31 December 2007

Drawing to an end

by Dan Phillips

The year 2007 draws to an end. And what else?

None of us knows what the next moment holds. "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring" (Proverbs 27:1). Whatever the next day brings, all the preceding days bring their mounting weight to bear on us.

Consider now the final words of Benazir Bhutto:
"Long live Bhutto," Benazir Bhutto shouted, waving to the crowd surging around her car. They were her last words before three gunshots rang out and she slumped back on to her seat.

"She did not say anything more," said Safdar Abbassi, her chief political adviser, who was sitting behind her.
"Long live Bhutto" — bang! — dead.

And then? Then Benazir Bhutto found herself facing her Judge (Hebrews 9:27). Was she prepared?

At the moment, I'm less concerned about her than about you and me. The only difference between Bhutto and us is a tick, a moment, a flash. We all stand before the Judge just as surely as she. We don't know the time on the summons, but we do know that we won't miss our court appearance date by so much as a second.

And what do we bring? In the best movie version of A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge hears Marley's lament about the many and heavy chains he wears, and murmurs "You have my sympathy." Marley's response:
"Ahh — you do not know the weight and length of strong chain you bear yourself. It was full as heavy and as long as this seven Christmas eves ago and you have labored on it since. Ah! it is a ponderous chain!"



Whatever the theological shortcomings of Christmas Carol (and they are many and serious), I appreciate this: Scrooge is vividly shown to be utterly unaware that he is judged, as he stands; that his life has already borne fruit, and that fruit is bitter, woeful, deadly.

This is the state of men today. We read, "whoever does not believe is condemned already" (John 3:18). Worse, and more ominously, John reveals that "whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him" (John 3:36) — now, at this moment, as he draws this fleeting breath which, for all he knows, may be his last. What Daniel said to Belshazzar, he might well say to us: "the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored" (Daniel 5:23).

"Long live me!"poof! — gone. Gone to judgment.

Someone has just read those words, and they are for you. Your condition is just so. Whatever your pursuits and distractions over the past year, the reality is that you are a step away from a judgment that is absolute, final, inescapable, irrevocable, and incapable of appeal. Were you to die now, the ax would fall, and that would be that. Forever. You need to come to know God, now.

But lest my Christian readers (and self) feel too safe, consider that the same principle applies to us equally, and perhaps even more so. Never forget:
"Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more" (Luke 12:48)
Perhaps you read this blog daily, and other writings of men far better than the current one. Good, and God be praised. But never forget: as you and I read, our responsibility-index goes up. It is happening now, right now, to you, and to me.

The words of Hebrews 9:27 ("it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment") do not bring a message to unbelievers alone, but to us as well. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Corinthians 5:10). And how does this consideration affect the apostle who wrote it? Does Paul go on to say, "But never mind that, the blood covers all, I'm eternally secure, so I'm going for what I see to be my best life right now"?



Not so much. Paul's very next words are, "Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:11). The apostle of free forensic justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone found the reality of God's judgment both sobering and motivating.

So I call us all, as the year draws to a close, to consider the judgment of God, and to consider our lives in that context. The statistics are pretty good that not all who read these words now will be here to read any similar post next year's end. Nor may I be here to write one. Benazir Bhutto's last words were a futile wish for earthly longevity, words that were instantly given the lie.

John Piper's idea is better. Piper uses New Year's Eve as a dress-rehearsal for his own death, considering his year in the light of God's judgment, and eternity.

Do that, or use another idea. But do something.

Tick tick tick.....

"For man does not know his time.
Like fish that are taken in an evil net,
and like birds that are caught in a snare,
so the children of man are snared at an evil time,
when it suddenly falls upon them"
(Ecclesiastes 9:12)

POSTSCRIPT: some of last year's closing thoughts can be found here and here; and a previous year from my blog here.

Dan Phillips's signature

54 comments:

Puritan said...

That's quite a powerful end of year post there brother Dan.

But just to jestingly correct you on one point. Pat Robertson knows the end ;0)

DJP said...

Ohhh... boy.

Jerry said...

Sobering. Thanks brother.

davidinflorida said...

Its harvest time....the fields are ready....this post helps remind us of the urgency

Bill said...

Excellent post. Thank you.

Reminds me of Jonathan Edwards sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God:

http://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/je-sinners.htm

Keep up the awesome work Team Pyro, this site is a daily encouragement for me.

God bless.
Bill

heath lloyd said...

