Reconciled to God (Revisited)

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Not long ago, in a discussion that followed a worship service, the conversation made its way to Judgment Day. Much to my surprise, three ministers in the group felt that because they had repented of their sins prior to baptism, that was good enough, and they would not have to stand on that sea of glass and face Jesus Christ for the sins they committed after baptism. We can settle that argument and find the biblical answer in Ronald Dart’s book, The Thread – God’s Appointments With History.

“Most of what you hear about Judgment Day owes more to the imagination of man than to the Bible. . . As Paul said, ‘It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment’ (Hebrews 9:27).

“One can only wonder why something so meaningful in the plan of God, and so firmly connected to biblical holidays, is so consistently neglected across Christendom. Every one of these ‘Jewish’ holidays is a festival showing forth the life, work, plan, and ministry of Jesus Christ. The fact that most Christians have forgotten them in favor of holidays that are not in the Bible notwithstanding, these days are crucial to understanding the plan of God.

“So, what do we know about Judgment Day? Earlier, we looked at what Jesus had to say about it. On the first occasion where he sent his disciples out on their own, he told them where to go, where not to go, and what to do and say. On this journey, they were to take no money. They were to depend entirely on the hospitality of the people of the town. Then Jesus told them that whatever house or city they entered where the people would not listen, they were to leave and to shake the dust off their feet. ‘Assuredly, I say to you,’ Jesus said, ‘it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!’ (Matthew 10:15).

“Now it is hard to imagine any place more corrupt than Sodom and Gomorrah and yet we find the curious fact that there may be some greater level of tolerance for them in the day of judgment than for some other city! There is a day of judgment and there are distinctions to be made. And we should make no mistake. If there is reason why a person should have known better, there isn’t going to be very much slack. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but apparently it can be mitigating on the day of judgment. On yet another occasion Jesus chastised his audience and warned, ‘But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment’ (Matthew 12:36).”

It sends a little chill down your spine, doesn’t it? There is not one of us who has not spilled out words that we later wish we hadn’t said. But if every slip of the lip is going to be judged, what about some of our more serious crimes? Every idle word, not just the malicious words, will be judged.

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Image Credits: Joel Montes de Oca