27 Mar What judgment awaits non-Christians at the end of this life? Part 1
“As for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8
God’s rescue mission to sinful creation is to transform the entire cosmos into a glorious community where all beings fulfill God’s Edenic purpose and enjoy relationship with Him, worship Him, and serve Him in ways completely consistent with who He is.62 In the Kingdom, the twin sins of idolatry and injustice will be transformed into obedience of Jesus’ twin commands to love God and neighbor.63
Judgment is God assessing the response to His call to reconciliation to Himself through Jesus Christ. The issue is simple: have people accepted or rejected His invitation, His command to join Him? The new creation can be new only if everyone in it loves God and obeys him. There can be no sin or sinners. They must be separated out. Otherwise, all that would happen is that the conflict of this world would be drug into the world that never ends.
A day is coming when God will judge the living and the dead64 through the Son.65 When the Son of Man comes to sit on His throne, all will stand before Him for judgment.66 From the beginning of creation67 to the end,68 the Bible makes it clear that the basis of God’s judgment is our deeds.69 Practically speaking, eternal reward and judgment will correspond with our degree of faithfulness or unfaithfulness toward God.
Do you find comfort or confusion in considering that Jesus will judge everyone according to the life they lived? Why? Why not?
62 Gen. 1:26–28. The Westminster Catechism summarizes this in its answer to question 1: “Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
63 Deut. 6:5, 10:12, 30:6; Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:37–40; Mark 12:30–31; Luke 10:27; Rom. 13:9–10, 15:2;
Gal. 5:14, 6:10; James 2:8.
64 Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 4:5.
65 Ps. 2:12; Mark 14:62; John 5:22; Acts 17:31.
66 Matt. 25:31–46; Rev. 20:11–15.
67 Gen. 2:15–17.
68 Rev. 20:12–13.
69 Jer. 17:10, 32:19; Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6; Gal. 6:7–8; Rev. 2:23, 22:12.