What Will the Verdict be on Judgment Day?

The Bible says that some day Jesus will return to this earth “in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 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” (Matthew 25:31,32). We refer to this as Judgment Day, since a public verdict will be pronounced for all people, dead or alive. Some will pleasantly live forever in the paradise of heaven and the rest will painfully live forever in the prison of hell.

What worries people about Judgment Day is having their sins broadcast on a big screen, and then some heavenly figure fumbles through a book, doesn’t find their name, and they are dropped through a trap door into hell. Will that happen? The Bible says it won’t for anyone who trusts in Jesus. You have the assurance that gaining God’s heavenly and daily blessings depends not on what you do, but on what Jesus did.

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father,” Jesus will say to you on Judgment Day when you show up depending on the blessings of God and not the boasting of all you’ve done. “Take your inheritance,” Jesus will say to you as a child of God, who will receive the right to live in God’s heavenly mansion like an heir receives the family fortune – not by earning it but by being born into it, in your case through faith in Jesus (Matthew 25:34). In the end, God provides a way for you to enjoy his love and peace now and forever. That “way” is Jesus and his work of living without sin for you, dying in your place under God’s wrath, and rising triumphantly over death and the devil. “Whoever believes in him is not condemned” (John 3:18). Trust in the work of Jesus and you have no reason to fear Judgment Day or Monday or a bad day or any day.

Unbelievers, however, reveal no such attitude of humility toward themselves and trust in Jesus. They have approached the God of heaven like gruff goats without respect, without honor, and without sorrow for their sins. Those who trust in themselves ask, “Why do you punish me?” They are confident that their own good life gives them the right to enter heaven. But a good life isn’t what God demands from us; sincere intentions of trying our best don’t meet God’s expectations, either. God requires complete holiness, in every way, all the time. So, stand in front of God as the star of the show, and you’re attracting not only his spotlight to your good performance in life, but you’re asking for his X-ray examination of your most secret sins as well. “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already” (John 3:18).

Trusting in Jesus means that your sins do not curse you and that Satan cannot control you. Trusting in Jesus means that your life right now, every day, has a purpose and you have a reason from heaven to live. It doesn’t matter whether your last three dates have dumped you or not. It doesn’t matter whether you met your sales quota or not. It doesn’t matter whether crippling disease or deadly cancer is taking over your body or not. Trusting in Jesus means that he makes you valuable and you don’t need to do great things in order to be somebody, but rather do humble things in order to help anybody.

Jesus, your Good Shepherd, cares enough about you that he doesn’t want you to worry about tomorrow or payday or Judgment Day or eternity; rather, he wants you to wait for it with joy, anticipate its coming with confidence and follow his footsteps of serving and loving others. Jesus, your King, will always protect you from harm, and in the end will meet you with open arms and praise you with words of approval, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

“Why me?” you will ask.

“Because of me,” Jesus will answer.

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