2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive his due for the things done in the body, whether good or bad.
Sermons
Christ in JudgmentBp. Huntington.2 Corinthians 5:10
Human Judgment the Earnest of DivineE. B. Pusey, D. D.2 Corinthians 5:10
Judged by Our ActsS. S. Chronicle2 Corinthians 5:10
On the General JudgmentA. Bullock, M. A.2 Corinthians 5:10
The Certainty of a Future JudgmentR. South, D. D.2 Corinthians 5:10
The Final AssizeA. Jack.2 Corinthians 5:10
The Great AssizeC. H. Spurgeon.2 Corinthians 5:10
The JudgmentE. Hurndall 2 Corinthians 5:10
The Judgment Seat of ChristDean Stanley.2 Corinthians 5:10
The Judgment Seat of Christ2 Corinthians 5:10
The Judgment Seat of ChristR. Tuck 2 Corinthians 5:10
The Manifestation Before the Judgment Seat of ChristG. Calthrop, M. A.2 Corinthians 5:10
Assurance of Eternal Life; Faith and its EffectsC. Lipscomb 2 Corinthians 5:1-10


I. THE JUDGMENT IS CERTAIN.

1. It is a matter of most definite revelation.

2. It is necessary for the vindication of Divine justice.

II. CHRIST WILL BE THE JUDGE. "The judgment seat of Christ."

1. A very solemn fact

(1) for those who have rejected his salvation and his rule;

(2) or who have treated his claims with neglect and indifference;

(3) or who have professed to believe on him, but in works have denied him.

2. A very joyous fact for those who have loved, confessed, and served him.

3. A very impressive tact that the One who died for men will judge men.

III. ALL WILL STAND BEFORE CHRIST'S JUDGMENT SEAT. Not one will be missing. How vast an assemblage! A great multitude, and yet no one test in the crowd! We shall be conscious of the great number which no man can number, and yet be impressed with our own individuality. "Each one will receive (ver. 10) - one by one. Every day we are brought a day nearer to that dread convocation.

IV. AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST THERE WILL BE A GREAT REVELATION.

1. Of character.

2. Of condition.

3. Of life.

We shall be made manifest." Life secrets will cease. Successful deceptions will be successful no longer. All veils and disguises will be torn off. The world as well as God will see us as we are.

V. AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST WE SHALL RECEIVE OUR DOOM. This will be according to the deeds of our life. Will the faithful then be justified by faith? Yes; by faith which produces works. Profession will then go for very little. "Lord, Lord," will be but an empty cry. Ability to pray fluently or to preach eloquently will not come into the account. Nor the ability to look extremely pious. Nor facility of talk respecting "blessed seasons" enjoyed on earth, What faith has wrought in us will be the question. What our Christianity has amounted to really and practically. "A name to live" then will be nothing if we are found "dead." Upon the branch professedly united to the Vine fruit will then be sought. "Faith without works is dead." At the judgment it will seem very dead indeed. Yet not by the mere outward act shall we be judged. The motive will be considered as well as the actual deed. "Faith which worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6) will be diligently sought for. Note:

1. The distinction between good and evil will be strictly drawn at the judgment.

2. There will be degrees of reward and punishment. Some "saved as by fire;" some having an "abundant entrance;" some beaten with few stripes, some with many. It will be "according to what he hath done."

3. The dependence of the future upon the present. We shall receive the things done in the body. A remarkable expression. What we do now we shall receive then. We are now writing the sentence of the judgment! Time is sowing. Judgment is reaping. "What manner of persons ought we to be?" - H.









