are going to call Jesus "Lord." It is only Christians that call Jesus "Lord." He is not here talking about the various heathen religions that refuse to acknowledge Jesus; He is talking about those who claim to be His people and claim to be following Him. They can even boast that they have done a number of good works for Him. They have cast out demons, done miracles, spoken in tongues, prophesied. But although they pled innocent, Jesus pronounced another decree. "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me you who practice lawlessness!'" [Matthew 7:23]. Perhaps the most fearful words on record that Jesus will ever utter--He never knew them. They plead innocent. They thought that they were saved, but they did not realize the solemnity and importance of the Great Judgment Day. They went along as if the judgment was not even going on, thinking and believing that they were saved, and they found out too late the significance of the Great Judgment Day.
Jesus has told us that in the last days there will be many who are going to plead innocent and awake to reality too late. "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth." [Revelation 3:17, 16]. Jesus is here talking to Laodicea the last of the seven churches, representing the last era of Christianity, or our time right now. Once again we see a plea of innocence and once again we see it being a false claim. Although this group of people claims to be rich, etc., Jesus declares that they are in every way lacking and as a result he will spew them from His mouth. Obviously, then, how we plead does not matter if our lives do not match up, because many are going to plead innocent and be found out to have a false claim.
The Standard of Judgment
Since there are so many who are going to plead incorrectly, there must be something that they are overlooking as unimportant that is, in reality, extremely important in this judgment. In our world there is always a standard to which we are accountable and by which if we break it we will be judged. There are endless books and codes by which our nation is governed. Does God likewise have a standard that we will be judged by? There could not be a judgment if there were not a standard to base the judgment upon, and the Bible in no unequivocal terms tells us what this standard is. "So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty." [James 2:12]. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil." [Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14]. The wisest man that has ever lived is summing up his book of repentance and admonition and concludes it by stating what our whole duty is. If this is our whole duty, it is obviously something that we had better pay attention to. Our whole duty is to fear God and to keep His commandments. It is something that is totally unsafe to treat lightly, and not only is it our whole duty but it is what we will be judged by as well.
In the legislative counsels of the nations of the world countless pages of laws have been ratified into law. As law-abiding citizens it is then our duty to obey what passed into law, but not one of us has read in its entirety what is required of us. It is an impossibility, but none-the-less we go about doing the best that we know how and hoping that it is good enough. In God's government we are not left in such a state of uncertainty. God has given the laws that govern the universe in just ten simple laws. They do not change for the Lord does not change. [Psalms 89:34; Malachi 3:6] We do not have to live in fear that we are unknowingly disobeying one for they are spelled out in clear and simple English that even a small child can understand. Exodus 20:3-17 spells out, in fifteen verses, the standard by which we will be judged. Of course, the entire Bible is written to give us more meaning to, and understanding of these verses, but it is indeed the Law of God as recorded in those few verses that we will be judged by. We can praise God that we do not have an unending stream of legal jargon to wade through, just ten simple, straightforward commandments.
We must not look at God's standard of judgment as some hard, harsh act that God has made. God, in love to us, has given us this Law, and it is for our own good that He has established it. "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?" [Deuteronomy 10:12, 13]. Then in Deuteronomy 6:24 the Lord adds that it is "for our good always." It is for our own good the Lord has given us this Law because He knows that if we keep His great Law of love, we will be happier. God always has the good of His creatures in mind. Not only is this law for our good, but it is also not some burdensome thing that we must do. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome." [I John 5:3]. I have talked with people who regard God's Law as a list of requirements that we must do and if we slip we will be struck with lightning or something like it, but nothing could be farther from the truth. God in His love has given us a law to govern our conduct. He knows that if we keep all of His precepts, it will give us "length of days and long life and peace," (Prov. 3:1) and He has not made it a long burdensome law, but rather a simple, delightful Law. There may be things in God's Law that bring us in conflict with the rest of the world, but it is still a "perfect law of liberty." James 1:25.
