May 17th 2009

Freedom From Fear Of The Final Judgment

“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood…to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”
Revelation 1:5-6 (TNIV)

A lot of believing Christians are afraid of the final Judgment. Even though they are believers, they’re well aware of the fact that they don’t live a perfect life. They still sin, and they’re afraid that at the Judgment their sins will be exposed and they just won’t measure up to the perfection and holiness that God expects and requires.

Maybe the idea of a final Judgment is a little frightening to you, too. After all, if we’re honest with ourselves, we all know we fall short of God’s perfect righteousness in so many ways.

And one thing is certain about the final Judgment: It includes everybody. There’s no place to hide from God. It’s a sure thing and there’s no escape.

But there is something else about the final Judgment that is just as certain: The identity of the Judge. The presiding Judge at the final Judgment is none other than Jesus Christ.

The book of Revelation, as you probably know, has a lot to say about the final Judgment, but it also has a lot to say about the Judge. It calls him the One who “loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.” He is a Judge who loves the sinners he judges so much that he died for them, standing in for them in their place and on their behalf. More than that, he rose from the dead for them, and took them with him to the right hand of God the Father, who loves them just as much as Jesus does.

And that’s what should fill us will relief and joy. Since Jesus himself is the Judge, there’s no reason for any of us to be afraid of the Judgment.

God loves sinners, including you and me, so much that the Father sent his Son to take up the human cause and draw all people, including you and me, to his side, transforming our minds and hearts by the Holy Spirit. God isn’t trying to find things wrong with you to keep you out of his kingdom. No, he earnestly wants you in his kingdom. He wants you to have eternal life.

Notice how Jesus defines eternal life in this passage from the Gospel of John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Do you know God the Father and Jesus Christ? It’s not hard or complicated. There’s no secret handshake or riddle to solve. Jesus tells us that anyone who has seen him has seen the Father, and he says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

It’s just a matter of turning to him. He already did everything necessary to make you worthy. He’s already forgiven all your sins. Like the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:8, “…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God doesn’t wait until we’re good enough before he forgives us and makes us his own children. He’s already done it – while we’re sinners!

When we turn to God and put our trust in Jesus Christ, we enter a new life. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us and begins scraping off the thick hide of sinful habits and attitudes and thinking, transforming us into the image of Christ from the inside out.

That can hurt at times, but it is also freeing and refreshing. Through it, we grow in faith and come to know and love our Saviour more and more. And the more we know our Saviour, who is also our Judge, the less we fear the Judgment.

Are you afraid of the final Judgment? Don’t be. Just trust Jesus, and rest in full confidence that when he returns, you will stand with him.

It’s not about how good you are; it’s about how good he is.

Prayer
Great God, thank you that we do not need to fear the final judgment, that we can have full confidence that we will stand with Christ, that because he love us we have been freed from fear.
Amen

Study by Joseph Tkach

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