For we must all stand before the Judgment seat of Christ. &&&
The image here is the same as that in Romans 14:10, and the expression is peculiar to these two passages, being taken from the tribunal of the Roman magistrate as the most august representation of justice which the world then exhibited. The "Berea" was a lofty seat raised on an elevated platform, usually at the end of the Basilica, so that the figure of the judge must have been seen towering above the crowd which thronged the long nave of the building. So sacred and solemn did this seat and its platform appear in the eyes not only of the heathen, but of the Christian society of the Roman Empire, that when, two centuries later, the Basilica became the model of the Christian place of worship, the name of Berea (or tribunal) was transferred to the chair of the bishop, and this chair occupied in the apse the place of the judgment seat of the printer. The more usual figure for the Judgment is a throne (Matthew 25:31; Revelation 20:11; Daniel 7:9).

(Dean Stanley.)

I. THE NECESSITY.

1. It must be so, for God hath decreed it, and reason enforceth it. But why? Not to discover anything to God, but —(1) That grace may be glorified in and by the righteous (1 Peter 1:13).(2) That the wicked may be convinced of their sin and defect.(3) That God's justice may be cleared (Psalm 51:4; Acts 17:31).

2. It shall be so (John 5:28).(1) Reason showeth that it may be, and argueth —(a) From the nature of God. There is a God; that God is just, and it is agreeable to His justice that it should be well with them that do well, and ill with them that do evil. This does not appear so here; therefore there is a day when it shall be made conspicuous.(b) From the providence of God. There are many judgments which are pledges of the general judgment, as the drowning of the old World, the burning of Sodom, the destruction of Jerusalem.(c) From the feelings of conscience. After sin men are troubled, though there be none to call them to an account. Heathens are sensible of such a thing (Romans 1:32). Felix trembled at the mention of it (Acts 24:25).(2) Faith showeth that it shall be —(a) From that revelation which God hath made in His Word (Matthew 13:49, 50; John 5:28, 29; Hebrews 9:27; Romans 14:12; Matthew 12:36, 37; Revelation 20:12; Jude 1:14).(b) Christ's interest is concerned in it —

(i.)That the glory of His person may be seen. His first coming was obscure and without observation.

(ii.)That He may possess what He hath purchased (Hebrews 2:13).

(iii.)With respect to the wicked. It is part of His office to triumph over them in their final overthrow (Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:10, 11; Philippians 2:10).

(iv.)To require an account of things during His absence (Matthew 25.; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:8).

II. THE UNIVERSALITY. All mankind which ever were, are, and shall be. No age, no sex, no nation, nor dignity, nor power, nor wealth, nor greatness, can excuse us.

III. THE JUDGE.

1. How Christ comes to he the world's judge, and with what agreeableness to reason this honour is put upon Him. To a judge there belong these four things — wisdom, justice, power, and authority.(1) Wisdom is in Christ twofold — Divine and human. As Christ is God, His wisdom and His understanding are infinite (Hebrews 4:13). His human wisdom is such as doth far exceed the knowledge of all men and angels. When Christ was upon earth He could know whatever He would (Luke 8:45; Matthew 9:3, 4; John 2:23-25). Now, if Jesus was endowed with such an admirable wisdom even in the days of His flesh, what shall we think of Christ glorified?(2) As there is a double knowledge in Christ, so there is also a double righteousness, the one that belongs to Him as God, the other as man, and both are exact and immutably perfect. His Divine nature is holiness itself (1 John 1:5). And His human nature was so sanctified that it was impossible that He could sin in the days of His flesh, much more now glorified in heaven, and there will be use of both in the last judgment.(3) His power (Matthew 24:13).(4) His authority.

IV. THE MANNER OF JUDGING. We must so appear as to be made manifest.

1. To appear; that we must all appear, every individual person. Four things evince that.(1) The wisdom and justice of the Judge. Such is His wisdom and perspicuity that not one .sinner or sin can escape Him (Hebrews 4:13). It concerneth the Judge of the world to do right, which He cannot do unless all sins and persons be manifest to Him, that He may render to every one according to his deeds.(2) The power, impartiality, and faithfulness of His ministers (Matthew 24:31; Luke 16:22; Matthew 13:39-41, 49, 50). There is a mixture unavoidable of good and bad in the Church, but then a perfect separation by the ministry of angels.(3) The nature of the business requireth our appearance. Partly, because in a regular judgment no man can be judged in his absence, partly because we cannot appear by a proctor (Romans 14:12). Now we have an Advocate who appeareth for us (Hebrews 9:24); then the Judge will come to deal with every one in person.(4) The ends of the judgment require our appearance.(a) The conviction of the parties judged. God will go upon clear evidence, and they shall have a fair hearing (Matthew 22:12; Jude 1:15).(b) Satisfaction of the world in the righteousness and justice of God's proceeding. When every person is arraigned and every work is manifest, it cleareth God's justice in rewarding His own and in punishing the ungodly.