That is one powerful message. I thank God for it, one I certainly need to hear. Weighty. May the Lord bless the work and ministry of Team Pyro -- stand firm brothers.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Word. I was preaching on Jesus growing in "wisdom and stature" yesterday, and that the beginning of wisdom is, of course, the fear of God. How we need, in the church, to recover a healthy (and I use that word advisedly) fear of God.

Found this clip as an illustration of the way morals USED to be taught. In 1857, the famous educator Emma Willard published a book for children entitled, "Morals for the Young: or, Good Principles Instilling Wisdom." In it she stated:

"My Dear Children and Youth:—
Since, then, wisdom teaches us to rate everything at its just value, it is wise to seek the favor, and fear the frown of God, rather than to seek the favor, and fear the frown of men. Look upon a Savior’s cross … ask pardon … and the Holy Spirit’s guidance … receive the Christian’s armor."

Happy New Year to the fellowship of the burning heart who gather here.

Colin Adams said...

Dan,

I agree that it is worthwhile to consider the judgement of God, and only in that light, the grace of God. Our preaching-team spend 12 months working through Jeremiah (a book predominantly of judgement - with a little grace thrown in!) and it had a sobering effect on the whole church. It also made us throw ourselves more urgently on the grace of the gospel.

Jim Peet said...

Thanks for this sobering post.

A year ago my B-I-L was a healthy 60 year old. He died in early December.

Our lives are truly "like a vapor".

DJP said...

Colin — thanks. Your example though is sobering to me, as I remember that the Word is not magical. I know an excellent young man who led a study in Jeremiah, then proudly threw himself into a dank potpourri of sin from which he hasn't even yet begun to show any signs of seeking God's deliverance. One looks, and one fears.

Mike Riccardi said...

Very well done, Dan. Seriously, thanks for this message. I agree with Bill; it is very reminiscent of Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. That Daniel 5 verse is striking. I'm going to send this post to some family members that I've proclaimed the Gospel to over the holidays.

'Tis doubtless the case of some that heretofore you have seen and known, that never deserved hell more than you, and that heretofore appeared as likely to have been now alive as you: their case is past all hope; they are crying in extreme misery and perfect despair; but here you are in the land of the living, and in the house of God, and have an opportunity to obtain salvation. What would not those poor damned, hopeless souls give for one day's such opportunity as you now enjoy! And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has flung the door of mercy wide open, and stands in the door calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners. -- Edwards

Strong Tower said...

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes...because...He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it”...The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

Hebrews 11 leads 12 and in it we join that great cloud of witness, those who have gone before, sinners, who prayed as David: "O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it." Who also pray this: "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me."

Humility is knowing who we are, and who God is: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

The problem with the world is that it does not know the fear of the Lord. They do not know the depths of their depravity. How different from saints like David who understood, and experienced all to grafically, that God is in every thought and act and cannot be escaped. The world says, who sees, who will know it, while the people of God fall before a Lord who is now observing every heartbeat of every thought and judges every word even before it is spoken. Knowing this, indeed, knowing anything certainly, begins with the fear of God.

Jesus commands we judge rightly, and Micah records that the Way of God is marked by right judgement, mercy, and humility. Because, we being worthy of judgement, God has not imputed our sins to us, but through Christ has given us mercy. To that great gift of His Son, we bow in humiliation praying, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Let us pray then, also, "Lord, if it be your will," and work out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing....

Mr. Harmless said...

Great Post.

I had no idea that those were her last words. Very sobering.

Gilbert said...

Dan,

In 2006 a friend of mine developed a type of cancer that comes and attacks...and kills suddenly. I can't remember the name of it now.

In any case...one day he developed a very sore foot and then a day or two later felt weak. He went to the hospital, then after a few hours, was transferred to another, after the doctor suspected cancer. It was. The only way for survival, and a cure, was to undergo a complete blood transfusion. However, this cancer was/is sinister in that when you undergo a full transfusion, there's a 1 in 4 chance the blood could clot, causing a massive stroke/heart attack, and immediate death. Into the operating room he was whisked, joking, laughing with the nurses, smiling.

You can guess what happened a few hours later.

My prayer to God is that I will allow Him to clean up the areas of sin in my life I cling to, and unwittingly do...to point them out so that I may repent. I've been too careless in that regard. And that's my #1 "resolution" for this new year.

Thank you, brother, for a message I didn't want to hear, but absolutely need to.

Gilbert

pastorbrianculver said...

