JUSTIFIED AT THE JUDGMENT
Since Christians are those who have faith in Jesus, there is no need for us to fear the Judgment. If we hear His voice, then there is no need to fear His verdict. If we trust in Him, then He will never thrust us out (John 6:37).
There is a song we sing titled, “There’s a Great Day Coming.” One stanza of the song says that it will be a “sad day” for the ones who hear the Lord say, “depart I know you not.” Yet, another verse says it will be a “bright day” for those who love the Lord. That is exactly right. It will be a day that will be bright for those on the right and not a day for fright (Matt. 25:33-34). But are you ready for the Judgment Day? I hope so!
Are we looking forward to it? I am afraid that many Christians that I know are not. They do not understand, or else they are confused, as to what the Judgment Day is going to be like for them. Furthermore, we preachers and teachers have likely contributed to the confusion by what we have taught and have been taught by those who have gone before us. If the people in Christ who listen to us preach and teach about salvation in Christ are not looking forward to the return of Jesus and the Day of Judgment, then there must be something wrong with our preaching and teaching. If the faithful Christians, who listen to us every week, are filled with doubt, uncertainty, fear, and dread about being before Him on Judgment Day, then we have evidently left something out or else put the emphasis in the wrong place. It would be extremely hard, if not impossible, for us to be “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God,” which God tells us to do (2 Pet. 3:12), if we believed that it is going to be a day of chastening from God. I don’t know anyone who would want to hasten to be chastened. I would not look forward to a meeting if I expected a beating.
Rose Colored Glasses
A number of years ago my wife and I went to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. John Conlee was there and he had a pair of sunglasses on the top of his head. He sang a song that I had never heard before. It was called “Rose Colored Glasses.” One of the verses says: “These rose colored glasses that I am looking through, show only the beauty and hide all the truth.” Evidently the song was about a guy who loved a girl so much that he only saw the good in her and none of the bad. That is exactly what God does. When He sees those in Christ, He sees “only the beauty” of Jesus, and the blood of Jesus “hides all the truth” about us—including the sins, faults, ignorance, disobedience, and failure to live up to what He expects. The Bible calls this “covered.” Read it for yourself: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven and whose sins are covered” (Rom. 4:7). It is exciting to know that God looks at us through the “blood-colored glasses” that Jesus has provided. Remember that we will be “clothed with white robes” (Rev. 7:9) because we have washed our “robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14). When we have on the robes, and God has on the glasses, then we can know for sure that He never sees any of our trespasses.
What I am saying is that if God did not have on some “blood-colored glasses,” then there would be no hope for any of us at any time. We are all sinful, ignorant, and blind about many things. We are all unlearned, unholy, undeserving, and ungodly people whether we admit it or not. We may not like to admit it, but frowns do not change facts. For example, Paul said that he was a “wretched man” (Rom 7:24), “least of all saints” (Eph. 3:8), “nothing” (2 Cor. 12:11), and “chief of sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).
I know there are some of us who do not really feel the way Paul did. But if that is true, then it is surely the case that we have evidently never really compared our miserable, pathetic, and pitiful attempt at keeping all of God’s rules, regulations, restrictions, and requirements with what God actually desires, deserves, and demands. If we think that we are “keeping God’s law” then we are either woefully ignorant of what His law demands, or else we are self-deceived about what it means to keep His law. Jesus is the only One who has ever actually kept the law of God, and if we claim that we do so today, then we are actually saying that we live as righteously as Jesus Himself lived. That is probably enough said about that kind of ridiculous claim.
The Pharisees were the ones who thought that they had it all together and trusted in themselves that they were righteous. Jesus spoke a parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector to show the attitude of those who are justified. The Pharisee’s attitude was that he was thankful that he was not sinful like other men. He was proud of the good deeds he had done. He trusted in himself that he was righteous. However, the Publican’s attitude was simply: “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” The Publican was the only one justified. (Luke 18:9-14).
The attitudes displayed were two: self-righteousness or sinful. What is our attitude? Jesus is the only hope that any of us have, regardless of how good we may think we are, or how much good we may think we have done. Jesus will only save those whose attitude is: “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” We all need to be found in Him, not having a righteousness of our own but that which is by “faith in Christ” (Phil. 3:9). This is the only way we can be “Justified at the Judgment.”
Our Righteousness is from Christ
Read Philippians 3:8-11 closely: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
When Christ returns, I hope (desire and expect) to be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law (any system of law-keeping, old or new), but through faith in Christ (trusting in His sacrifice for me), the righteousness which is from God by faith (a faith that seeks to do His will in spite of my weaknesses, sins, ignorance, and errors). If I am righteous by faith in Him, then my life should not be rooted in fear of Him, nor should I be worried about the day I will face Him. Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).