2. To be made manifest. Our persons must not only appear, but our hearts and ways be tried (Luke 12:2). The final doom shall repeal all the judgments of this life, and repair them abundantly; many things that are varnished with a fair gloss and pretence here shall then be found abominable, and many things disguised with an ill appearance to the world shall be found to be of God, approved (1 Corinthians 4:5). We shall be manifested —(1) By the knowledge of the Judge. We may hide our sins from men, but not from God.(2) The good angels may be produced as witnesses; they have an inspection over this lower world, are conversant about us in all our ways, and are conscious to our conversations (Psalm 91:11; Ecclesiastes 5:6; Numbers 22:34; 1 Timothy 5:21; 1 Corinthians 11:10).(3) Devils may accuse men in that day.(4) The Word of God will be our accuser (John 5:45; John 12:48).(5) The ministers of the gospel (Matthew 24:14; cf. Mark 13:9; Mark 6:11; Matthew 10:14, 15).(6) Conscience itself shall witness, and God will discover ourselves to ourselves, that we shall see the judgment is just. "The books were opened" (Revelation 20:12), and one of these books is conscience, and though it be in the sinner's keeping, yet it cannot be so defaced but our story will be legible enough, and forgotten sins will stare us in the face (Numbers 32:23).(7) It will be made evident by the confession of offenders themselves. As their consciences will convince them, so their own tongues will accuse them, as Judas (Matthew 27:4; see also Luke 19:12; Romans 2:15; Psalm 64:8).(8) Wicked men shall accuse one another.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

The language of the text conveys the idea of a manifestation rather than that of a mere presentment.

I. THE TRIBUNAL OF THE LAST DAY WILL BE THE GREAT FINAL REVEALER OF HUMAN CHARACTER. There all deceptions will be at an end, and the inner life will make itself visible to the eyes of the assembled world. Now much of the popular notion of the day of judgment is drawn from the modes of procedure in our courts of law. We read in the Bible of a tribunal and a judge. Accordingly we find it believed that the destiny of the man, as in a human court of justice, remains uncertain and undecided until the sentence upon him is actually pronounced. But this theory will not bear a moment's thoughtful consideration. The moment of our death is virtually the moment of the proclamation of our sentence. When the day of grace has closed and the soul and the body are divorced for a time, the spirit passes at once into a place of happiness or a place of woe. The happiness is not complete. The woe is not at the worst. Both are conditions of anticipation. But in both cases the condition is fixed and known. Then comes the day of resurrection. The body suddenly rises, but it rises "that body that shall be." If the life which is to be manifested is a life with Christ and in Christ, the material frame will partake of the beauty and splendour of the appearance of the Judge who sits upon the throne. If, on the other hand, the man has not lived for Christ, the inward aversion from God will find expression in his outward appearance. It will be seen at once, beyond possibility of mistake, what the past has been. You drop a seed into the ground, and when you have done so it is an absolutely certain and settled thing what the future of the plant or the tree shall be. The seed-corn never produces a lily. The bulb of the lily never produces an oak. It is just so with ourselves. The great day of judgment determines nothing. It only makes visible and palpable what we really are.