As we previously noted in Matthew 7, there are many who plead innocent, but Jesus pronounces them guilty because they "practice lawlessness." [Matthew 7:23]. These are religious people who claim to have the gift of the Spirit and to do many mighty things, but Jesus still says that they have broken His holy Law. It seems inconsistent that they would be murdering, stealing, etc., but Jesus did say that they must depart for their lawbreaking. An obvious question begins to come into our minds of how much of God's Law we have to break in order to be considered lawless. Certainly we do not want to be among that exiled group, so this is a question of paramount importance for us. The Bible clearly reveals the answer. "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty." [James 2:10-12]. If we are keeping the entire law, but breaking one, we will be held as guilty of all! This is indeed serious, but in reality it only makes sense. As I was driving by a large church, I noticed the saying that they had on their sign. It said, "The Ten Commandments are not multiple choice." How true that is. It is the same God who spoke all ten of them with His own mouth and wrote them with His own finger, [Exodus 31:18] and He expects us not to pick and choose which ones we are going to keep and which ones we are going to reject, but to accept all ten upon His authority. This only makes sense to us today as well. Imagine a man who was caught red handed stealing a certain object. He is brought before the judge and the judge asks him how he pleads. To the shock and amazement of all he states that he is innocent. The judge asks him how he could be innocent when he was caught in the very action of stealing. The man's answer is that yes, he was stealing, but he did not murder anyone. So, because he did not murder anyone, he feels that he is innocent. This claim would, of course, not hold up in our justice system, but how much less then would it hold up in God's judgment? God has answered it definitively for us, "whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point (italicized, meaning that it is not in the original Greek), he is guilty of all." James 2:10.
In any court case here on this earth, evidence is presented. It is by this evidence that the accused is acquitted or condemned. It is by the evidence that the prosecution endeavors to secure the sentencing of the accused and it is also by the evidence that the defense attempts to show that the accused is not guilty. The evidence is the deciding factor in the case, and so it will be in God's judgment as well. The evidence that will determine our case is our works. "And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works." [Revelation 20:12, 13]. "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works." [Matthew 16:27]. "The LORD is known by the judgment He executes; The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands." [Psalms 9:16]. "For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil." Ecclesiastes 12:14.
It is important to note that we are not saved by our works. We are saved only by the grace of God through faith in Him. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." [Ephesians 2:8, 9]. We cannot save ourselves. We are totally powerless to do any good thing of ourselves, and it does not matter if we do all the good works in the world, it will never save us. Our works can never atone for our sin. It is only as we, by faith, accept Jesus' sacrifice for us that our sins can be forgiven and it is only as we, by faith, accept His mediation in the heavenly sanctuary that He can give us "grace to help in time of need." [Hebrews 4:16]. Thus it is only by grace through faith that we are saved.
Although, it is solely by grace through faith that we are saved, that does not mean that what we do is not important. In the book of James this is made very clear. "But do you not know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?" [James 2:20-22]. True faith will always be accompanied by works because true faith "worketh by love." [Galatians 5:6 KJV]. Faith does not attempt the impossibility of working its way to heaven. Faith grasps the goodness and the love of God and through love to God does what God asks us to do. Just as Paul stated in Ephesians, after emphasizing that it is only by grace through faith that we are saved, he adds, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." [Ephesians 2:10]. Paul was very careful to point out that what we do IS important. He did not want us to think that we now have a license to sin and violate God's Law all that we want to. Paul knew that we are not saved by our works, but he also knew that we are judged by our works.
The judgment tests whether our works measure up to our profession. To say something with our mouth is not hard; to live it out in our life is when the test comes. Tragically there are going to be many who profess with their mouths, but do not live with their lives, and profession alone will not save anyone. Jesus says, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able." [Luke 13:24]. Striving is essential. It is not just going to fall into place for us. We must put forth the effort because there will be millions who are going to try to enter but be unable because their works did not correspond with their profession. "When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' then you will begin to say 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.' But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.' There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth," [Luke 13:25-28]. Here is described a group who professed. They said that they were Christians. They call Jesus Lord. They ate and drank in His presence (they thought). But Jesus told them--I do not know you. Nothing could be more graphic. Profession is clearly not enough. Paul writing to Titus says the same thing, "They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work." [Titus 1:16]. Even if we profess that we know God, if we deny Him by our works we are abominable. Undoubtedly profession alone saves no man, profession must be accompanied by good works in Christ Jesus.
