January 7, 2024
If not for the Bible no one, anywhere, would have any idea about the human soul, life after death, or heaven and hell - not even the slightest idea. The Bible tells us there are two judgments after we die for two different groups of people. One is the judgment of the righteous - which we read about in 1 Corinthians 3 and 2 Corinthians 10. The other is The Great White Throne Judgment which is talked about in Revelation 20, where unbelievers stand before the throne of God and are judged for the sins of their unrepentant hearts.
As Christians, our goal in life is to live in such a way that God is pleased with us. We do that by 1. Reading the Scripture. And 2. Doing what it says. That seems simple enough, but that can mean some difficult changes have to take place in your mind. You can no longer follow the mind-set of the world and think and do what they do. It means total transformation of body, soul (mind), and spirit. You’ve been made alive and aware of God’s Holy Spirit. He is active and working and God’s Word is sharper than a double-edged sword.
Being a Christian involves every part of your being. You are not saved by works, but once you’re saved, your works are the evidence of your salvation. In the Old Testament, they had to keep a bunch of laws and regulations and do everything just exactly so. It was a religion of ritual. Then Jesus came along in the New Testament, and He gave us a new covenant to live under, the covenant of grace, which means our sins are forgiven because Jesus shed His blood and died in our place on the cross (His righteousness is transferred to you). Everybody isn’t automatically saved. Only those who put their trust in Jesus to save them.
And what that means is that we don’t gain God’s favor by keeping laws and regulations - we gain His favor by obeying the Son. Jesus said “If you are My disciples, you will keep my commandments.” What are His commandments? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.”
And then, the Bible says, when you are done with that, you will be evaluated on how you did. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says: “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.”
Psalm 50, verse 6 says, “Let the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is Judge.” God is not a judge, but Judge. As Creator of heaven and earth and its inhabitants, He alone has the prerogative to pass judgment on both. The Bible warns individuals that they have only one chance to be reconciled to God before they face judgment. Hebrews 9:27 says: “It is appointed unto man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”
Whether it is a judgment of evaluation for believers or a different judgment of condemnation for unbelievers - everyone will stand before the Lord to answer for his life, for her life. Hell is hot. Heaven is glorious. Eternity is forever.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” (Romans 10:13).
(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).