The Judgment of the Church

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now

'If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?'

Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” 1 Peter 4:17-19

As I read the above verse, I was struck by the fact that the church (God's defined body of believers) is the first to be judged on judgment day. I guess I never really thought about the order of all that would happen on judgment day, but it is interesting that God would share, above all things, the order in which mankind will be judged.

I really don't like the anticipation of waiting for something to happen. Take in point that my cow is due to calf tomorrow and for the last week I have been a total wreck. I finally woke up this morning and confessed to God that I really need to just trust that He will lead me to the barn at the right time and I have to stop letting this matter be an all consuming vice in my life. Therefore, as I look at the verse I know God put before me to reflect on along with my worrisome nature, I wonder what it will be like on judgment day as I wait my turn to be judged.

Yes, I have to think there will be a line and since there is a finite number of humans who will be standing and waiting their turn for judgment (first to the last). It is with this thought that I am then left to question, “Where will I be standing in that line?” Because, if the believers are to be judged first then I would think there comes a point in the line where you get closer and closer to the point of being on the side of those who did not believe (that is if my humanly sensible premise of a line which goes from the most obedient to the least obedient were to occur). Maybe that is all just a premise in my own mind, but I would have to think that as I stood in line waiting my turn, no matter what the order, what would my anxiety level be as it was getting closer and closer to my turn.

Fortunately though, just as in life here on earth, God has given us who believe many promises we can look to that reassure us that all will turn out well with our own personal judgment scenarios. For example, in John 5:24, Jesus states “..he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” This verse alone is great in giving us reassurance that for those of us who do believe, the judgment seat is one we have already passed the test for into eternal life by choosing to hear Jesus and believe in the Father who sent Him.

 But that doesn't mean that before the judgment seat we will not be held accountable for all that we chose to do here on earth with the freedom we have been given. Take into account these two verses:

For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: 'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.' So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:10-12
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10
Will it help to worry about all of the things then that I have failed to do in the past? No. And worry will not be helpful while I am standing in line for judgment over those things I have failed to do just like it is not helpful here on earth when I anticipate all of the scenarios that may happen before their time. Instead, while I still have time I need to live each day in trust that following the will of God and fearing His great and wonderful nature will bring into my life the best offering I can place before Jesus at the judgment seat on the day I am required to stand and make an account for my actions.

A healthy fear of the Lord is the mark of a confident believer who is willing to look at judgment day for the reality of what it is and trusting in the work of the Lord each day as He leads you is what will build that healthy fear of Him, one experience at a time.


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