The Day of Reckoning
There shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. Acts 24:15
When I was a kid, I played a lot of board games. One of my favorites was The Game of Life (I just loved the spinner in the middle of the board). As you went through “life,” you typically went to college, got married, had kids, grew older and then faced THE DAY OF RECKONING. This determined if you would go to the Poor Farm or Millionaire Acres.
Looking back, it is interesting how The Game of Life is so true to real life. You see, there really is a DAY OF RECKONING for every person … but so many are so confused about it.
YOUR DAY BEFORE GOD
What does the Bible teach with regard to THE DAY OF RECKONING? It teaches that there are two separate judgments. One is for the wicked, and one is for the righteous.
1. THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT (Revelation 20:11-15) – This judgment is reserved for those who rejected God’s love and plan of salvation found only in Jesus Christ. These are the folks who refused to humble their hearts, repent of their sins, and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. All who appear before the “great white throne” will be judged for their sins and separated from God forever.
This judgment is one of horror, regret and great sadness. No doubt, the Lord with tears in His eyes has no choice but to say to those who rejected Him, “Not My will, but thine be done. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
It is interesting that at this judgment, the Lamb’s Book of Life is opened. Now, none who appear at this judgment will have his/her name in the Lamb’s Book, so it seems futile to even open it. I think God does this to show every person who stands at the Great White Throne that Jesus died for every human being. This person’s name COULD HAVE been in the Lamb’s Book had they not “refused the love of the truth so as to be saved.”
Although many people will be at this terrible judgment, it is NOT because God desires it. The truth of the matter is God does NOT want one person to go to hell. He “is not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). I believe with all my heart that if a person ends up in hell, that person has to trip over the cross of Jesus Christ to get there. Sadly, many do just that.
2. THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10) – This judgment is reserved for Christians. Everyone at this judgment received Christ as Savior and Lord. Never get the erroneous idea that this judgment determines if you go to heaven or not. That issue is determined in this life, the moment you repent and give your heart to Jesus.
The Judgment Seat of Christ is not a judgment of horror, as is the Great White Throne Judgment. This judgment is one to determine rewards. At this judgment, every Christian will be examined by the Lord Jesus to see what he/she did in the Christian life.
A good way to think of the Judgment Seat of Christ is to think in terms of an award’s banquet. When I was selling chemicals for Nalco, we had an annual award’s banquet. If you had a good year as a salesman, it was something to look forward to as you were going to be honored before the higher-ups in the company for a job well done.
So it is at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Those who lived for Jesus will hear those priceless words, “Well done, My good and faithful slave.” Those who lived for self will experience the shame and regret of a loss of reward. These folks did nothing with the opportunities God gave them. These folks buried their treasure in the ground. They are saved, but saved with no reward and nothing to show for their years as a Christian.
WHAT ABOUT FOR YOU?
Do you know what judgment you are headed to? Are you ready to meet your God?
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.