Eternity, Judgment, Heaven and Hell

Why a Day of Judgment if Destiny is Determined at Death?

It is not to determine whether we are to go to heaven or to hell, for God knows at any given time what our destiny would be were we to die then. But, aside from whatever other reasons there may be, it is to assign publicly, as it were, the respective destinies and to vindicate the justice of the divine judgment announced, whether favorable or unfavorable.

Even in human courts of law, sentencing of those found guilty may be deferred for week or months, when reasons are given for the sentence announced.

In Matthew 7;21-23, Jesus states: "not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father who is in heaven. Many will say unto me in that day [evidently judgment day], Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity."

In Matthew 25:31-46, he states why he will say to those on his fight hand, "Come, ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world." And tell why; and likewise say to them on his left. "Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels," and tell why – including answers to questions asked as to why on the grounds stated.

In Romans 3:4 is the following: "Let God be found true, but every man a liar; as it is written , That thou mightest be justified in thy words. And mightest prevail when thou comest into judgment," the latter being an adaptation of Psalm 51:4, which reads: "That thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest" (American Standard Version). And certainly there is a human tendency to judge God rather than accept his judgment of us and of what we should be and do.

It should be noted also that we are to be judged and rewarded on the basis of deeds and not simply on our profession – on some thing objective and not on our subjective claims. We are to receive for "things done in the body" (2 Corinthians 5:10), and according to our "works" rather than our "profession," for there are some "who profess that they know God; but by their works they deny that they know him, being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate" Titus 1"16).

See Jesus’ scathing denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees of his day that he described as "hypocrites" and stated why (Matthew 23:1-36). And consider some of the televangelist of our decade now doing time in human prisons, not for righteousness’ sake, but otherwise.

Cecil N. Wright
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