Good words to hear! I have been dialoging on another blog this morning and it has so many people who have absolutely no fear of God in them. I think a lot of that comes from the fact they think they have plenty of time to come to God, so they want to do what ever pleases them. Thank you for preaching the whole word of God! Happy New Year to everyone!

Timotheos said...

Sobering.
Thank you.

SEALCON said...

I have a question for you:
And then? Then Benazir Bhutto found herself facing her Judge (Hebrews 9:27). Was she prepared?

I don't think I agree with you. One day we will all appear either before the Great White Throne Judgement or the Judgement Seat of Christ. But Bhutto has not met her Judge yet. She is in torment if she didn't know the Lord, but meeting her Judge, that is still something to come... right?

Thanks. Good post and happy new year.

Connie

philness said...

Just think of us who are washed in the Lambs blood while standing in judgments’ line dueling mentally with a couple things. 1. That we are assured of immortality (Heaven or Hell) and 2. That we are not 100% sure of which immortality we will spend.

I mean, faith is not absolutely 100% assuring you know. On one hand we have this thing called doubt and on the other hand you have “faith is the substance of things hoped for; the things unseen” and “therefore there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” dueling over and over in our heads.

Outside of judgment this is a very mind boggling thing that can be quit debilitating. For some this debilitation is evident in like someone Dan knows who has never recuperated; yet, we pray. One would conclude that such a person either understood very well the fear of the Lord by knowing he could not survive and has said Kings X, game over for me, I’ll just remain in the flesh, for this is all I have and know. And another would conclude of such a person as having not the will or even conceiving the notion that such a performance as is required could ever be attained.

So, what do we conclude? We conclude that the flesh and the spirit are at war with one another in the lives of Gods children and on the day of our judgment we will all tremble in horror for the verdict as we beg and pled Christs blood.

S.J. Walker said...

for whom the bell tolls...

Hemingway I know, but it fit so good.

Thanks Dan (the tent spike hammer) Phillips.

You're almost as good as me!....

SO SO SO kidding!

Happy New Year all.

donsands said...

The Word is a two-edged sword. It's sharper than any man made sword, and cuts deep to the soul.

Thanks for an excellent post.

May the Father in heaven grant us His Holy Spirit to walk in faith and abide in His Word. Amen.

Have a great 2008!

ADB said...

Thank you for reminding us that this life is just the beginning.

Mike Riccardi said...

I don't think I agree with you. One day we will all appear either before the Great White Throne Judgement or the Judgement Seat of Christ. But Bhutto has not met her Judge yet. She is in torment if she didn't know the Lord, but meeting her Judge, that is still something to come... right?

Connie, there may be a couple of things that are being confused. First, there's a difference between the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-15) and what's called the Bema Seat judgment (see 1Cor 3, 2Cor 5, Rom 14). It's the bema seat judgment that's referred to in 2Cor 5 and Rom 14 as "the judgment seat of Christ," and it is that judgment seat that we all have to face. I suppose there are different arguments about when that occurs, but I've always understood it to be the the moment we die. I believe that's the judgment Dan's talking about Bhutto going to right away after death.

The Great White Throne judgment happens after the end of the millennial kingdom (Rev 20:7) and after the resurrection of the dead (i.e., unbelievers; Rev 20:12), which only unbelievers have to face, even if they've already faced the bema seat judgment. You'll notice that in Rev 20:11-15 only unbelievers and not believers are mentioned.

Hope that clears things up. To all: if I've blundered anywhere feel free to straighten me out.

Mike Riccardi said...

Now wait... I think I've got a question myself now... lol.

It seems there are many who have the idea that the bema seat is for believers and the GWT is for unbelievers. That kinda makes sense given where the term bema comes from (i.e., the seat that athletes stood at to receive their rewards). But if that is true, then isn't Connie right in saying that the unbeliever's judgment is not until the GWT?

Johnny Dialectic said...

There is one judgment. Please see Matt. 25 and Grudem, ch. 56.

Mike Riccardi said...

Johnny,

I don't have Grudem's Systematic Theology. I did read Matthew 25 though. So if you would say that the Matthew 25 judgment is the GWT judgment, then you're saying that believers and unbelievers will be judged at that time. What would you say about the fact that Revelation 20 talks only about the judgment of unbelievers?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Dan Phillips, what a great post to cap off a great year for TeamPyro!

"Long live Bhutto" — bang! — dead.

Man, oh man, that line just jumped off the computer screen at me!

