For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 5:10.
When human history finally comes to a conclusion, and all the people of all time stand up before the final throne of judgment, I imagine there will be two overall responses. The first response will be complete and utter joy on the part of those who are found in Christ. The other response will be shock, outrage and anger on the part of those who find themselves naked and exposed before our Supreme Judge. In this post, I would like to look at the response of those who are born-again.
It is really difficult to try and list all that we will experience on that day, but I think one of the overwhelming emotions we will have is that of inexpressible joy. This joy will be inexpressible because of several realities that will become crystal clear upon our arrival to heaven, but for the sake of this article, I’m assuming we all get to the judgment seat at the same time.
First, we will experience joy because we will realize that we have been finally delivered from this sinful life through the sacrifice of Christ. There will be final and complete freedom from the sin that so plagues us now. In this life, we are blinded to how completely saturating sin truly is, and the sudden absence of this sin will result in complete joy.
Secondly, we will rejoice at God’s grace toward us, in that, with sinless eyes, we can look back on our pre-glory lives and see the depth of our own depravity. We will be in complete agreement with what the word of God declared about us concerning our sin. We will know that every verse that described our fallen-human nature, was absolutely correct. We will rightly note that there just wasn’t a lot of difference between our own sinfulness and the sinfulness of the most heinous dictator of our age. The difference between us and those who are given over to their own wickedness was God’s loving restraint upon our lives. Our sinfulness could have led us into greater exhibitions of our depravity, yet God chose to keep us in check. This is God’s grace in our lives.
Third, we will see the deep and rich love which the Triune God actually loved us. I know this is stressed to the point of overkill in every pulpit in the country, but what is not stressed is that on judgment day, we will see how great this love is because there was nothing in us that was lovable. Our sin was so great that it affected every aspect of our beings and God had every right to send us to eternal damnation. I know this is not a pleasant truth, but it is one that I’m compelled to write. This is why the doctrine of total depravity is so important. By seeing the depth of our sin, we see the greater magnificence of God’s love toward us. No, there was nothing in us that would cause Him to love us. Yes, He chose for His glory to love us any way and redeem us from our depravity. It was out of His mercy, love and grace that He did so.
Fourth, we will rejoice because of what He has done and will do for us in glory. He knew us and still redeemed us. He knew what it would take to redeem us, cleanse us, and glorify us and still chose to do so. No longer will we wear stained clothing. No longer will we have fallen bodies. He will robe us with splendor and glory just as He is robed. He will renew our bodies without sin, just as His body is without sin.
We will also see the toll that it took on Him, and rejoice in the knowledge that He willing made that sacrifice on our behalf. This was no easy sacrifice, even for Christ. We will be overwhelmed at the completeness of the atonement, for there will no longer be a trace of sin in us. We will be overjoyed at the reception of new garments and glorified bodies. No more stains on our clothing, no more sickness in our bodies. The need for new clothing and constant physical maintenance is once and for all removed.
One final reality making our joy complete is the realization that our Savior is also our Judge. He knows that the debt of sin has been paid on our behalf because He paid it Himself. We will not need an attorney to make our case to the judge. The judge already knows the verdict the moment He lays eyes on us: we stand righteous because we stand in His righteousness. Judgment has already been rendered. The perfect atonement necessary for our salvation, has already been completed. He knows all these things because He declared it so when He said from the cross: “It is finished!”.
When we stand there on that day, we will realize the richness of those words and we will respond in song. Yes, on that day, we will sing as we have never sung before. We will sing great praises of Christ, the Father and the Spirit. We will sing in perfect four-part harmony and on key. We will sing as only those redeemed by Christ can sing, full of lasting and eternal joy.
I plan on writing about the other reaction at the judgment seat in a future post.