I’ll bet I know what you’re thinking. How does this doctrinal-sounding title have a connection to a biblical prophecy? I think you’ll see that there is a very powerful connection.
My writings and posts have primarily focused on proving God is real and that the Bible is true by (A) following the fulfillments of God’s prophecies throughout the millennia in tracing and identifying the ten tribes of Israel, and (B) documenting and showing how biblical prophecies for the modern nations are coming true in modern world events. This post will have an entirely different focus. This post is about what may be the most important biblical prophecy that will ever pertain to your life (and mine). That prophecy is found in II Corinthian 5:10 and it states: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.”
Think about that prophecy. It concerns a future that all of us, believers and non-believers alike, are going to have to face. At some point in the future, we will each have an individual session with Jesus Christ himself and give an accounting for our lives. The outcome of that session you will have with Jesus Christ will determine your future for all future ages. I’m sure that the overwhelming majority of this blog’s readers are believers, but there are undoubtedly some who are agnostics, non-believers or skeptics who found my blog via a websearch for some topic which piqued their interest. For those who fit into this category, welcome to this blog, which is non-denominational in viewpoint and seeks to draw people to God’s reality and strengthen the faith of those who are already believers.
Those who have read my books know that I am a stickler about giving credit to the efforts of others. I have extensive bibliographies in all my books and copious endnotes giving credit to the writings and research efforts of others who have gone before me. So now I’m going to credit the source which stimulated this post. I was listening to a program on Christian Radio (KNWC-1270 AM in Sioux Falls, SD). The speaker was James McDonald and his program is called “Walking in the Word.” He gave an example about the dangers of “judging others” on surface appearances that was so riveting I want to share it with all readers of this blog. I got the impression that the example he cited actually happened, but it may have been anecdotal. Either way, the lesson is just as riveting. I can’t recite it verbatim as I did not record it, but I’ll tell the story as accurately as I can.
He said a man got on the Chicago Metro (a mass transit system) with his two young sons. He took his seat and his two boys began running up and down the aisles and generally making a noisy nuisance of themselves to all the other passengers. The man seemed oblivious to what was occurring and gave the impression to everyone that he was very indifferent to the disturbance his boys were creating for everyone else in his car. Finally, one passenger had “had enough” and confronted the man in the earshot of everyone saying something like, “Sir, can’t you pay attention and get control of your kids?” The man came out of his distant stare and muttered: “I’m sorry, I hadn’t noticed what they were doing. We just left the hospital where their mother died a short time ago.”
No doubt, the attitude of everyone else in the car toward the man changed instantly. They had all been judging the man based on “outward appearances” and had imputed motives to him that were completely erroneous. He was carrying such a heavy burden of grief and despair that he was lost in his own inner world of mental and emotional anguish. He had intended no inconvenience to anyone. The two boys were “out of control” because their world had, literally, just gone “out of control” for them. If you had been one of the fellow passengers, I’ll bet your attitude would have changed from one of condemnation and harsh judgment to one of empathy and compassion in a moment.
This story illustrates the point that is made in II Corinthians 10:7 that people tend to judge each other on “outward appearances” because we do not see what is going on inside people’s lives and we can’t know what they have been through or what they are going through. I Samuel 6:17 tells us that God looks on the hearts of people in evaluating them and he knows what each person’s inner struggle and situation really is. I know that I’ve been in the position of the man in the Chicago metro who gave wrong impressions to others because they could not possible know the depth of inner pain I was carrying through life. No doubt somewhere in life I’ve been in the position of the passengers of the Metro car who judged someone harshly when, if I had known the whole story, I’d have been filled with compassion toward the one I was judging. I’m sure many readers have also been in the position of being judged harshly (and inaccurately) by others or that you have formed harsh opinions of others which you would not have had you known the entire story of what was going on inside that person. The next time someone cuts me off in traffic and angers me, I’m going to remember the story told above and give that person the benefit of the doubt that maybe they are rushing to a hospital to say good-bye to a dying loved one or that they are rushing to an ER to comfort an injured son or daughter. Maybe you can give the same grace to others in your daily experiences with human beings.
So this brings us back to the critically-important prophecy in II Corinthians 5:10 that each of us will appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of our life. Thankfully, Jesus Christ gave up his divinity (Philippians 2:5-11) so that he could experience and taste, in behalf of the Godhead, all the rawness of human life and what it is like to live with a fallen human nature to fight. He was “tempted in all points” as we are (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus Christ is not only the one who will pass final judgment on everyone (John 5:22), he is the advocate and defender for everyone who accepts him as their personal savior and sacrifice for their sins (Hebrews 2:16-18, 4:14-16). The Godhead is so loving toward mankind that the only member of the Godhead who will evaluate everyone and pass judgments on them is the only member of the Godhead who has experienced what it is like to be human. Indeed, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, that inevitable future time when you will be evaluated by Jesus Christ is rigged in your favor because Jesus Christ is not only your judge, he is your passionate defense attorney in the courts of Heaven.
Matthew 12:37 states that even every “idle word” we have ever spoken gets included in the judgment of our lives. Am I ever glad that Jesus Christ is both Savior and judge so I don’t have to be judged for every sin and mistake I’ve done in my life. You should be just as glad for that in your own life. However, Jesus instructs us that we shouldn’t judge others (or impute evil motives to them in judgment) because all we can see is outward appearances, and they can be very wrong and misleading. [Obviously, this applies to daily-life experiences, not situations like where you are fighting an invading army or a mugger whose clear intent is to kill or harm you.] Matthew 7:1 tells us Jesus will judge us with the same standard we have judged others in our lives, so that is a very good reason to “cut others some slack” when we form judgments about others. Like the man in the story of the Chicago Metro, that other person you are tempted to judge harshly may be carrying a load of pain and inner suffering that is crushing him/her.
John 3:16-17 states that Jesus came to save us from the penalty of our sins so that prophesied encounter with Jesus Christ in the future will be a loving, merciful one of forgiveness and grace. If you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior for your sins, you need to do so to ensure a good outcome when II Corinthians 5:10 is fulfilled in your future.
For those who are skeptics or agnostics about the Bible, I urge you to read my articles: Are We Living in the Biblical Latter Days? and Is the Earth 6,000 Years Old? (subtitled “When Lucifer Ruled the World). Both are available at this website’s homepage. I think those articles, combined with articles about the history of the ten tribes of Israel, will convince you that the Bible is a very scientific book and you can not only prove there is a Creator God, but you can also see via fulfilled prophecies, that it is the Creator God who inspired the Bible.