Having eliminated all the mistaken texts regarding Hell in Scripture in the last series, we can now take a honest look at what Judgment in the afterlife truly is (as it is revealed in Scripture). This series will focus entirely upon that theme – Judgment.
Judgment is never fun, but it is necessary. It teaches us righteousness. “For when the earth experiences Your judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9) God’s judgment leads us to a better place. It’s a 2-step process, first destruction and then renewal.
God’s way is always to tear down the old in order to build up the new. As we will see in this series especially, He destroys the old man (flesh) within us in order to renew the new man (Christ in us). For, “He has torn us but He will heal us, He has wounded us but He will bandage us.” (Hosea 6:1) For “He kills and makes alive.” (1 Samuel 2:6)
And this is what we have been doing with the past 2 series of blogs; we have been tearing down in order that we may lay a firm foundation and build on it. As God told Jeremiah,
“See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10)
We have effectively torn down most (but not all) of the misconceptions of Scripture concerning endless torment, it is now time to start building up a proper understanding of judgment in the next life. Which is good, b/c I am sure anyone who has read these blogs so far might be starting to wonder if I am arguing against there being any kind of future judgment at all. There are certainly a fair amount of people who no longer believe in hell, but those who believe in Universal Reconciliation are NOT among them. There IS a hell, and it is painful, but it is not endless; and its purpose is to correct, not to punish for the sake of punishment. It truly is for the good of those who are judged.
And we truly need to discover this, for we cannot grow up until we understand and agree that discipline is for our good, especially since it comes from the hand of One who is the embodiment of Love. So it is good that we seek to understand judgment, b/c Scripture declares that one of the elementary and foundational teachings that we must know in order to “press on to maturity” is – “aionian judgment.” (Hebrews 6:1,2) Or as I like to call it, ‘judgment in The Age.’ (See the 1st series for why aionian should be translated “The Age”)
This series will be much more fascinating than the previous ones, for the simple reason that it won’t be correcting misconceptions, but revealing what Scripture has to say regarding various topics of future judgment. Discovering what Scripture has to say on certain issues is always intriguing, and future judgment is even more fascinating because so few have sought to study it. This is probably due to the fact that when people believe future judgment is one of endless torments the subject matter is too heavy and too dark to pursue. So the majority remain ignorant concerning what Scripture has to say about this.
But if you have received anything I have written about so far, like me, you are beginning to be liberated from such darkness and can now proceed knowing that what we will be looking into is bright and full of hope!
We will certainly be dealing with things that will seem heavy (the cross and death to self), but ultimately it is for our good. I often make the humorous point that, ‘you cant be raised from the dead if you haven’t died!’ And the glory that awaits us in the Resurrection is what we truly long for.
Therefore in this series, we will investigate what Scripture has to say about: the Righteousness of God (or the fact that He is holy and therefore must punish sin); Judgment and Justice; the Lake of Fire; Death; Destruction; Wrath; and a couple other related issues. But before we get into that, we will take a quick look at the Stages of Salvation, b/c it is necessary if we want to understand why we must undergo judgment. I think you will be surprised at what Scripture so clearly teaches about these concepts. Its wonderful; its full of hope; it truly is – Good News!
God bless you as you read,