But think a minute: how about their devotees, adherents, followers, fans, admirers, lovers and all they had or have queuing behind them respectively? What a multitude! All out of The Way, The Truth and The Life, and out of The Light! Well, both the great and small will be there. In fact, all that went through the way that seemed right unto them would have themselves to blame eternally, just as it is doubly written: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” – Proverbs 14: 12; 16: 25.
It is instructive to ask here: Who are you following? Whoever he is, you will end up where he terminates his journey. You cannot afford to end up the same way with those great, and small! Therefore, follow The Way, The Truth and The Life, and follow The Light: that you may end up well. For that day will be too gruesome to be imagined.
Note: It is called a judgment. It is no trial. They have been tried. That is what ‘time’ does. We are rightly now on trial. The Great Judge has offered two judgments; one at the Cross, the other at the Great White Throne Judgment Seat. At the Cross He stood in for us because we couldn’t do it, and also because He is not willing that we face the one at the Great White Throne. At the Cross grace came therefore, at the Great White Throne wrath, if grace is not received. Where grace is welcomed there is no wrath.
BASES OF THE JUDGMENT
The dead, small and great, stood before God; and the books were opened. And another book was opened: the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books. They were judged according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead that were in it (apparently the dead bodies – and not souls and spirits– that were in it because souls and spirits do not go to the sea at physical death); and death gave up the dead that were in it (again, apparently the dead bodies – and not souls and spirits– because it is only the bodies that die at physical death); and Hell delivered up the dead that were in them (apparently the souls because only souls go to Hell and, here, they are dead souls; that is, dead in sin or spiritual death); and they were judged every man according to their works (apparently after the reunion of the revived bodies with their souls). And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire”
There will be judgment according to the written books; judgment according to works. We do not know for certainty what those books are. In Romans 2: 12-16 we read though: “For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the works of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another;) in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”
So we know somehow enough to say that the bases of the judgment on that day may include the law of conscience (verse 15); the Law of Moses (Romans 2: 12-16); the Gospel (Romans 2: 16). Others may include the law of memory (Luke 16: 25); the law of character (Hebrews 3: 8-10; Ephesians 4: 19); records of personal acts (Matthew 12: 36; Luke 12: 2-9; 1 John 3:18; Revelation 20: 12); the Word of God (John 12: 48). And of course, the Book of Life (Revelation 3: 5; 13: 5; Daniel 12: 1; Exodus 32: 32-33; Philippians 4: 3).
THE BOOK OF LIFE AND THE BOOKS
Supposing there is a book of your conscience (Romans 2: 15) opened on that day and your conscience plays out from when you knew yourself and became accountable for your sins till when you died and you see at each point how you silenced your conscience to go into one evil or the other. I tell you: You may be guilty, even by your own acknowledgment there and then, a thousand and one times. Why not go to the Cross today; why not ask for the Blood of cleansing today. Can you afford to go there? It is the great day of the Lord.
And supposing there is a book on your memory (Luke 16: 25) played out there. Tell me what becomes of you if you see the replay of your life! You cannot fly away until God is done with you. You cannot sink under until God is through with you. Tell me what you would do when the cassette of your life plays out to the hearing of not only all sinning humanity but of Divinity with the angels. If only you would understand what Scripture means by “your sins would find you out”. Today, the Cross of Jesus Christ is the rescue.
In Romans 2: 2-14 we saw the place of the law. Certainly, the Law (the Old Testament summarily called the Law of Moses) will be opened (of which the opposite is Grace or the New Testament summarily called the Grace of Christ. The Law is the law of condemnation. The soul that sins, it shall die, it says (Ezekiel 18: 4). All the righteousness of men are as filthy rags it declares (Isaiah 64: 7) and so no one can therefore be justified in His sight by the deeds of the law, for by the law is the knowledge of sin, the Gospel tells us (Galatians 2: 16; Romans 3: 20).
In fact, when you fail in one law you fail in all. That is to say every man is guilty of all the laws. And that is to say the best of men as far as obeying the law by the flesh is concern is filthy rag in the nose and sight of God. To repeat it: The law has condemned everyone already. By the deeds of the law no man shall be justified. The Cross is the answer and that is now, for God promises no one tomorrow. Today is the day of salvation.
What about the book of your character (Hebrews 3: 8-10; Ephesians 4: 19). Supposing it is opened! I mean supposing it is opened there at the Great White Throne Judgment, in the face of such presence of sweeping divine glow and piercing countenance! Can you begin to imagine the contrasts of extremes, even such a very damning contrast? Why not be grateful that you are still on this side of eternity. Why not now go to Jesus on the Cross to give Him your life and take His. You cannot afford to meet Him as the Judge of the whole world at the Great White Throne Judgment. Never!
