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  • Virginia Brown

Two Judgments

Considering our reflection on Eccl 12:14, I wanted to discuss what the Bible teaches about future judgment. After death or after the second coming of our Lord, all people will be judged by God (Heb 9:27). This doctrinal point does not mean that Christians and non-Christians will be judged in the same manner. Rather, the Bible also teaches that there will be two different judgments.


The first judgment will be for non-Christians. Perhaps the biblical passage where this judgment shows up most explicitly is Rev 20:11–15. This judgment will be for those who’s names are “not found written in the book of life.” The eternal destination of those who enter this judgment is the lake of fire. This will be a place “of punishment (Matt 25:46), of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 8:12), of anguish and distress (2 Thess 1:6), of destruction (2 Pet 3:7), of corruption (Gal 6:8), and of ruin (1 Thess 5:3)” (Bavinck, Dogmatics, 4:703–04). Praise God for salvation from this judgment!


The second judgment will be for Christians. Perhaps the biblical passage where this judgment shows up most explicitly is 1 Cor 3:13–15. Because Jesus teaches that those who has faith “has eternal life and will not be condemned” (John 5:24), this judgment for the Christian will test their works, not their faith. On that Day, “each one’s work will become manifest” (1 Cor 3:13). The outcome of this judgment will be either reward or no reward (1 Cor 3:14). On this Day, some Christians “will suffer loss” (1 Cor 3:15), though all Christians will experience the eternal bliss that follows this judgment (Rev 21:1–4).


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