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Judgement day

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The Lord has always explained that the gospel is given step by step and line upon line. That means, in the beginning many things are given to us in a very simple way and then, step by step these things are clarified and amplified at the appropriate time so we can gain a better understanding of matter. Such is the case with the great debate over if we are saved by grace or by works. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches we need both to obtain salvation, but clearly grace is the most important of the two because without the grace of Christ’s atonement all of our works would mean nothing. So we what we believe about works is that the only saving effect they have is when they are based on the atonement of Christ.

But that poses a question. If we are saved by grace, why is there a judgment? In other words, when a person is “judged” it is based strictly on what they have done or not done. It is cut and dry. It is cold and impersonal. Grace, on the other hand, is just the opposite. Grace is not so much concerned with whether you done something wrong as it is with pardoning your faults. As such, grace is soft, tender, and personal It is forgiving and compassionate.. Therefore, if you are judged then grace has been denied. If you are given grace then judgment has been set aside. The two don’t go together.

Jesus clearly taught that the to be saved we must keep the commandments and if we did we would be rewarded for doing so. He said in Matthew 5:17-20 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.   For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Notice that when Jesus is talking about what we must do to enter into the kingdom of heaven he said that we must obey to the commandments. Notice also that He never said anything about grace being part of that process. But that isn’t all He said.  He ended His sermon with these words as found in Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Again we see that Jesus Himself explained that there is something WE must DO if we want to be saved.

Jesus also taught in Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

If the believers in Christ are saved solely by grace without us having to do anything, then why is the gate narrow and there are few who will find it?

Jesus then continued His sermon by saying,  “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matthew 7:19-24).

Once more we see that when Jesus talks about being saved, there is no mention of grace. Instead, everything He mentions as being important for salvation has to do with how we behave.

However, in John 3:14-17 we read, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” And in John 3:36 it says, “ He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

Those who point to these verses likewise argue that Jesus says nothing about works. Instead, He says that the only thing necessary to inherit the kingdom of God is only “believe” on the Son. While it is true that we must believe on Jesus, if we go on the verse 17 it specifically tells s that all of mankind will be saved and not just the believers. Christ’s atonement is not just for believers but for everyone.



Since no one living now on earth is responsible for what Adam did, therefore it was necessary that grace should be given to each one of us because it is not our fault that we were born in sin. And God does this fall all of us because God is fair. But what about Adam and Eve? Was it their fault that man was born in sin?

Paul explained, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” In the beginning Adam and Eve were innocent and naive because they didn’t have the knowledge of good and evil.. They were like young children in their thinking even though they were physically like grown adults. Therefore, Satan took advantage of their naiveté and “deceived” Eve. In other words, Satan was a con artist who swindled Eve out of her inheritance. He sold her a phony bill of goods. If Eve were brought before any human court of law, it would be Satan who would be condemned not her.

God is much fairer and just in His judgments than any human judge could ever hope to be. John 3:17 says, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John declares that God sent His Son NOT “to condemn the world.” Instead Jesus came to save the world. So we see that it is not just the believers in Christ who will be saved because of Christ’s atonement. He came to save the whole world.

But this is not the only statement the Bible makes on this subject. Instead, it is only the first precept. Then the Bible gives us more details on this subject so that it teaches us precept upon precept. John 5:24-29 tells us, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation
ion.”

Although it seems this is saying that who believes in Jesus will not be judged (shall not come into condemnation), what Jesus means by this is that those who believes in Him don’t have to fear the judgment. We know this is what He means because He then explains that “they that have done good” will come forth in “the resurrection of life, [while] they that have done evil [will come forth] unto the resurrection of damnation.” So obviously, both those who don’t believe on Jesus AND those who do will be judged.

Many Christians teach that once saved you are saved forever, citing John 8:51 which says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” But Jesus taught in Matthew 10:22 “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” And in Matthew 24:13 He said, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” So we see that salvation comes only to those who “endure to the end.” And how is it determined if a person has endured to the end or not unless there is some sort of a judgment made? And indeed the Bible teaches that there will come a day when all people, both good and bad, will be judged

What does the Bible say about this judgment day?. In Matthew 25:31-46 we read, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

”Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

Jesus was very clear and specific that all people, both those who do good and those who do evil, will be judged. In fact, He specifically enumerated what deeds we will be judged on.

But this isn’t all the Bible has to say about judgment day. In Revelation 20:12-13 John wrote, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”

Again, we see that the Bible is consistent when it says that our judgment will be based on our works.

Then what did Paul mean when he said that we are not saved by works? When speaking of the teachings of Paul, Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:15-16 “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

In other words, Peter acknowledged that Paul’s words were not always easy to understand and that those who were unlearned in the ways of the gospel or who were “unstable” in the faith twisted (wrest) the scriptures to make them mean something other than what was intended. Therefore, he sought to clarify Paul’s word by adding, in 1 Peter 4:17 “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

Here he specifically says that those who belong to the house of God (Christians) will be judged first before those who don’t believe the gospel. The implication is that if they are found guilty of disobeying the commandments they will be the first to be punished.

Jesus explained this in Matthew 7:21-23 when He said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Here Jesus is specifically speaking about what will happen on judgment day to those who have professed a belief in Him. It is clear that to some whom who believed on Him, judgment day will be a curse to them instead of an expected blessing if they haven’t obeyed His words.

At the very beginning of Revelation we read, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.”

John received this revelation directly from Jesus so what he wrote was even more specific than what Paul had said. In Revelation 2:1,5,8,10,12-14 John wrote, “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks… Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent…. And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive… Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life….

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;  I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”

In Revelation 2:15-23 “ So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.”

Revelation 3:1-3,15-16 “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the in Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee….  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

From these verses of scriptures it is clear that Jesus not only explained the importance of works but He went so far as to say that those who do not keep His commandments, He will “spue thee out of my mouth.”

In Revelation 2:7,11,17,26 we read, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God…. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death…. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it…. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.”

In Revelation 3:5,12,21 we are told, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels… Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name…. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

As we have already seen, Jesus said we must endure to the end and “OVERCOME.” Without doing that we will not gain salvation, despite God’s grace. As Paul put it, we must run the race and fight the good fight or else we will not win the prize. It is clear that our judgment will be based on our works.

With that in mind, let’s read again what Jesus said regarding judgment day. Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

“Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

So Jesus at the beginning was giving a generic explanation but step by step was giving the whole picture it is not a case that John wrote Revelation after Paul’s epistles and he received it directly by Jesus through revelation and it was so SPECIFIC as Jesus was at the end of His life.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 10:32  

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