The cross and judgment both reveal that God is just and merciful. The broken law demands the death of the sinner. Justice declares, “The wages of sin is death.” Mercy responds, “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23, NKJV). If God’s law could be changed or abolished, it would be totally unnecessary for Jesus to die. Christ’s death establishes the eternal nature of the law, and the law is the basis of judgment.
Read Revelation 20:12. How are we judged? What relationship do our good works have to our salvation?
Our works reveal our choices and our loyalty to God. According to Ephesians 2:8-9, “by grace you have been saved through faith … not of works, lest anyone should boast” (NKJV). But when Christ saves us, He changes us. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10, NKJV).
Our good works, empowered by the Holy Spirit, do not save us, but they do testify that our faith is genuine. God’s final judgment strips away all pretense, all hypocrisy, all falsehood, and pierces into the very depth of our being. In depicting our position before God in the judgment, Ellen G. White provides this powerful insight into how the gospel and judgment go hand in hand.
“The fact that the acknowledged people of God are represented as standing before the Lord in filthy garments should lead to humility and deep searching of heart on the part of all who profess His name. Those who are indeed purifying their souls by obeying the truth will have a most humble opinion of themselves. The more closely they view the spotless character of Christ, the stronger will be their desire to be conformed to His image, and the less will they see of purity or holiness in themselves. But while we should realize our sinful condition, we are to rely upon Christ as our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption. We cannot answer the charges of Satan against us. Christ alone can make an effectual plea in our behalf. He is able to silence the accuser with arguments founded not upon our merits, but on His own.” — Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, Pages 471, 472.
|How do you see, in her words, the inseparability of the gospel from the judgment? What hope can you take away from this link between the gospel and judgment for yourself?|