If that's not a terrific way to introduce a sense of urgency to someone whom you're fulfilling the Great Commission with, I don't know what is. That is such a powerful, Powerful true-life story.

Well done DJP!

Happy New Year to Team Pyro and all the regulars (of which I now consider my self-invited self!)

;-)

Pedro said...

DJP,

What a great application on the judgment day and Hades vs Heaven.
I found this sermon from Dr. John Piper a great resource on the subject.

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1980/247_Final_Judgment/

A blessed New Year for all.

Pedro said...

Sorry, the url got truncated, after Sermons/ it should read:

ByDate/1980/247_Final_Judgment/

DJP said...

Pedro's link .

The Seeking Disciple said...

Reminds me once again as I close out 2007 how grateful I must be for Jesus my Savior. Without Christ and His work of salvation, I would be condemned to hell but thank God for His grace through His Son. I can now stand in confidence that while I might fear how I will die, I need not fear death itself for Jesus has assured me eternal life through His blood.

S.J. Walker said...

Seeking,

Good to see you again. Well put point. I am reminded of Stonewall Jackson:

"Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me." He added, after a pause, looking me full in the face: "That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave"

God Bless all here,

Sam

ezekiel said...

Mike,

The way I read Matt 25, we have to remember that He is already on His throne. A position He took here...

Mark 16:19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

Matthew 25 contains parables that more or less tell us that at some point the door is going to close. Some virgins are going to be out still looking for oil and some men are going to be trying to explain why they buried their talent. But they have already been judged at that point.

John 3:18 says those that don’t believe are already condemned. They have already been judged.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.

We need to remember the better promise/new covenant in Hebrews 8. He will remember our sins no more....

John 5: The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, 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. 25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment


Rev 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.


Being a Christian is daily judgement by the WORD, correction and discipline resulting in sanctification and ultimately, glorification when we assume our positions on the throne with Jesus.

When we see judged for deeds, sins and words, I think we are talking about unbelievers....folks that show up at the wedding without the robe of righteousness we have through faith....Imputed through Christ. We are a new creation, righteous and pure before God. There shouldn’t be anything left to judge then.....(1 Thes 5:16-23).

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Strong Tower said...

That's right zeke- and lest we forget: "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

Thank God, that the works that we will be rewarded for are those that Christ has already accomplished on our behalf, such that we will, without doubt walk in them to the glory of God the Father. It is great, and greatly to be praised that that judgement now, is passed over in Christ, our passover lamb. On that day, when we die, we will find ourselves seated next to him, not in front of him for judgement, for what sin would there be left for Christ to judge that his blood was unable to cleanse?

Being in Christ is to have the record, the eternal record of sins we commit expunged, so that we no longer walk according to the flesh to fulfill its lust, but we are now, and forever more, walking in the Spirit by Faith, and that not of our selves. Thank you Jesus for so great a salvation, so that we do not walk by the spirit of this world in fear of condemnation, but as dear children we have the mind of Christ, and it is as a man thinks so is he.

Theophilus said...

SERIOUSLY???
THOSE were her last words?
Yikes.

"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'" (Luke 12:20)

Johnny Dialectic said...

Mike, where does Rev. 20 say "only for nonbelievers"?

pastorbrianculver said...

There was a boy who died suddenly in town here this past summer. He was young. A Christian lady was so sad because she knew he did not know Jesus. She is feeling guilty now because she never once tried to tell him about his sinful life and the need to repent and put his faith and trust in Jesus. We don't know when our last day will be. And we don't know when our neighbor will die either. We must get out today and fulfill the Great Commission. Thanks again for the urgency of this message. Happy New Year to everyone.

LeeC said...

It makes me think of the Casting Crowns song "Here I go Again".

Pray that every death might be used to bring a sense of urgency to those who still are here.

Hebrews 9

27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,

28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

Mike Riccardi said...

Ezekiel,

It may just be me, but all the passages you've quoted don't seem to discredit the argument I'm putting forth; in fact, it seems that it's only being strengthened.

Even though Jesus does indeed reign now in the hearts of His people, He does not yet reign as He will on earth when He comes for the second time. Hebrews 2:8b: For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.

Yes they stand condemned already in some sense, as we understand God's sovereignty, existence outside of time, and the same way we understand that those whom He justified He also glorified (past, already), and yet He justified me and I'm not glorified yet. God's eternal decree has been given, but it has not yet been 'accomplished' or 'played out fully' or whatever phrase you'd like to have there.