II. IN THIS WORLD A PROCESS OF SELF-MANIFESTATION IS CONTINUALLY GOING ON. The general opinion about a man as to the real tendency of his life is pretty sure to be the correct one. Let him go in and out amongst you, and the popular estimate of him may, generally speaking, be depended upon. You make no doubt, e.g., of the "worldliness" of certain person who is numbered amongst your acquaintance. But why? The man is respectable enough, a church-goer too, perhaps a communicant. You cannot put your finger upon anything and say it is absolutely faulty. No! But you have been acquainted with him for some time, and all this time he has been unconsciously manifesting himself. Little things have let you into the secret. Tones, glances, remarks, or the absence of remarks, have told you that there is a lack of spiritual life in the man. Now this process of self-manifestation, continually and inevitably going on now in all of us, comes to a culmination in the great day of judgment. What is in us comes out. If we have lived to self, it is known. If we have lived to Christ, it is known.

III. THIS VIEW THROWS LIGHT ON THOSE PASSAGES WHICH SPEAK OF MEN AS BEING JUDGED OUT OF A BOOK ACCORDING TO THE THINGS WRITTEN THEREIN. What is the record? I believe it to be the impression made upon the human memory by the various acts and thoughts and feelings of our lives upon earth. We are told with respect to some persons who had been recovered from drowning that, just before the state of unconsciousness came on, every event in their history, everything which they had thought, or said, or done, seemed to rise up again, and to be present to their minds in a moment of time. Wake up the memory as Eternity will wake it! And then the spectres of the past, of past neglect, of past indifference, past practical contempt of God, past rejection of the offers of Christ, come trooping in, and close round his soul, and refuse to depart. Oh, if he could only bathe his perturbed spirit in some Lethe, in some stream of forgetfulness, he might know comfort again! But they will not go. They cannot go. "The books have been opened"; the man has been "manifested." He has seen himself.

(G. Calthrop, M. A.)

I. THE CERTAINTY OF IT. The Scriptures never say that it is something which may take place. Whatever else may fail or prosper, this will not touch the decree that has fixed one day beyond them all — the judgment. There is scarcely one human interest, institution, undertaking, of which we can predict the course for twenty-four hours; but far above all their chances, independent of them all, subject to no chance, no postponement, is the judgment. The whole framework of order in outward nature may be broken to pieces; the catastrophe will only make sure the fulfilment of the whole prophecy, and the inevitable end will be the judgment.

II. THE UNIVERSALITY OF IT. We must all appear. Here the individual sometimes escapes notice either by retiring from society, or by being lost in its crowd. There the one kind of concealment will be just as hopeless as the other. There will be room enough for all, and yet the personal soul of each, with its individual character, will stand out as sharply distinguished as if no other soul had ever been related to it, or shared its experience. There will be no excuse taken, and there will be no absence to be excused. Every name will be called — those that have been written in the Book of Life, and the names of those that have heard the gospel year after year, and yet would not turn to take the cross and follow Christ. Obscurity, insignificance, weakness, youth, poverty, ignorance — those natural extenuations that we so often plead for not taking up responsibilities here, will not keep any out there. Station and dignities and wealth will avail nothing to obtain an exemption or a substitution.

III. WHAT IS HERE KEPT HIDDEN MUST COME TO LIGHT. We pray every Sunday to Him "to whom all hearts are open, and from whom no secrets are hid." In that day this Searcher of our hearts will deal with us. Deception and concealment will have had their crafty way long enough. Masks will fall off. The cunning sagacity that has covered up the lurking passion, or the cool calculation, will lose its self-possession. Whatever wicked thing we hard been at most pains to conceal will be written out as with a pen of fire on our foreheads.

IV. THE JUDGE IS THE SON OF GOD AND THE SON OF MAN. Repeatedly Christ says that His work, while on earth, in His first coming, is not judgment. Here "I judge no man." Here He ministers life; will we receive it? There, on His throne, all judgment is committed unto Him, "because He is the Son of Man." He knows all man's infirmity, to have compassion; all man's sympathy with evil, to punish. It is not then the time of salvation. The time of salvation is now.

(Bp. Huntington.)

