Of the Last Judgment.
Chapter 32, Paragraph 1.
“God hath appointed a Day wherein he will judge the world in Righteousness, by Jesus Christ; to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father; in which Day not only the Apostate Angels shall be judged; but likewise all persons that have lived upon the Earth, shall appear before the Tribunal of Christ; to give an account of their Thoughts, Words, and Deeds, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.”
1 Corinthians 6:3
2 Cor. 5:10
The day is coming when Christ will judge us. The One who has all power and authority will judge every single person who has lived on this earth besides Himself. Humanity will stand before him, not as a group, but individually, each one giving account for his actions, thoughts, and speech. Even the fallen angels will be judged on that day, to receive their just recompense.
For a believer, the thought of judgment by Christ can be apprehensive. We know time and time again that we do not measure up. To have our sin presented before Jesus is a scary thought. Yet we do not have to fear! While we live in this life we are fallen creatures. Christ knows that, and He has bought us for His own. Our sin has been paid for; we have been fully forgiven because of Christ’s work. The same God who forgives you now will not suddenly change His mind on the last day. Christian, do not fear the last judgment, but continue to look to Him for your salvation!
“Yes, Christ saved me,” you may argue. “But won’t we be judged by our works?” It says in this paragraph of the Confession, “…to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.” It is true that only those who have done good works will receive eternal life. But where do those works come from? Earlier on in the Confession it speaks of these good works.: “[Believers’] ability to do good works is not at all of themselves; but wholly from the Spirit of Christ.”(LBCF 6.3) Because they are good they proceed not from us, but from His Spirit. Our works cannot merit eternal life. They have been defiled with imperfection, since they were done in a body that was still corrupt with sin. Instead the works approved by Christ are evidence that those who did such are one of His purchased saints, and He will lose none (John 6:39).
Christian, this life will someday pass away. Until then, continue to look to Christ. “The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?” (Psalm 27:1) We can anticipate the last day with hopeful expectation, for He will prove faithful until the end.
Questions to Consider
- How do you view the last judgment? Are you scared, hopeful, or ambivalent?