I have appointments each week. Sometimes I put them off when not ready. One will not be postponed, and I won’t be late for it. “It is appointed to men once to die, and after that the judgment” (Hebrew 9:27). The next appointment after death is to stand before the court of heaven. No one can cancel out. Everyone who has ever drawn breath will be there.
The Basis of judgment. God “will give to each person according to what he has done” (Romans 2:6). “The dead were judged…according to what they had done” (Revelation 20:12). Our lives give ample evidence to our choices. The sheep and goats are separated for eternity on the basis of what they have done or not done (Matthew 25.40,45). It will be righteous, fair, and just. “And I saw a great white throne, and Him sitting on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away…And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God. And books were opened, and another book was opened which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:11-14).
The Judge. “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). The Father honors His Son, the man Christ Jesus, by delegating to Him the responsibility for judging every person in the human race. You will be there. So will Socrates, Hitler, President Trump, Queen Elizabeth, and Lebron James. Greatness is dwarfed in the presence of the Son of Man. The date has been fixed from eternity. Knowing this reality, Peter asks, “What sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness…? (2 Peter 3:11).
The Finality of the Decision. Court scenes are dramatic. Destinies are announced in one declared statement. A guilty verdict could mean a life in prison. On the last day a guilty verdict means an eternity–a really long time. No higher court can overturn the decision once the Supreme Court of the universe has spoken. Christ’s decision will be uncontested and not overruled–forever!
Any other judgments? Jesus will hold a separate judgment for Christians, called “the judgment seat of God” (Romans 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10). This is will be more like an awards banquet than a courtroom scene. Some make it by the skin of their teeth (“as through fire”–I Cor. 3:15), while others will have awards awaiting them (14).
I am deeply grateful that Jesus said, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). Aren’t you?! Being judged righteous by the blood of Christ means that “we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (I John 2:26). Maranatha–Come, Lord, Jesus!