I. THE CERTAINTY OF JUDGMENT. Other events may be more or less doubtful. How often are the calamities which we dread, as well as the blessings which we hope for, and regard as almost within our grasp, alike arrested in their course towards us! Every thing, every event in human life is constantly subject to variation, and is deeply Stamped with the characters of uncertainty and change. The colour and features and substance of our lot may be modified, or be totally changed by a thousand precarious contingencies which we cannot provide against. How near were the Jews at one time to destruction! Their doom, both as to its time and its manner, was determined. The orders to kill were already despatched to all the provinces in which they dwelt. Their enemies were gathering themselves together to cut off the whole nation in one day. Haman has his gallows erected for Mordecai. Deliverance seems far off, and ruin unavoidable. The order to destroy the Jews is reversed. How many instances of a similar nature might easily be produced. None of us, in truth, can know the evil or the good that lies before him in life. It is altogether impossible for us to pretend to predict with certainty the issue of affairs, however penetrating our sagacity. But the day of judgment cannot be called a probable occurrence; it is fixed with a certainty over which human events can exercise no control whatever. The word of the Lord cannot be broken; the purposes of His heart never can be changed.

II. THE UNIVERSALITY OF ITS EXTENT, COMPREHENDING THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE.

III. WE COME NOW TO CONSIDER THE CHARACTER OF OUR JUDGE. "The Father," we are told, "judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." God thus has not only made known to us, in His Word, that Christ shall judge the world, but has also given us an unquestionable proof that He shall do so by His resurrection from the dead. The resurrection of Christ proves this, not only because it establishes the truth of the doctrine which He taught, and the declarations which He uttered, but also because His resurrection itself was the first step of His actual and visible advancement to that mediatorial government of which the solemnities of the general judgment shall form the triumphal close. It is, indeed, true that God is called the Judge of all the earth; and it is said that God shall judge the world in righteousness. But this is in perfect consistency with the usual language of Scripture, in which God is often said to do that Himself which He executes by another. There appears to be a peculiar fitness in Christ's discharging the office of Judge of the human race. It was by Christ Jesus that the world was originally made; it was by Him that it was saved; it is by Him that its affairs are at present administered. Is there not a fitness that the same person who had conducted the scheme of mediation should also bring it to a close by openly acquitting His faithful followers? Is there not a fitness in the Judge being of the same nature with those whose conduct He shall try, and whose destiny He shall fix? Is not the triumph over Satan thus rendered more complete, or ai least more conspicuous?

(A. Bullock, M. A.)

I. THERE SHALL BE SUCH AN APPEARANCE AFTER THIS LIFE AS IS HERE SPOKEN OF.

1. It is very agreeable to the nature of God. What can be more agreeable to the nature of the most pure and powerful agent than to draw unto itself whatsoever is like itself, as likewise to remove from itself whatsoever is unlike itself?

2. It is very agreeable to the nature of the soul of man, because otherwise the chief agent, both in good and evil, should have little or no reward for the one, and little or no punishment for the other.

3. It is necessary for the manifestation of the Divine justice: for though whatsoever God doth is just, and that because God does it, yet does it not always appear to be so. And hence it is that this general doom is called in Scripture "the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God."

4. The strange disproportion betwixt actions and events, merits and rewards, men's parts and their fortune here in this life, cloth seem to require that there should be a day of an after-reckoning to rectify this (Ecclesiastes 9:2; Ecclesiastes 8:14; Ecclesiastes 7:15). This argument, from the seeming unequal distribution of things here below, was urged by the elder Pliny and some others to prove the non-existence of a God. And truly if my conclusions concerning the certainty of a judgment to come after this life were not true, this argument of theirs would shrewdly shake the foundation of all our creed, viz., the being of a God. But supposing such a judgment, we do at once vindicate the power, wisdom, justice, and consequently the very being of God from all contradiction.

5. There is an inborn and inbred notion and expectation which all men have by nature, that there will be a judgment. Whatsoever all men agree in is the voice of nature itself, and consequently must be true: for the dictates of nature are stronger than the probers of reason.

