This Sunday, we’ll be concluding the lengthy sermon series on our Statement of Faith with Article 15: “The World to Come”:
“We believe that the end of the world is soon approaching. On that last day Christ will descend from heaven and raise the dead from the grave to final judgment. At that time, there will be a solemn separation during which the wicked will be judged and sentenced to endless, conscious punishment in hell, and the righteous rewarded with endless, conscious joy in the new heavens and new earth. This judgment will fix forever the final state of people in heaven or hell based upon God’s unchanging and unchallengeable principles of righteousness as revealed through both His creation and His Word, the Bible. Those belonging to Jesus will have eternal life in the new heavens and the new earth and live in everlasting joy to the glory of God.”
In order to prepare for receiving the preached Word and for being instructed and instructing others in the truth of the gospel, Christians through the centuries have commonly used confessions and catechisms—Westminster Shorter Catechism, Heidelberg Catechism, 2nd London Baptist Confession, etc.
Other than our own statement of faith, (which I consult every single time I teach, as should all who teach in our church) the two that I find most helpful and use most often in my own discipleship are The Second London Baptist Confession (1689) and An Orthodox Catechism (1680) by Hercules Collins. I carry the former inside by Bible wherever I go and have the latter sitting on the desk within reach in my study at all times (One brother I know keeps the latter next to his toilet for, um, “regular” consultation).
In light of the stated goal above—your preparation, edification, and instruction—I’ve included portions of teaching from each concerning our topic this Sunday: Christ’s Final Judgment.
From The 2nd London Baptist Confession (1689):
1. God has appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ (Acts 17:31; John 5:22), to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. In this day, not only the apostate angels will be judged (1 Cor. 6:3; Jude 6), but also all people who have lived upon the earth. They shall appear before the tribunal [judgment seat] of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds, and to receive [judgment] according to what they have done when in the body, whether good or evil (2 Cor. 5:10; Eccl. 12:14; Matt. 12:36; Rom. 14:10-12; Matt. 25:32-46).
2. The end [purpose] of GOd’s appointing this day is for the manifestation of the glory of His mercy [as seen] in the eternal salvation of the elect, and also His justice, in the eternal damnation of the reprobate [those disapproved and cast off] who are wicked and disobedient (Romans 9:22-23). Then shall the righteous go into everlasting life and receive that fullness of joy and glory with everlasting reward in the presence of the Lord. But the wicked, who know not God and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast aside into everlasting torments (2 Thess. 1:5-7), and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (Matt. 25:46; Mark 9:48; 2 Thess 1:7-10).
3. As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there will be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin (2 Cor. 5:10-11) and to give greater consolation to the godly in their adversity (2 Thess. 1:5-7), so also He will have the date of that day kept unknown to men, that they may shake of all carnal security [fleshly complacency], and always be watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come (Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35-37). Also, so the men [believers] may be affected in such a way that they ever say, ‘Come Lord Jesus, come quickly” (Rev. 22:20)! Amen.
From An Orthodox Catechism (1680):
Q 51. “What comfort do you have by the coming of Christ again to judge the living and the dead?”
A. “That in all my miseries and persecutions, I look with head lifted up (Luke 21:28; Rom. 8:23; Phil. 3:20; Titus 2:13), for the very same who before yielded Himself to the judgment of God for me, and took away all malediction from me, will come as judge from heaven to throw all His and my enemies into everlasting pains (Matt. 25:41; 2 Thess. 1:6-10). He will also translate me with all His chosen to Himself, into celestial joys, and everlasting glory (Matt. 25:34; 1 Thess. 4:16-18); Jude 24-25).
Lord, keep us faithful to that which is in keeping with sound doctrine so that by your sovereign grace, we and those we love may be saved unto joy and glory and righteousness forever. Amen!