Christian Counseling: Secure At The Judgment Seat

It is so very hard to imagine standing before God at the end of time and accounting for my every mistake, fault and wrong doing during the full course of my life. And that, in front of every created being, be it angels or humans. And that, in the light of the possibility that all will possess a photographic (perfect) memory to be retained for eternity. Kinda makes you think three times before doing something foolish.

Most Christians I have talked to have some concern about what's recorded under their name in the heavenly books. They ask, "Will I be embarrassed or ashamed when my errors and sins are brought to light?" or simply, "What will happen?" being that the full events are not detailed in Scripture.  What do you think about when you imagine standing before the all knowing God on that day? 

Since His judgments are not like any man's judgment, no one can know with full certainty what will take place. Yet, we do our best to search, reason and come to an understanding of the day that will be the most awesomely feared by the clear majority and a day in which those "in Christ" come to supremely value and cherish Him and the phrase's true and lifesaving meaning. It will be a heavenly and sacred day and it will be a hellish and horrid day.

What can people expect to hear about themselves at the Throne of Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15)? I imagine the books, one of which is the book of life, are opened in the absolute silence of a place in space unlike any we have every experienced or imagined. In any direction we look, there is a never-ending sea of people and spirits, as the calming and frightening light of the God of Truth illumines all. Perhaps names are called according to one's time of birth or creation. From the books on heavenly deeds (not all angels, but Satan and his army) and earthly deeds are read the actions of every spirit and person whose name is not listed in the book of life. After which, I imagine some pleading conversation from many about to be sentenced. I imagine our God of justice filled also with grief as He sentences each to a second death where the pain of hopelessness overwhelms, where there is no hope for clemency, ever. Each is thrown into the lake of fire, an eternal punishment. (Like the late John Stott [theologian, author], I am agnostic when it comes to knowing if the eternal part of punishment means painful, conscious awareness for eternity or it means that the decision and consequences are eternal, where the second death means an eternal end of consciousness.) Either way, it is severe and truly unimaginable.

Christians, on the other hand, I strongly believe, will have a different story to tell when the day is done.  I imagine the books of deeds (good and bad) and the book of life are opened, but before the deeds are read in gross detail, Jesus will interrupt and say, "I know Frank. he belongs to me. Do not read his portion from the book of sins for I have paid for them in full. Is not his name written in the book of life? Read instead from the books of works and let Us see if they can stand the test of Our judgment or are wood, hay or stubble." Then, I wait, speechless, for the discernment of God. I wait for His penetrating eyes to turn again to me, as He gives a final pronouncement of unforgettable words. I hope the last words will be similar to these: "'Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master'" (Matthew 25:21). At long day's end, I imagine being transported back to heaven, then walking with throngs of saints heading to our dwellings with joy and broad smiles of relief from being rescued, yet with tear-stained faces, the consequence of so many who are not walking with us. (The final end of all pain comes sometime after the Judgment--see Revelation 21.)

Some days I succeed in living in the thought of that future. I am a better person when I do and I live more securely for I know Jesus has my back.

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