Savior or Judge, the Lord?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains in him!
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Charles G. Finney, the famous American evangelist, practiced law before his calling. Freshly graduated from law school, Finney rented an office in an old building in New York, hung up his signboard and started to practice.
One morning, taking a seat in his office, he heard God's voice in the silence of room, "Finney, what do you want to do in the future?" Finney answered God, "I will change my premises and become a good lawyer." "Then what?" "I will become a rich man." "Then what?" "I will retire." "Then what?" "I will die." Finally God asked once again, "Then what?" and Finney answered with a trembling voice, "I will be judged."
Some time after answering God, he ran into a nearby woods and prayed all through the day, resolved not to leave until he had received reconciliation with God. He saw himself standing at the Judgment Seat of God. He realized thoroughly that his self-centered life was wrong: He felt the utter emptiness of the selfish life he had lived even before becoming a lawyer, and the vanity of his pursuit of worldly pleasures. Finally, in the evening, after struggling to pray for reconciliation with God, he decided to live for God's glory and pleasure from then on. He stood up and left the woods. After his decision, his life became filled with God's blessings and God's great power. For the next 50 years, and as a pastor, not a lawyer, he devoted himself to leading tens of thousands of people to repent and accept salvation for themselves.
As Charles G. Finney realized early in his life, so must we all realize that everyone, without exception, is destined to stand before the Judgment Seat of God.
If you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as your Savior and welcome Him before dying, He will be Savior to you, but if you reject Him during your life, even at the point of death, He will be your Judge and you will meet Him before the Judgment Seat of God.
Once, a judge rescued a man from drowning at the beach. After several years, as chance would have it, the man stood before the Judge, on trial for a serious crime. The criminal remembered the judge and implored, "Your honor, just as you rescued me from drowning the last time, declare me 'not guilty' now and release me." "I saved your life in mercy at that time, but I'm not a savior, just a judge. I can't," he answered, in a dispassionate attitude.
Brothers, is Jesus your Savior, who saves you from your sins? If not, is He the Judge you will meet before God's Judgment Seat? Now, in this moment, you must decide whether Jesus will be Savior or Judge to you. You must choose between the two.
1. Believe In Jesus Now, And He Is Your Savior.
Jesus loves us so much that, to save people destined to eternal punishment because of their sins, He cast off the Glory of The Heavenly Kingdom and came to the world in the likeness of sinful man. Further, He bore the wrath and judgment of God for our sins, in His body, and was sacrificed to take away our sins by bleeding on the Cross. Then, through His Resurrection on the third day, He became our Savior, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will be blessed with eternal salvation.
John 3:16 reads, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." 3:17 explains, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
So, whoever does not welcome and accept Jesus as his Savior in this life will have to face a fearful judge whose condemnation means everlasting punishment.
Is Jesus your Savior now? Or will He be your Judge in the future?
Brothers, the Most Precious One calls on you with His gift of love and asks you simply to receive it. However if you discard it, His love will change into wrath and His gift will change into terrible punishment.
John 3:36 tells us, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." At this moment, believe in Jesus Christ and welcome Him, and you will be saved. He will welcome you to His eternal Heavenly Kingdom after your death.
In John 1:12 we are told, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." Any sinner will be saved through repenting his sin and believing in Jesus, coming forward to God.
Romans 10:9-10 says, "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord'and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
John 5:24 we can read, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." Believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you will not stand before the dreadful Judgment Seat of God, or receive eternal damnation.
2. Believe In Jesus, Or He Will Be Your Judge.
Even though you have the chance to believe in Jesus, if you reject Him, you will face the time when you stand before a dreadful Judge, not a Savior.
Revelation 20:11-15, records the dreadful Words: "Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."
Everyone who is not forgiven by Jesus' blood will be judged according to his own sins and thrown into the lake of fire to suffer punishment forever.
However, everyone who believes in Jesus and welcomes Him as Savior is blessed with the eternal life and enjoys peace and sweet rest in the eternal Heavenly Kingdom, being born again and recorded in the Lamb's book of life.
Therefore, everyone who is born just once in his body faces being thrown to the lake of fire, the second death (in Revelation 20:14). Everyone who is spiritually born again faces the death of his body just once and goes to the Heavenly Kingdom after his death.
Brothers, do you believe in Jesus faithfully and have you been given new birth? Or are you simply continuing to live in the body without having been being given new birth?
