A Time of Judgment
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
- Revelation 20:11 – 15
This week we come to the Advent theme of judgment. This theme of Jesus’ second coming makes many of us uneasy. Often, we struggle to embrace the reality that Jesus is a God of both love and justice. So, it has become wildly popular to skip over the Biblical passages that highlight Jesus’ coming judgment upon the unrighteous who continue in unbelief. A lot of people today think that the themes of judgment, wrath and hell are Old Testament ideas, while the New Testament only puts forward a message of grace and love.
Yet Jesus spoke often about hell, judgment and God’s wrath. Additionally, we are told that when Jesus returns he wears a robe dipped in blood and he puts to death those who stand in opposition to him. We can debate whether these passages capture literal pictures of judgment or if they offer us metaphors. What we can’t debate is this: The coming of Jesus will be a time of final judgment.
When it comes to Jesus’ final judgment, the real theological problem that many of us face is that we have lost sight of the fact that judgment isn’t a lack of love. Rather, judgment is an overflow of love. Becky Pippert puts it well in her book Hope Has Its Reasons:
Think how we feel when we see someone we love ravaged by unwise actions or relationships. Do we respond with benign tolerance as we might toward strangers? Far from it….Anger isn’t the opposite of love. Hate is, and the final form of hate is indifference….God’s wrath is not a cranky explosion, but his settled opposition to the cancer…which is eating out the insides of the human race he loves.
Whether we like it or not, Jesus’ second coming will be a time of judgment, so during this week of Advent we are going to reflect on how judgment can create hope in our hearts. The big idea for this week is that Jesus’ coming judgment is good because it flows from a wise, loving God who always acts consistent to his character.
A Moment to Reflect
Spend some time today creating a list of ideas about why Jesus’ final judgment is good.
 See Matthew 10:15, 23:29 – 33, Luke 16:24 – 31 and John 3:36.
 See Revelation 19:11 – 21
 Hope Has Its Reasons by Becky Pippert