Centuries ago Jonathan Edwards delivered his famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. He speaks unequivocally about the fierceness of God’s righteous wrath on sin and sinners. He urges the listener to consider the reality of eternal judgment and not delay making peace with his or her Creator.
Revelation’s Great White Throne judgment scene is perhaps the most stunning passage in the entire Bible (Revelation 20:11-15). On the brink of eternity, the dead are summoned to stand before Almighty God and those not found in the Book of Life are condemned to eternal punishment.
There are many stand outs in this scene; first, the awesome holiness and majesty of God dominates throughout. The vast expanses of the created universe cannot bear to stand in His presence. The countless universes we marvel at flee His presence as He takes His seat. Nothingness is the context in which peoples’ souls are reunited with their resurrected bodies, for the sole purpose of hearing their eternal destiny. There is no defense attorney, nor are there any court hearings. There is no record of anyone arguing their case. God’s justice is meted out without dispute, beyond those shocked to find themselves on the wrong side of justice. The enormity of what transpires is unimaginable. Eternity apart from God, punished forever?!
It is not in vogue to take these and other Biblical passages seriously. Any number of reasons are given for this mindset: the Bible is not reliable, it’s not believable, it’s not to be taken seriously (certainly not at face value), we’ve progressed past the dark ages, God is love and could never condemn anyone, etc. I’ve discovered through the years that none of these perspectives hold much water and at the end of the day you’re left staring at text after text which calls us on the carpet. I can’t imagine anyone leaving any room to wind up on the wrong side of the tracks on this one.
Now I’m a pretty nice guy – I love my family and seek to help those around me the best I can. I take no joy in pounding anyone with my Bible and God forbid anyone ever think I’m better than them – I’m not. But I do have a clear grasp on the Bible’s message from beginning to end. God would not be truly holy if He winked at sin; we’ve got to come to grips with our sin before a holy God. Salvation is offered freely through Jesus Christ, but there is coming a day when it will be too late to receive this. The Bible declares that those who neglect the testimony of God and His Word are condemned already, even prior to appearing before the throne on that day (John 3:16-18).
If you’ve blown off what the Bible has to say thus far, I urge you to reconsider your position. I’d be my honor to address these issues with you – firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know Christ as your Savior – give no room for complaining or complacency. We have been spared so much and given a marvelous HOPE and PURPOSE for which to live. Keep your eyes on Christ, serve Him with your whole heart, and give no room to the evil one today!
* You can look up both Bible passages I mentioned on www.biblegateway.com.