If you go on living in the body without having been reborn, you will be thrown into the eternal lake of fire, the second death. Revelation 20: 10, explicitly states: And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." If you go to Hell, you will never escape from there. There is no way to come out of there.
In Hell, you may long for Jesus' loving touch, but will never receive it. You will never have a chance of believing in Jesus, even though you may be eager to do so. You will be without sleep eternally. You will never be allowed to take even a drop of water, although you burn with thirst.
There are some people who don't want to go to church, because they find it full of hypocrites. However, living with hypocrites in the church during one's short life is better than living with them in Hell eternally, isn't it?
Revelation 21:8 records what types of people are cast into the lake of fire in Hell, "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
In Hebrews 10:31, we read: "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Can you find a more dreadful thing than that anywhere in the world?
Brothers, several years ago there was tragic occurrence which shocked the entire nation - Park Jong-Cheol, a student in Seoul National University, was tortured by policemen and died. His death led to special session of Parliament. Even though a single soul being thrown into the lake of fire in Hell after being judged is ten thousand times worse than this, many people are indifferent to it. Therefore, God is much rejoiced to save one lost soul and regards this as the most precious thing.
Didn't Jesus declare in Matthew 10:28: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Is Jesus your Savior or your Judge?
3. The Book of Life or the Book of Deeds?
In Revelation 20:12, we are told, "And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books." In this verse, the book of life was in the singular and the books of deeds in the plural. Based on this, we know that the saved person's name is recorded in the Lamb's book of life; on the other hand, the sins of the condemned one are recorded and he is punished, according to the weight of his sins, after he goes to Hell. However, because all of the sins of the saved one recorded in the book of life were paid with Jesus' blood, he will receive rewards and be crowned according to his acts, at Jesus' second coming. (1 Corinthians 15:58 and Philippians 3:14)
If a saved person makes a mistake and commits a crime, he will not be judged in the age to come. But he will be disciplined and punished with many kinds of adversity during his life in this world. God's reproaching love will discipline and punish him by financial problems, business failure, disease, and problems in his relationships (1 Corinthians 11:31-32, Hebrews 12:5-13).
Is your name recorded in the book of life? Or is your name recorded in the book of deeds next to Judgment Seat of God?
Here is an example about a young man who lived in the American West. He lived well without ever having committed a serious crime. One day, while he was enjoying a card game, he lost his head and struggled against an opponent, and shot and killed him. This earnest young man was condemned to death.
However, because he had lived earnestly in the past, his family and friends came to prepare letters of petition on his behalf. This fact was known to many people in other towns and cities, who eagerly signed the letters. At last the petitions were delivered to the governor, who was fortunately a Christian. Tearfully reading the basketful of letters, he decided to order a stay of execution, pardoning the man. Putting a letter of pardon in his pocket and donning a clerical gown, he set off to visit the young man in prison. When he arrived at the death row cells, the young man stood up and approached the bars, yelling at the governor, "Get out of here. I don't want to see you. I've met men just like you seven times before. I had religious life at home."
"Wait a moment, young man. I have something for you. Let me tell you about it," the governor said.
"I don't want to hear about it," the young man yelled angrily.
"If you don't get out of here right now, I'll ask the jailor to throw you out."
"But, young man, I want to inform you of good news. Let me tell you about it," the governor implored.
"I said get out of here right now, or I'll call a jailor," the young man repeated.
"All right, if you want me to, I'll go," the governor said and left sorrowfully.
After a while a jailor came and said, "Young man, the governor visited you a little while ago."
"What?" he cried out.
"He had a letter of pardon in his pocket which he kept trying to tell you about, but you didn't want to listen to him."
The jailor gave the young man a pad at his request and the young man tearfully wrote a letter to the governor. "Dear Governor, I'd like to offer my sincere apologies for my impolite behavior during your visit to the prison a short time ago."
The governor read his letter and immediately wrote his answer on the back of the young man's letter, "Dear young man, I no longer have any interest in this case."
Soon thereafter, the young man's date of execution arrived.
"Do you have any last words before your death?" he was asked.
"Yes, please deliver my words to the youth of America. The reason why I must die is not because I killed someone. The governor pardoned me for my crime and I could have remained alive. The reason I must die is because I didn't receive the governor's pardon. He tried to offer it, but I rejected."
Welcome Jesus Christ faithfully as your Savior and ensure that your name is recorded in the book of life in the Heavenly Kingdom. Further, as a saved one, you must do your best in leading just one soul to be saved.