For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. 2 Corinthians 5:10
For many people, the thought of a universal Judgment Day, or even their very own personal Judgment Day, is something they wish to avoid at all costs.
I know a parochial school teacher who had been challenging his eighth-grade class to aim high and achieve something worthwhile with their lives. At the conclusion of his lesson, he asked the students, "What would you like people to say about you 100 years from now?"
He received a whole host of answers, most of them pretty good. The answer which stayed in his memory was one from a girl who said, "Teacher, 100 years from now, I'd like them to say, 'My goodness, doesn't she look good for her age!'"
Odds are, what with human mortality being close to 100 percent, it won't happen that way.
The day is coming when that girl, along with the rest of us, will appear before Jesus the Judge. You can take collagen treatments, you can see the plastic surgeon, you can sweat to the oldies, and struggle through Winsor Pilates, but the Day of Judgment cannot be postponed indefinitely.
On that day, will you be ready to appear before Jesus the Judge?
Now, there are a number of ways you can respond to the idea of Judgment Day. Some folks gamble there is no God. If that's your opinion, I encourage you to go out to the country on a moonless night. Look at the mathematically precise dance of the stars. Christians believe God created those stars, put them there, and keeps them running. Without God you have to believe somehow matter created itself and through coincidence and catastrophe set itself in motion.
If you're not 100 percent ready for Judgment Day, I'd like to tell you: it's not a painful process. It's not painful and it's not costly for you. I say, "for you" because it was painful for your Savior, God's sinless Son, Jesus Christ. Born in Bethlehem, Jesus lived His life tempted as we are. But that's where the similarity ends. Every day of His life, Jesus resisted the temptations that trip us up. Saving us was painful for Him. When He was among us, He was hated and harassed. He was laughed at by those who didn't understand Him and called names by those who wished to demean Him. He was misunderstood by the common people, deserted by His friends, and betrayed by a close associate; both His church and government let Him down.
All of that ended up with Him hanging on a cross and giving up His life for your salvation.
Now, because of what Jesus has done, because of His substitution, all who are brought to faith in the risen Redeemer can be at peace. Their sins are forgiven and when we appear before that just Judge, He will tell us our punishment has been paid and, because of the risen Christ, heaven is ours.
And that's why, because of Jesus, Judgment Day won't be so bad.
THE PRAYER: Dear Savior and Lord, I give thanks that because of all You have done and the faith I have been given, Judgment Day has lost its threat. Because of You, I am forgiven and saved. In Your Name I give thanks. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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