“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)
The above verse is a Biblical absolute. You can count on dying once and you can count on being judged after death. By the way, this verse refutes reincarnation. It’s appointed for men to die once, not to keep coming back in different living forms until they are “perfected.”
The vast majority of people believe that when they die, they will go before God and be judged on how they lived their life on earth. They believe that God will compare their good works to their sins and if good works outweigh the sins they will go Heaven. If not, they will be consigned to Hell.
I can’t really blame people for thinking this way because most religions teach this error. It could almost make sense, I suppose, if you believe that God is cold and indifferent to man. This false teaching also presupposes that God is somewhat tolerant of sin. Neither of these beliefs are true. God cares very much for man and He does not tolerate even the smallest sin.
People that don’t know the Bible don’t realize that judgment regarding a person’s after-death destination is decided in this life. Jesus said, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18)
Judgment as to where a person goes when they die is not up to God. It’s a decision that each of us makes in this life. Not to believe in Jesus is a decision, in reality, to reject Him.
There are several judgments identified in the Bible. There is the judgment of believers, which is a judgment about rewards in Heaven rather than a judgment of where the believer is going: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2Corinthians 5:10)
All born-again believers in Jesus Christ will be recompensed for the works they have done since their salvation. Some works will survive the test of fire and the believer will be rewarded for them by Christ. Other works will be burned up not deserving a reward. But whether a believer’s works are rewarded or burned up, the believer goes to Heaven. The believer is judged for his or her works, not for sin. Sin was dealt with on the cross of Calvary.
Those, whose sins have not been forgiven, because they rejected Christ, will go before Christ at the “Great White Throne” (Revelation 20:11) and will be judged for their sins.
“And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” (Revelation 20:12)
Again, judgment is about the sins of the person not where the person will spend eternity. Notice in the verse for the judgment of the believers there is no mention of the word “dead”. This is because believers have eternal life in Christ.
However, Revelation 20:12 mentions the word “dead” twice. It is a fearful judgment: “And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.’” (Revelation 6:16)
“…to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.“ (Jude 1:15) The Bible never refers to the saved person as “ungodly.”
The judgment of the believers takes place when Christ returns to the air to gather His church to Himself. This is before the 2nd Coming of Christ, when He will reign on the earth as King for 1,000 years. After the 1,000-year reign, the judgment of the ungodly will take place at the Great White Throne of Christ.
Paul said “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” (Romans 2:5)
The born-again believer in Jesus Christ will never experience the wrath of God for his or her sins: “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Thessalonians 5:9)
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)
Believers do not receive the wrath of God because Jesus bore God’s wrath on the cross in their place. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
The believer receives righteousness, the unbeliever receives wrath. Which will you receive? Learn the way to righteousness.
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