If all judgment is only for unbelievers, somebody should have let the wind out of Paul's sails in 2Cor 5:9-10: Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad, and in Romans 14:10: But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Mike Riccardi said...

Johnny,

First we have to understand where we're at in eschatological 'future-history.' The GWT judgment is at the end of the millennial reign (Rev 20:7).

Scripture talks about two resurrections; one "of life" and one "of judgment" (Jn 5:29, Ac 24:15). The resurrection of life is also called the "resurrection of the righteous" in Luke 14:14. The resurrection of the righteous is called the resurrection of "those who are Christ's at His coming" in 1Cor 15:23.

So all those in redemptive history who are saved (alive or dead) at the time of the rapture are resurrected to their resurrection bodies. Then there's the tribulation, and we come to Rev 20.

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

So then those who believed during the tribulation (vs. 4) are resurrected and reign with Christ and the other believers (call them non-Tribulation saints, I guess). This is the first resurrection (Rev 20:5b), those who partake of which are pronounced blessed and impervious to the second death (vs. 6).

Now, Revelation 20:5a says: The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. So the question is, "Who are the rest of the dead? Who's left?" Well, all the believers before the tribulation were resurrected before it (1Cor 5:23), and all the believers after the tribulation were resurrected after it (Rev 20:5b). So all the believers are already through. The only ones left are unbelievers.

No?

HarryJ said...

Though I liked some points of this post, Dan seems confused about the timing of meeting one's Judge and the difference between the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10) and the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20).

The MacArthur Study Bible helped me on this. He mentions the following thoughts (my thumbnail):

-Jesus refers to the Great White Throne Judgment in John 5:29, "and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment."

-Paul mentions the Judgment Seat of Christ in 2 Cor. 5:10 as his motivation in proclaiming the gospel. But it is not a judgment of sins; the believers' judgment of sin was fully realized in Christ on the cross; but this is a judgment of works and rewards in our service to the Lord (1 Cor. 3).

-Rev. 20 is speaking about the judgment of all nonbelievers from all the ages.

Has Mrs. Bhutto met her Judge yet? No. But since the moment of her tragic death she is now in Hades. Rev. 20 says that one day all nonbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne and that Death and Hades will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.

What a terrible day.

In light of this certain judgment, I was a little surprised that there was no gospel presentation in this post. A nonbeliever who would read it on their own would be left without hope and not know how to escape this judgment to come. Maybe one could be added or a link to one. Just a thought.

Romans 8:1
Harry

Mike Riccardi said...

Harry,

See the link "come to know God" in the post. It's a link to a very extensive gospel presentation.

Secondly, I'm wondering what reason you have to believe that unbelievers of this age won't appear before the judgment seat of Christ when they die, and then all be resurrected for the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the millennium. Read that as a genuine inquiry, because that was my original question that I'm trying to figure out.

Also, Dan, do you have any direction on these things? It would be much appreciated.

Johnny Dialectic said...

No.

Even with the presuppositions you present (systemic in origin), one must work hard to harmonize the clearest passages of Scripture, like Matt. 25. It's a better principle of hermeneutics, IMO, to begin with the clearest passages and end with Rev. 20.

But we're heading into familiar territory, and probably beyond the scope of the meta. Perhaps this can become the subject of a future post, which specifically interacts with Grudem and Hendrickson.

ezekiel said...

Mike,

I am pretty sure what I am saying can be supported by the WORD. However, test everything, everyone, and let me know if you think I err. I struggle with this as well. When we search for "blameless" and "crucified" we find some interesting passages of scripture that I think shed light on what we are looking at.

I am not arguing with you and in fact think that the scriptures support you as well. I don't think there is any judgement...after death anyway, for those truly abiding in Christ. In Rev 20, the dead are judged and we have to remember that we as christians have passed from death to life. Judgement has been rendered and sentence passed. The only ones left to judge are those that rebelled and did not accept Christ. Those will be judged for their deeds....

Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Romans 6 sort of ties it all together. If we die to self, crucify the flesh, and accept judgement from the WORD and His discipline and correction then when we die in the flesh, we assume our position on the throne with Christ, He is the head and we are the Body.

It fits Dan's original post of :

Heb 9: 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

It fits Dan's original post of John 3:18 and 3:36

It fits Daniel 5:23 with what I consider a bone chilling warning,

It fits 2 Cor 5:10,11 because we are before the judgement seat today, the WORD is judging us and correcting us. Cleansing us.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.