Does this mean that religion is works oriented? Absolutely not! Our works simply reveal whether we have truly accepted Jesus or not, and this is the very purpose for the judgment. The judgment is not to exclude as many as possible from heaven. The judgment is not to see if we are "good enough" to go to heaven. The judgment is to test whether we have truly accepted, believed upon, and loved Jesus, and the only way to test this is by what we do. Thus our works are measured up against God's great moral mirror, the ten commandment law, the standard of judgment.
A principle is repeated throughout Scripture that has caused perplexity to many, but looking at it in context with the judgment puts all the pieces together. "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy." [Proverbs 28:13]. The wisest man tells us that in order to have mercy there are two essential elements--confession and forsaking. Some have wondered how mercy was dependent upon forsaking sin, but the judgment sheds a flood of light upon it. It is only those who have demonstrated that they have loved Jesus enough to forsake their sins that will receive mercy in that day. "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die." [Ezekiel 18:24]. If a righteous man turns his back upon Jesus and goes the way of the world, none of his righteousness will be remembered. Why? Because he did not hold fast his profession. He lost his "first love." [Revelation 2:4]. He will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. [Daniel 5:27]. He turned from loving Jesus, the author of love, and loved the world instead. The judgment then discerns and excludes all false-hearted professors. The results of the judgment lay bare to the world the difference between those who love Jesus enough to obey Him [John 14:15, 21] and those who claim to love Jesus, but their profession goes no further than their lips.
In our erring human perceptions we think of the judgment as a negative thing, but in reality it is the best thing that could happen to God's people. "But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, and the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and all dominions shall serve and obey Him." [Daniel 7:26, 27]. It is God's Great Judgment day that destroys the power of the Anti-christ. The court is seated and the purpose of the court (or judgment) is to take away the dominion of the power that has persecuted God's people for centuries. (see Steps to Life's booklet, Surviving the Great Tribulation) What a wonderful thing! This little horn power has trampled and scattered the power of God's people, but his day of final reckoning is coming. Then after the beast's power is broken and he is destroyed, God's true people who have loved Him enough to obey Him, receive the kingdom. What a wonderful promise to those who have made a covenant with God by sacrifice. [Psalms 50:5]. The judgment is not something negative; it is the promise of all promises.
Not only do God's true commandment keeping people [Revelation 12:17; 14:12] receive the kingdom, but their sins are finally and completely blotted out to be remembered no more. Long have God's people looked forward to this time when their sins will be completely blotted out. After David's sin with Bathsheba, he pled, "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving-kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions…. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities." [Psalms 51:1, 9]. David was confessing his sin and hanging his entire weight upon the mercy of God and pleading that his sins would be blotted out. Truly all who have complied with the conditions will have their sins blotted out at the last day. Peter gives us the time frame as to when this happens, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ," [Acts 3:19, 20, KJV]. Right before Jesus comes, when the times of refreshing are poured out upon God's people, their sins are blotted out. There remains "no more consciousness of sins," [Hebrews 10:2] for they are completely purged, they are blotted out. While now we are to be confessing our sins and believing that they are forgiven, they are not completely blotted out until the close of the judgment. All whose sins have gone beforehand unto judgment [I Timothy 5:24] and who have complied with the simple conditions laid down in God's Word are finally and completely delivered from the curse of sin.
