“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Revelation 20 v 11 – 15
When you face God on the Day of Judgement what are you going to say to him? What defence will you use to justify yourself before him? What line will you take? What angle will you go for? Maybe you’ll excuse yourself by saying that you never believed in God. But standing before him saying that is going to sound a little pathetic. Maybe you’ll try and point to all the good deeds you have done and how you are too good a person to go to Hell. But when faced with absolute, perfect and infinite holiness of God you’re deeds are going to be thrown into sharp relief.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Romans 3 v 23
When you stand before that great white throne and are judged according to your actions do you really think you’re going to come up tops? Have you loved God with all your heart, mind and soul all the time? Have you not done wrong? Does your conscience not condemn? Mine does. I look at my life and see clearly my waywardness, my rebellion against God and the sin in my life.
Maybe you’ll argue that you didn’t know God was angry against sin. But as Paul writes:
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.”
Romans 1 v 18 – 19
So there’s another excuse that’s not going to hold tight. So maybe you’ll try another track. Maybe you’ll point to your achievements, your hard work, your wealth, your family, your friends, your spouse, your career, your…but then you’ll look around you and realize that you died and lost all earthly possessions, fame and loved ones.
Let’s get to the point. When you stand before God on the Day of Judgement and face his wrath against sin you will have nothing. The whole of humanity will stand before the throne and everyone will realize that there is nothing they can say in their defence.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”
Matthew 25 v 31 – 33
So why, if everyone is apparently in the same boat, will the human race be split into two? What will separate the sheep from the goats?
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world…“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Matthew 25 v 34, 41
We have the great mass of humanity sorted out into those who are blessed and those who are cursed. But how is that decided? In John’s gospel he writes of Jesus:
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,”
John 1 v 12
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3 v 16
Those who are blessed are those who receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. But are these people somehow more special than others? Are they better people?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Ephesians 2 v 8 – 9
No! For salvation is a gift from God given unconditional to those whom God wills.
“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
Ephesians 2 v 3 – 5
What is my hope for the coming wrath and judgement of God? What am I counting on? Who will save me? I give but one name and one name only: Jesus Christ. There’s nothing I can bring to the equation. There’s no good work on my part. There’s no worth or holiness within me I can use to defend myself. I am a helpless sinner. But when I was dead in my transgression, God who is rich in mercy, made me alive with Christ.
I will stand before God deserving of wrath and judgement. And he will call me his child because of Jesus. I will stand before God deserving of hell and I will go to heaven because of Jesus. I will stand helpless and sinful and be counted blessed because of Jesus. In the words of that great hymn: My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
Romans 8 v 33 – 34
Jesus + Nothing. That’s my only hope for eternity. That’s my only sure and certain hope for eternity. Think for a second on this weighty truth that Paul writes about in Romans: who then is the one who condemns? No one. The righteousness, the perfect behaviour and obedience of Jesus, the sinlessness of Jesus is mine. I cannot be condemned. Because I believe that Jesus is my Saviour and he took the condemnation of God so I don’t. His love for me was so great that he bore my sins and grants me his life.
Jesus + Nothing. It’s the only way to salvation. All other hope is misplaced, futile and will lead to hell. Only in Jesus is there eternal life.
What's your hope? Will it save you?
"“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Matthew 25 v 46