Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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by George C. Clark, Sr.
“We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”
“Every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.”
Romans 14:10, 12
One thought stands out pre-eminently in all Scripture; that is, God “has appointed a day in which He will judge the world” (Acts 17:31). Reader, you’ll be there. Every man, every woman, every boy, and every girl will be there. Yes, all will be there. No one will be able to escape this appointment with God. Each tick of the clock brings the day, the hour, and the moment of this engagement with God closer and closer. Yet, thousands – yea, millions – are going on, swiftly, silently, but surely into eternity unprepared to meet God. Oh, my sinner friend, your feet right now are standing on life’s shifting sand. Tomorrow your footprints may be seen, but you’ll be gone, gone into eternity. Look at your hands, your feet, and see how busy they are. You are planning for the future, aren’t you? But what future? The one that tomorrow ends? Or the one that will take you safely and securely before the judgment seat of Christ?
Yes, here you are, alive today, walking about. Tomorrow, there you are, eyes closed, hands cold and stiff. You’re gone. Gone to await your appointment with God. Others whom you well remember were once here, busy as you are, but they’re gone – gone on into eternity. Your friends, your relatives, those who once meant so much to you, they’re gone. And worst of all, many of these dear ones have gone on to meet God unprepared. The face of that loved one still lingers with you, but he’s gone; she’s gone. He has entered into eternity to await the Judgment.
Now, Reader, your time is nearing. You are growing older fast. Will you ask yourself this question: “Am I ready to meet God and receive my sentence?” The Lord is speaking to you this very moment. Listen! Don’t turn him away. He may never speak like this to you again. Get yourself together and face the fact that you will spend eternity somewhere. And where will it be? Hell awaits all who refuse God’s plan of salvation. Reader, where will your dwelling place be in the world to come? You must decide that here. Today is the time. Tomorrow will be too late. Even one second after death will be too late.
You remember the story of the rich man and Lazarus. When Lazarus died, he was “carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.” What bliss and unspeakable victory was his! “The rich man also died,” we are told, “and was buried. And he, being in torment in Hades, lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off, with Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus so he can dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue! I am in agony in this flame! ‘But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you received your good things during your lifetime, and Lazarus, bad things. But now, he is here, comforted, and you are in agony. And besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you, so that those who would cross over from here to you cannot, nor can people cross from there to us.’ But he said, ‘I beg you, father, that you would send him to my father’s house – I have five brothers! – so that he might warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment!’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘O father Abraham, no! But if one came from the dead to them, they would repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’ ”
What about it, Reader, which way are you traveling? What choice have you made? I’ll know if you’ll answer this: Have you been born again? Do you really know that you are a child of God? Possibly, you, like many others, don’t actually know what it means to be “born again”. Then answer this: Have you repented and been forgiven of your sins? Does the peace of God abide in your heart? Do you have God’s witness that you are truly converted (Acts 2:4; Rom. 8:15–16; 1Cor. 14:21–22)? Remember, “The Spirit is what bears witness” (1Jn. 5:6). If you do not have the testimony of the Spirit, may I plead with you to obey the word of God before it is too late? Please do not go on to meet God unprepared.
The Son of God died for you. Yes, dear one, for you, he was despised by those he loved; for you, he was brutally scourged with a Roman whip; for you, a crown of thorns encircled his precious brow; for you, the soldier’s spear brought blood from his dear side; for you, he cried in agony and in triumph, “It is finished!” And because of him, for you, the world’s most dreaded hour can be turned into a jubilant victory.
Paul warned the saints that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each may receive recompense for the things done in the body, according to what he did” (2Cor. 5:10). The exiled apostle John, while in the Spirit on the isle of Patmos, was given an awesome vision of God’s final Judgment: “I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it . . . . I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. And books were opened (and another Book was opened which is the Book of Life), and the dead were judged by the things written in the books, according to their deeds.”
Reader, we were there, both of us. John was there, too. Everybody was there. None was missing. It is just as Matthew tells us: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, he will then sit on the throne of his glory, and all nations will be gathered before him. And he’ll separate them from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he’ll put the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. . . .’ Then he’ll say to those on the left, ‘Go away from me, you cursed, into the eternal flame that is prepared for the Accuser and his angels. . . .’ And these will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
On which side of Jesus will you be? On the right or on the left? Now is the time to decide. It will be forever too late to change your decision once you depart from “the earthly house of this tabernacle.” One moment within the silence of eternity, and your eternal abode will be forever determined. My friend, the coming of Jesus, the great Judge of the universe, is nearing. Won’t you turn to him before it is too late? Won’t you open your heart to him now, turn from your sins, and ask him for his forgiveness? He will give you the assurance of his blessed Spirit if you will follow after him in trust and in surrender. Amen.