Go to Him Who is the Seed of the woman, and Who found the manger (eating trough for animals) as His first place of rest here. How lowly my Creator, for my sake! And having found Himself as man He went to the Cross for which cause indeed He became a Man in the first place. There He died for you and me. He is our Great Substitute. At the Cross: That is where to meet Him. Meeting Him on that great day is too fearsome. Nothing compares in sight and danger to the scene on that day. Don’t be there. Turn your character over to Him now; now that your breath you still have.
How about the Gospel? It is the Gospel that removes our names and accounts from those books (of condemnations) that are in Heaven to be opened on the great day. It is the Gospel that writes our names in the Book of Life as well. But what if you reject and refuse to embrace the Gospel now. What do you think will be your lot “in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel”? (Romans 2: 16).
Gospel, you should always remember means good news; and this is the only
good news there is in all of the universe since Adam’s fall. This is the only good news that snatches from the grips of Satan, the arch-enemy of God, creation and humanity. This is the only good news that cost God all to give hope to humanity. This is the only news that secures humanity restoration to God’s original plan for man. This is the only good news that re-unites men with God, the Creator of the un
iverse, forever. But what if you reject it!
This is the only good news that removes the condemnation of the conscience on that great day because the Blood of Jesus has cleansed our consciences once we bring them to the Cross on this side of eternity while it is still day. And even though Satan may still be trying on this side of eternity to shake us by bringing our forgiven sins into our remembrance and to try to suggest that they have not been forgiven and at such times our faith expectedly rising up to our victory, after we have been caught up in the rapture however we will not remember them at all any longer. They will be forever forgotten, not a dot in the conscience and subconscious. We would be like God Who doesn’t remember our sins once forgiven and blotted away by the Blood of Jesus.
But what if you reject the good news! Your conscience or the book of your conscience will be there waiting for you at the Great White Throne Judgment. Who can stand it when the conscience starts reeling out how you disobeyed it from age of accountability to your exit from this world?
This is the only good news that blots out the knowledge of committed sins from the memory on the great day just as God will not even remember our sins when we give them over to Jesus now and bring them under the gospel power of forgiveness. What if you reject it! You will be all memory of your sins that day. Your memory will be in its superlative best (not men’s superlative but spirits, for now you will know as spirits, even as the full weight of the result of ‘the fruit of knowledge’ comes upon all beings on that great day).
Yes, they will be all memory to know all the evils they have committed from age of accountability till they exited this world. They wanted to know like God, they even wanted to be omniscient. They all saw a way that seems right unto them. Some even thought they knew so much to question God, others to counter Him, yet others to say God was wrong, and just as others thought they know enough to know He does not even exist.
And there they all are stony-faced, unmovable with budging eyes and stone-gaze: knowing all that they should know and remember now: firstly, all that they did against God, man and themselves (being the properties of God), and secondly, the God Who sat on the throne, and then lastly, the gruesome fate awaiting them for all eternity. It is indescribably terrible day on its own, and yet a day that ushers in an indescribably terrible eternity! O how every man needs the Sacrificial Work of Christ on the Cross today!
Then, of course, the records of personal acts (Matthew 12: 36; Luke 12: 2-9; 1 John 3: 18; Revelation 20: 12) will be there. We have spoken of the conscience and memory already. No hiding place. As we said in Eternity: What lies ahead! “The judgment assesses life in ‘time’, rewards life in eternity. The Word of God says, after death is the judgment (Hebrews 9: 27). So that, death and judgment are necessary components in the journey from ‘time’ (when we sow) to eternity (when we reap); for whatsoever a man sows that will he reap (Galatians 6: 7).
Then, of course, the Word of God will be there as well, as it is written: “He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My Words, hath One that judgeth him: the Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12: 48). Put all that (the supposed ‘books’ mentioned above) and those we don’t even know now together, and you will get the very import of this: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation” (Hebrews 2: 3).
Then the Book of Life, ‘the final stroke that breaks the camel’s back’ (Revelation 3: 5; 13: 5; Daniel 12: 1; Exodus 32: 32-33; Philippians 4: 3). “And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire” – Revelation 20: 11-15. The Book of Life contrasts those other books in the sense that whoever they (the books) condemn cannot be in the Book of Life. The only time to cross over from those books to the Book of Life is today, and the only place to make that happen is the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is only Grace in ‘time’. After now it is something else.
And hear this: The Book of Life is actually “the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” – Revelation 13: 8. The Lord Himself shall be on the Throne judging the wicked dead. It is a great and very disastrous day. And it is coming. But you can avoid it.
Go to Jesus today and you would be sure to make this refrain of Isaac Watts (1674-1748) great hymn, At the Cross, experientially yours:
At the Cross, at the Cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!