Unfortunately, though, the judgment is not a happy ending for everyone. There are those who have professed Christ, but their profession has not been carried into their daily lives. They have said that they were Christians, but they did not think that God's Law was important. They thought that they knew more than God. They thought that God's sacred things did not matter--His sacred day, His sacred time, His sacred money. They claimed to love Jesus, but they did not live by every word that proceeded from the mouth of God. Like Cain they have done what they wanted to do instead of what God told them to do. They have talked like they were saved, they have believed that they were saved, they have thought that they were saved but, alas, they have fulfilled Jesus words in Matthew 7:22-23, "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart form Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" For those who have not loved God enough to obey Him, the consequences are fearful indeed. Their names, that they thought unerasable, are blotted from the book of life. "Yet now, if You will forgive their sin--but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written. And the Lord said to Moses, 'Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.'" [Exodus 32:32, 33]. Moses' love for Israel is so great that he offers to be blotted from God's book in order that their sin might be forgiven. The Lord replies that it is those who continue in sin, breaking God's holy Law [I John 3:4], that will be blotted from the book. Many think that if their names are written in the Book of Life they have a clear ticket to heaven, but not so. The judgment reviews every case to determine if their character matches their profession, to see if they have loved Jesus enough to obey Him no matter what. If a person has proved unfaithful to their calling, their names will no longer be retained in the holy book. Speaking of the unrighteous, David says, "Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous." [Psalms 69:28]. Those who have persisted in their own course, despite the plain warnings from the Word of God, will be blotted from the book of the righteous. "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." [Revelation 3:5]. Those who overcome--overcome sin, the world, and themselves--will find an eternal place in the Book of Life. Jesus will confess them before His Father and they will be clothed in the white garments never more to be naked again. But those who do not overcome, the only assurance given in the God's Word is that their names will be blotted from the Book of Life, and it is only those whose names are forever written in the Lamb's Book of Life that will enter through the pearly gates into the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:27.
The sanctuary in heaven will indeed be cleansed [Daniel 8:14]. (See Steps to Life's booklet, Your Last Chance to be Saved) It will be cleansed from sin. The righteous, who have followed Jesus at every step of the way, will have their sins blotted out. The wicked, who didn't think that God was that particular, will have their names blotted out. Which will it be for you?
The Final Decree
"He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still." [Revelation 22:11]. One of the most awesome and fearful decrees given in the Bible is recorded right here. The time is coming when it will be too late. Too late to repent, too late to make a decision, too late to follow the Lord. When the judgment closes, the results will be final. There will be no second chance. It will be said, "It is done!" [Revelation 16:17]. Those who have taken their stand under the banner of rebellion will stay there. Those who have taken their stand under the blood stained banner of Prince Emanuel will stay there. At that time there will be "no intercessor," and Jesus will take off His priestly, mediatorial garments and "put on the garments of vengeance." [Isaiah 59:16, 17]. Very soon this decree will be given, and directly after this decree is given "And, behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work." [Revelation 22:12]. After probation closes, Jesus is coming back for His people. Very soon it will all be over. Which side will you be on?
It will be similar to the days of Noah. After Noah's work was totally finished, "the Lord shut him in." [Genesis 7:16]. The Lord shut the door and those that were outside, stayed outside. The Lord had shut the door and no longer could a person change their mind. It was over. Those who were outside were destined to drown. Those who were inside were going to be preserved. Likewise when the judgment closes, it will be over. You will be on one side or the other. Which side will you be on? Will you make the choice to follow God and obey Him no matter what so that you will be among His people in that day? Jesus has promised, "the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." [John 6:37]. If you will only come to Him as you are and allow Him to cleanse you, He will save you in His kingdom at last, but we must come to Him. Will you make that decision to come to Him in repentance and humiliation, choosing to love Him and keep His commandments no matter what? Or will you continue in the way of the vast majority of the world, in reckless disregard of God's Word and His Law, and end up outside the holy city? The choice is yours. May the Lord help you to make the right choice so that you may eternally be among the righteous of all the ages.
All emphasis the author's unless otherwise stated.
All texts from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.
Other Exciting Books on Bible Prophecy from Steps to Life
Why Hitler Lost
When Religion Puts You in the Fire
Secrets from the Spirit World
The End of War and Injustice
The Rapture and Israel's Future
The Beast's Mark
Surviving the Great Tribulation
Once Saved Always Saved?
The Race to Contact the Dead
Bible Facts on Hell
Your Last Night on Earth
Your Last Chance to Be Saved
Speaking in Tongues
Lost in the Church
The Only Way to Be Saved
Must a Man Be Buried to Live?
The End of the World
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Copyright ©1999 by Steps to Life
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