THE SECOND RESURRECTION
The second resurrection will take place just before the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:4-13). This second resurrection will be for all the rest of the dead who will be raised for the “resurrection to condemnaTion” (John 5:29).
C. The Judgment
Hebrews 9:27 states, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” This and other Scripture verses (Gen 3:19; 1 Cor 15:22; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:13) make clear that there is one death, and then judgment for all.
There are no endless cycles of reincarnation, no earning the way to various levels of heaven by good behavior, no “holding places” of decision. Each person will die but once; and each person will then face judgment after his or her death
Every person will face the almighty and all-know¬ing Creator God, Who will judge every life on its own merit. Just as there are two resurrections, there will be two judgments:
THE JUDGMENT OF BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST
Believers in Christ will NOT be judged according to their sins. The judgment for sin that believers deserve, along with its necessary punishment, was already laid upon Christ at the Cross! Jesus Christ fulfilled the judgment and penalty for sin that should have been ours (Isa 53:5,6,10; John 5:24; 2 Cor 5:21). Repentance from sin and belief in Jesus Christ allow believers to receive this great salvation!
For the sins we commit in this life after we have come to know Christ as our Savior, we are convicted by the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:5- 13; Gal 5:16-25) and disciplined by the Lord (1 Cor 5:5; 11:32; Heb 12:7). When we repent and confess our sin to God, we are forgiven through Christ’s atoning blood – of the sins we commit (1 John 1:9).
Believers will be required to give an account for – and will be judged on – the deeds they have done or not done while on earth (1 Cor 3:12- 15; 2 Cor 5:10). We are not saved by our works, as we have already studied. However, each believer in Christ will be judged as to the use made of the life and possessions God gave him or her.
Believers will be judged in the following areas:
- “As stewards of the mysteries of God” that are now revealed (which are the Gospel and the plan of salvation). What did we do with what we knew and under¬stood of Christ? (Col 1:24-29). Were we faithful to His revelation? (1 Cor 4:1-5).
- The use of the gifts, talents, abilities and opportunities given by God. Were these used to build up the Body of Christ and reach out to the world? (Matt 5: 14-30; Luke 19:11-27).
- The use of the material resource that God gives. Did our money and possessions help to further God’s Kingdom purposes, or were they used only for satisfying our own desires? (Matt 6:19-21; 2 Cor 8:8- 15; 9:6-15).
- The use of every opportunity to preach the Gospel and thereby fulfill Christ’s last command – the Great Commission. Did you freely share your faith and testimony with anyone who would listen? Did you do your best to support and assist with evangelism and missions? (Matt 28:18-20; Rom 10:14; Col 1:28; 2 Tim 4:1,2).
- The use of every resource available to reach out to a needy world around. Did we: “do good to all people” (Gal 6:10); show hospitality (Matt 25:35; Heb 13:2); care for the sick and imprisoned (Matt 25 :34-40); take care of widows and orphans (Jas 1:27)? Even a cup of cold water given in Jesus’ name has its reward (Matt 10:42).
- The enduring of suffering and tribulation that comes to believers because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Did we remain faithful to Jesus Christ and His Gospel message in spite of hardship or persecution? There will be reward in this life and in eternity for those who endure and remain faithful (Matt 5:11,12; Luke 6:22,23; 2 Tim 2:3,12; Jas 1:12; 1 Pet 2:20; 3:14,17; 4:15-19).
STRICTER JUDGMENT FOR LEADERS
Leaders in the Body of Christ will receive a stricter judgment because they have a greater privilege and therefore a greater responsibility to lead the flock of God.
- A leader’s teaching will be judged (Eccl 5:1-3; Jas 3:1).
- A leader’s life is to be an example of Christlikeness and godliness (Phil 3:17; 1 Tim 3:1-13; 4:12-16; Titus 2:7,8).
- A leader’s obedience to the Word and to the promptings and conviction of the Holy Spirit is of utmost importance. God is not as interested in our great programs, buildings or self-efforts as He is in our obedience to all He asks and requires (1 Sam 15:22,23).
This is by no means a complete list of biblical standards for church leaders. But it serves as a reminder that, as His word attests, God is VERY concerned about our character. He cares more about what we are becoming in our obedience to Him, than about any works we might do (Matt 7:22). God desires that we be shaped more and more into the image of Christ, growing in discipleship and obedience, and serving as a good example to those we lead (2 Cor 3:18; Phil 3:12; 2 Thess 3:6-9; 1 Tim 4:12 ; 1 Pet 5:2,3).