Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ordination #2, Art. 12: Final States

I know I’ve got a good bit of editing to do, and studying for the oral exam board, but it feels good to wrap up this segment of the ordination process.

In the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord; of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.
Scripture is clear that prior to judgment there will be a general resurrection of the dead (Isa. 26.9; Dan. 12.2; Jn. 5.25, 28-29). Our resurrection is connected to Jesus’ resurrection (1 Cor. 15.12-14) and He will change our bodies to be like His (Phil. 3.20-21). Our resurrection bodies will be physical, but in some ways different from our current physical bodies (Lk. 24.38-39; Jn. 20.27). After the resurrection, each person will be judged (Acts 10.42; Rom. 14.10).

Judgment is based upon what we do in this life in our bodies (2 Cor. 5.10). Some texts indicate good works are a factor in judgment (Mt. 25.31-46; Jn. 5.29), but there will be some who do good works that are told to depart by Jesus (Mt. 7.21-23). Ultimate judgment hinges upon responding appropriately to Jesus (Jn. 12.48; 16.8), but it is clear a proper response to Jesus will result in good works (James 2.14-26) that will be evaluated (1 Cor. 3.11-15).
The true believer can anticipate everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heavens and the new earth (Isa. 65.17; Rev. 21.1). This blessedness and joy include delighting in God’s glory and presence (Rev. 21.23; 22.3) where there will be no pain or sorrow (Rev. 21.3-4) and the believer rewards for their faithfulness (Mt. 25.34).

For the unbeliever the future holds condemnation after judgment (Mt. 25.41, 46; Rev. 20.7-15). God takes no delight in the death of the wicked (Ez. 33.11) and desires that all should repent (2 Pet. 3.9), but those who are not in Christ will endure everlasting (Isa. 66.24; Mk. 9.43-48; Mt. 25.46 – if life is eternal, death should be eternal in the same way) and conscious punishment (Lk. 16.19-31; Mt. 25.30). This is a challenging doctrine and our hearts should break like Jesus’ did over Jerusalem (Mt. 23.37-38), but it will ultimately result in praise for God’s righteousness and justice (Rev. 19.1-4). In the meantime, we should be motivated to share God’s life-giving message with those who don’t know (Jude 20-24).

No comments: