Christ on the Throne 2The elementary principles are for the followers of Jesus Christ. They are not for the edification or conviction of non-believers. This is particularly important to keep in mind as we explore the principle of eternal judgment.

Sadly, many have raised their hand, walked the aisle and said a prayer; for the express purpose of avoiding eternal judgment. This is one of the most egregious deceptions in the church today; for even the most cursory study reveals that everyone will be judged – one way or another.

Furthermore, most assume that eternal judgment happens at a moment in time – sometime in the future. As it so often does, our event oriented view of Scripture minimizes the weight and importance of foundational truth – even in the most obvious cases.

The Eternality of God’s Judgment

Eternal (aiōnios): Without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be; perpetual. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

All that is eternal is God’s creation, possession and responsibility. It is without beginning or end because God is timeless.

Judgment (krima): Condemnation of wrong, the decision (whether severe or mild) which one passes on the faults of others; the sentence of God as judge. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

Eternal judgment is not something we are waiting for. It is without beginning and end – even for the church.

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1Peter 4:17

But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”  So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:10-12

Eternal judgment has begun at the house of God. It has been happening; it is happening; and it will continue to happen. God’s judgment is not bound by time. He is perpetually judging every single person.

Now that we recognize the eternal nature of God’s judgment; we can consider the judgment events that will occur at the end of the age.

Two Judgment Events

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life… And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15

This is the judgment that most Christians understand – the one they hope to be delivered from (more on this later). Some may be surprised to know that there is another judgment.

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 2Corinthians 5:9-10

Whether you are being introduced to the judgment seat of Christ for the first time, or this is a reminder of its existence in your future, I pray that you will take the time to seriously consider the importance of this truth. It is a paradigm-shifting game-changer – particularly in light of the eternality of God’s judgment.

In fact, we will stop here to consider God’s judgment of the things we have done in the body (and are planning to do). Are they the things that are pleasing to Him? What “reward” might we receive in light of the good and bad we have done?

Humbly yours and forever His,

P.S. In Part 2, we will consider what all this means in the context of Hebrews 6 – the peril of not progressing.