This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2019 Bible Reading Calendar.
One of the saddest things that I’ve heard from other Christians is a fear of standing before God, a fear of judgement. Some seem to think that the final judgment will involve God reminding us of all the bad things we have done before he lets us enter the joys of eternity, almost like an embarrassing rite-of-passage.
We often don’t help ourselves in this, as I’ve heard preachers use the illustration of God asking us, “Why should I let you into my heaven,” then leaving us to sweat it out until Jesus replies, “Because I took their sin.”
But this is not at all how followers of Jesus should think of final judgment. Now, don’t get me wrong, for those who have rejected Jesus and chosen to stand in their own sinful rebellion, judgement will come with fear. But followers of Jesus will not stand before God with God’s piercing eye’s almost condemning us as the record of our sin is read for all to hear until Jesus steps to the plate for us.
The Bible, after all, tells us that our record of sin was already dealt with 2000 years ago.
In Colossians 2:13-14, Paul wrote:
And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.
Paul’s description of Jesus’ death drips with this beautiful truth that he says elsewhere: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
The Father will not grill us with questions of why we belong in his heavenly Kingdom while he rehearses a listing of our sins. Instead, through Christ, he has already said to us, “What list?”
He is the Father who loves us, and yes, who is grieved by our sin. But he is compassionate and he will not embarrass us or make us squirm. This is why Jesus said his faithful will be greeted with the words, “Well done!” (Matthew 25:21). This is why John could write, “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).
There is no love more perfect than that which the Father has for his beloved children. Thus, in Christ, we can stand in humble confidence without the fear of judgment.
Scripture quotes taken from the Christian Standard Bible.