II. WHAT MANNER OF THING THIS JUDGMENT OR LAST DOOM WILL BE.

1. The Judge — Christ.(1) He must be our judge as He is God —

(a)Because none but God has jurisdiction over all the parties that are to be tried at that judgment.

(b)Because none but omniscience can discern the main and principal things that shall be there called in question.

(c)Because none but God can give life and execution to the sentence pronounced.(2) But though God only can be our judge, yet nevertheless He must be man likewise; and that —(a) In regard of the judgment itself, to manifest the impartiality of it.(b) In regard to the parties triable at that day. For among the just there is none so good but he might fairly be afraid to appear at that judgment if the Judge were not our Saviour. And as for the unjust, their condemnation pronounced by that Judge, who laid down His life to save sinners, and consequently cannot possibly be imagined to condemn any but such as would not be saved by Him.(c) In regard of humanity itself — for the dignifying of human nature: that as the nature of man was debased to the lowest degree of meanness in the person of our Saviour, so the same nature, in the same person, might be exalted to so high a degree of power, majesty, and honour, that not only men that had despised Him, and devils that had tempted Him, but even the blessed angels themselves, whose comfort He once stood in need of, should fall down and tremble at His presence.

2. The parties to be judged; and those are all persons of all sorts.

3. The matters that shall be questioned; not our actions only, but our words, thoughts, inclinations, and dispositions.

4. The manner of proceeding. There will be no occasion for examination of witnesses, or reading depositions; for every man shall be indicted and cast or acquitted, by the testimony of his own conscience.

5. The sentence (Matthew 25:34-41).Conclusion: Let it be part of our daily business seriously to meditate upon —

1. The vanity and shortness of our lives.

2. The certainty and uncertainty of our deaths.

3. The great exactness and severity of the judgment to come after death.

4. The eternity of every man's condition in the other world, whether it be good or evil.

(R. South, D. D.)

I. WHAT IS IT WHICH THROWS SUCH AN ATMOSPHERE OF AWE AROUND HUMAN JUDGMENT? It is not the outward pageantry nor any accident in the administration of justice, but that justice is an attribute of God; that law is the representative of His majestic justice; that all justice here is an earnest of His Divine justice hereafter. The outward course of justice strikes a chord in an inward conscience. Conscience, of which even the Jews spoke under the title, "the Accuser," tells us that we too are amenable to justice — if not to human, to Divine.

II. THIS THOUGHT IT AWAKENS ALIKE, WHETHER HUMAN JUSTICE COMES QUICKLY OR SLOWLY UPON THE OFFENDER. The rapidity with which human justice comes down, seems like the lightning discharge of God's displeasure. Yet since this is rare, the slowness of its execution calls forth a yet more awful thought, its dread certainty. "Seldom," said even heathen observation, "has punishment, with limping tread, parted with the fore-hastening criminal." A class of heathenised writers, who but seldom mention God, are even fond of replacing Him with the old heathen goddess, Nemesis. So deeply inwrought in us is the thought of God's persevering justice, which, though it seem to tarry, will surely come. Crime punished here impresses on us God's just judgment on sin; crime which escapes here is an earnest of punishment hereafter.

III. GOD'S JUSTICE, BY THOSE UNIVERSAL LAWS WHICH EXPRESS THE DIVINELY-GIFTED REASON OF MANKIND, SPEAKS FURTHER TO THE CONSCIENCE BY ITS MINUTENESS. Men often encourage themselves in sin by the thought, "It is only this; it is only that!" Human law does not leave petty offences unpunished. It imitates herein God, who knows that the truest mercy to the sinner is to arrest him by light punishment (if he will be arrested) in the beginning of his sin. The law of Moses visited very heavily, sins both against the seventh and ninth commandments, which human law is now compelled to leave for the most part to the judgment seat of Christ. Yet mankind has endorsed the thought, that to rob of a good name is a worse sin than to rob of worldly goods; but human law leaves it unchecked, unrebuked. But it will not remain always unpunished, because unpunished now.

