Of the Last Judgment.
Chapter 32, Paragraph 2.
“The end of God’s appointing this Day, is for the manifestation of the glory of his Mercy, in the Eternal Salvation of the Elect; and of his Justice in the eternal damnation of the Reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient; for then shall the Righteous go into Everlasting Life, and receive that fulness of Joy, and Glory, with everlasting reward, in the presence of the Lord; but the wicked who do not know God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into Eternal torments, and punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”
2 Timothy 4:8
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
When thinking about the Last Judgment, we have a tendency to focus on what is going to happen to us. Knowing that the elect will be saved and the wicked will be punished forever gives hope to the Christian, as well as urgency to share the gospel with the lost. Such knowledge is important, but is the purpose of the Last Day to give happy or sad endings to people? The reason for the Last Judgment is to glorify God.
Way back in Chapter 2, paragraph 3 of the Confession, we learned why this Last Day would occur in the manner described in Scripture. The LBCF states:
By the decree of God for the manifestation of his glory some men and angels, are predestinated, or fore-ordained to Eternal Life, through Jesus Christ to the praise of his glorious grace; others being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice. (italics added)
When the Last Judgment occurs, God’s full glory will be manifest to all humanity. For the Christian, this means receiving the fullness and glory of joy, the joy of being in full communion with Christ. No longer will we walk by faith, but we will see Christ. No longer will our sin prevent us from being in God’s presence. His mercy will be abundantly demonstrated when He invites us in: “Come, you who are blessed of My Father…” (Matthew 25:34). Because of Jesus Christ, we see the final act of salvation – eternal life, singing the praises of God’s glorious grace.
The wicked will also glorify God on the Last Day, but in a manner quite different from that of the saints. In the Last Judgment, those who do not belong to Christ receive everlasting torment and punishment. They do not benefit from Christ’s grace and mercy; rather they see the justice of God on full display against sin. In this God is also glorified, for all will realize that He is holy.
In the end, all of creation and all of time exist for God’s glory. The Last Day, accompanied by the Last Judgment, are no exception. At that day we will see God’s “wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness and mercy” (LBCF 5.1) in all its splendor, and we will praise Him for it. May we practice giving such praise to God even now!
Questions to Consider
- Do you view the Last Day with God’s glory in mind?