That to me is what is so deadly about the easy believism junk we see out there today. Suffering the rod of correction is not easy for me. Dying to self is not easy for me. Obeying the WORD is not easy for me. I know folks that tell me that there is no reason to fear the Lord. That He is merciful and full of grace.....No reason to try to live a sinless life because it can't be done....

I don't know about you but while I am in the judgement seat, I fear Him! And I plead for mercy for my deeds...and my sin...

Heb 10:26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, Vengeance is mine; I will repay. And again, The Lord will judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

ezekiel said...

Mike,

Your 8:02 post is exactly the way I read as well.

SolaMeanie said...

Isn't it interesting how metas can take a life of their own? A sobering point about how close we are to eternity and facing God at the judgment ends up very close to an eschatological/dispensational kerfuffle.

Can we talk about the Antichrist?

(Just kidding, it's New Year's Day and what's a holiday meta without some middle-aged wiseacre trying to throw a spanner in the works?)

4given said...

The following is a credo from a company that sells motorcycles:
---Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, grinning from ear to ear, overdosing on adrenaline and proclaiming, "Wow! What a ride!"

In light of this post, let me reword that credo a bit:
---The Christian life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, avoiding trials, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up and equipped as one who laid up his treasures in heaven, totally made rich in faith toward God through Christ, by the grace of God alone grinning from ear to ear with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith before the judgment seat of Christ, overflowing with praises and proclaiming, "TO GOD ALONE BE ALL THE GLORY!"

Do we have this assurance?
Will we hear "Well done good and faithful servant"...?
Do we really mean it when we say "here I am, send me"...? even if in proclaiming HIS truth, they "keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand..." ???

Strong Tower said...

Seen this?

ezekiel said...

Ok, let’s look at Rev 20:4
4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

1 Cor 6:3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

Jude1: 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—
Luke 22 30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Mt 19 28 Jesus said to them, Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Then let’s look at Rev 20:6

20 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Romans 8 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

2 Tim 2:12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;

The first resurrection happens in 1 Thes 4.

14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

The way I read Rev 20, Christians are alive and on the throne with Jesus. They will judge the world, the dead in the sea (world), and those dead from where they have been since they died.

How can we judge ourselves and if we are alive, how can we be included in the dead?

DJP said...

Okay, so let me get this straight. From all that that post talks about, what is snagging to some is this sentence: "Then Benazir Bhutto found herself facing her Judge (Hebrews 9:27 ['...it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment'])"?

And the point under dispute is whether she saw her Judge when she was judged, or whether she was just judged but didn't see anyone?

Is that right?

Daryl said...

What struck me from the article is how quickly and quietly man's best hope for Pakistan was snuffed out.

Thank God his plans are not so easily derailed.

Strong Tower said...

Yessah, quite comical that what you were getting at, at this late date is "are you ready" and the agenda was swapped from "for that" to "for what and, the nature of the judgement will be?" It is also quite clear that people read what is troubling them into the posts more often than listening to what is posted.

Simply, and well put, it is an appointment, set in blood, the times and seasons of a man's life are in the hands of the Lord for only he has the power to take life or to give it but to man one chance is given to die then what is to be done? Should it be your death or the death of another on your behalf? And what of your neighbor? Would you give your life for even your enemy? Sobbering thoughts after a night of the highlife.

"Well, that all depends on what you call judgement," la da de de da, or where there is. Amazing stuff. Should no one reading this make it to next year...redeem the times for they are evil. "Long live", perhaps, but each will receive their eternal reward as though by fire.

So with that in mind, don't waste your life, you're just a shot away from your inability to speak words of life to those around you.

S.J. Walker said...

I have to print a retraction about one of my comments. Drew, don't get your hopes up. It's not about inerrancy or anything.

I attributed "for whom the bell tolls" to Hemingway. It was actually John Donne who coined it. It's from his poem "No Man Is An Island". A good friend of mine who is much more astute pointed out my false teaching. (And I minored in English too!)I have repented, but ask your forgiveness for my brief lapse in literary clarity.

So long

Saint Christopher said...

Amen, but... I wonder if anyone else thinks that we are generally inoculated against thinking of any type of serious evaluation before Christ because we won't have "sins" evaluated there. I wonder if we will actually have even our sinful behavior evaluated, but not condemned. It certainly seems incongrious given what we know about forgiveness, but mere "eternally worthless" vs. "eternally worthwhile" evaluation seems insufficient. Still pondering that...

Sacchiel said...

Those were her last words? That is haunting.