IV. CONSCIENCE, WHICH "DOTH MAKE COWARDS OF US ALL," IS AN INVOLUNTARY, UNTAUGHT INSPIRED PROPHET OF JUDGMENT TO COME. By "conscience," I mean that eternal law written in our hearts by the finger of God, which unlettered islanders of the Pacific know as "the magistrate within"; that almost unextinguishable voice, which burned in David like a firebrand, drove Cain, self-condemned, a wanderer on the earth, made itself heard amid the murderer's fitfulness of Saul, worked Ahab's passing humility, and Judas' unloving but self-accusing remorse. Why does a word bleach a man's cheek, stop his utterance, or, if he have schooled himself to drive back all outward emotion, strike such a pang into his soul? It has awakened the voice of the silenced judge within. Whence, then, this terror? Whence but that conscience is already, in this world, a judgment seat of God? "Conscience may be o'erclouded, because it is not God; extinguished it cannot be, because it is from God." Judgment to come needs to be nothing new in kind; it needs to be but the intensified concentration of all those acts of judgment which God has passed upon us through ourselves, which He has made us pass upon ourselves. The final judgment is but the summary of all those particular judgments.

V. HERE PAUL SPEAKS OF THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT AS A "MANIFESTATION." Of what? Plainly of what existed before, but was hidden. Here, some glimpse of us only shines through; there, what all and each of us have been is to be brought to open light. Light from Him who is Light shall lighten up all the secret corners of the soul of man, all the hidden springs and motives of his outward acts.

VI. JUDGMENT TO COME, BESIDES BEING A DIVINE TRUTH, DECLARED FROM JOB TO REVELATION, IS AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY. Every man is imperfect; every one is tending to a completion, of good or of evil, which here he does not reach. But more, we have each our individual responsibilities. Creation implies an end and object of that creation. We came forth from God; we return to God. God has left us to be masters over ourselves, to work out — with His grace, if we would have it, or, if not, against it — our own destiny, or alas! our own doom. We return, to give account of ourselves, to have our lives summed up, to be judged.

(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)

I. THE STATEMENT RESPECTING THE FUTURE JUDGMENT WITH WHICH THE PASSAGE BEFORE US COMMENCES. "We must all appear before the judgment seat."

II. TO THE ACCOUNT WHICH THE PASSAGE BEFORE US GIVES OF THE PERSON WHO IS TO SUSTAIN THE OFFICE OF JUDGE. "We must all appear before the judgment seat Of Christ."

1. The sustaining of the office of future Judge will not on the part of Christ be an assumption, but a right — a right resting on Divine appointment.

2. But not merely on the ground of right — on the score of qualification Christ will sustain the office of future Judge.

III. TO THE MANNER IN WHICH THE PASSAGE BEFORE US DESCRIBES HIS MODE OF PROCEDURE.

1. That He will elicit every one's real character.

2. That, by His classification of them, He will impartially discriminate between the characters of all. In the world's society, the good and the bad are so blended together, and in many instances bear so close a resemblance to each other, that the most sagacious human observer is often at a loss to say positively who they are who may be thus designated. But further, and in fine: whilst from the account given of His mode of procedure in the passage before us, it is plain that the future Judge will not only elicit every one's real character, but impartially discriminate between the characters of all, it is also undeniably plain that —

3. He will equitably apportion to all their respective allotment. He will apportion the allotment of those who have never enjoyed the light of revelation.

(A. Jack.)

1. There is no need to prove from Scripture that there will be a general judgment, for it abounds with proof-passages.

2. We infer that it must needs be, from the very fact that God is just as the Ruler over men. In all human governments there must be an assize held. Judge for yourselves: is this present state the conclusion of all things? If so, what evidence would you adduce of the Divine justice, in the teeth of the fact that the best of men are often the most afflicted, while the worst of men prosper? If there be no hereafter, then Dives has the best of it.

