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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God is good and just. He will not punish the world for sin before He judges His people who are worldly. He judged Israel before He judged Assyria, the nation He used to destroy Israel. He repeatedly gave the heathen ample time and opportunity to see and to consider His righteous judgment against His own people before He judged those other nations.
Peter warned the saints that “Judgment begins at the house of God.” But even before God’s judgment came upon the saints on earth, it came upon the creatures in heaven. God condemned the angels who sinned, and the cherub whose evil lead they followed, long before He condemned any human for committing sin. Satan’s damnation was made sure before man received his reward for transgressing God’s command in the garden of Eden. And the angels who were faithful were justified in heaven long before any human was justified in God’s sight.
Long before God’s judgment comes upon this wicked world, the saints will be judged and purified by the fire of persecution. Jesus spoke with his disciples about that purging: “After that, they’ll turn you over to persecution, and they’ll kill you; you’ll be hated by all nations because of my name. And during that time, many shall be offended, and betray one another, and hate one another . . . And because of a great increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt. 24:9-10, 12). When we are tested, it is that we are put on trial. If we fall from our integrity in the heat of persecution, we have been judged unworthy of Christ, and if we maintain our faith and love for Jesus, we have been judged worthy of him.
The world will not face God in judgment until after His children do. Sinners will, as always, be given ample time and opportunity to see God’s righteous judgment upon His own people before they themselves receive their due reward.