3. There is in the conscience of most men, if not of all, an assent to this fact. As an old Puritan says, "God holds a petty session in every man's conscience, which is the earnest of the assize which He will hold by and by; for almost all men judge themselves, and their conscience knows this to be wrong and that to be right."

I. WHO ARE THEY THAT WILL HAVE TO APPEAR BEFORE THE THRONE OF JUDGMENT?

1. "All." The godly will not be exempted, for the apostle here is speaking to Christians. They covet the judgment, and will be able to stand there to receive a public acquittal from the mouth of the great Judge. Who, among us, wishes to be smuggled into heaven? Who is he that shall lay anything to our charge since Christ hath died and hath risen again? Their trial will show that there has been no partiality in their case. What a day it will be for them! For some of them were lying under wrongful accusations, All will be cleared up then. There will be a resurrection of reputations as well as of bodies.

2. What a prodigious gathering! What will be the thoughts of Father Adam as he looks upon his offspring? But the most important thought to me is that I shall be there; to you, young men, that you will be there; to you, ye aged, that you shall be there. Are you rich? Your dainty dress shall be put off. Are you poor? Your rags shall not exempt you from attendance at that court.

2. Note the word "appear." No disguise will be possible. Ye cannot come there dressed in masquerade of profession; off will come your garments. Oh, what a day that will be when every man shall see himself and his fellow, and the eyes of angels, of devils, and of God upon the throne, shall see us through and through!

II. WHO WILL BE THE JUDGE? That Christ should be is most fitting. British law ordains that a man shall be tried by his peers, which is just. So at the Judgment. Men shall be judged by a man. He can hold the scales of justice evenly, for He has stood in man's place. I expect no favouritism. Christ is our Friend and will be for ever; but, as a Judge, He will be impartial to all. You will have a fair trial. The Judge will not take sides against you. Men have sometimes been shielded from the punishment they deserved here because they were of a certain profession or occupied a certain position. It shall not be so there. There shall be no concealment of anything in thy favour, and no keeping back of anything against thee.

III. WHAT WILL BE THE RULE OF JUDGMENT? Not our profession, our boastings, but our actions. This includes every omission as well as every commission (Matthew 25.). All our words, too, will be brought up, and all our thoughts, for these lie at the bottom of our actions and give the true colour to them good or bad. Our motives, our heart sins, shall be published unreservedly. "Well," saith one, "who then can be saved?" Ah! indeed, who? Those who have believed in Jesus (Romans 8:1).

IV. THE OBJECT OF THIS JUDGMENT. "That every man may receive the things done in his body."

1. The Lord will grant unto His people an abundant reward for all that they have done. Not that they deserve any reward, but that God first gave them grace to do good works, then took their good works as evidence of a renewed heart, and then gave them a reward for what they had done.

2. But to the ungodly how terrible! They are to receive the things that they have done; that is to say, the punishment due — not every man alike, but the greater sinner the greater doom — Sodom and Gomorrah their place, Tyre and Sidon their places, and then to Capernaum and Bethsaida their place of more intolerable torment, because they had the gospel and rejected it. And the punishment will not only be meted out in proportion to the transgression, but it will be a development of the evil actions done in the evil consequences to be endured, as every man shall eat the fruit of his own ways. Oh, how dreadful it will be for the malicious man to find his malice come home to him, as birds come home to roost; for the lustful man to feel lust burning in every vein, which he can never gratify, etc., etc.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

S. S. Chronicle.
All things are engaged in writing their history. The planet, the pebble goes attended by its shadow. The rolling rock leaves its scratches on the mountain. The river its channel in the soil, the animal its bones in the stratum, the fern and leaf their modest epitaph in the coal. The falling drop makes its sculpture in the sand or stone. Not a foot steps into the snow, or along the ground, but prints, in characters more or less lasting, a map of its march. Every act of man leaves its mark, and hereafter our life will be judged by these marks.

(S. S. Chronicle.)

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