Where All Roads Are Leading (The Great White Throne Judgment)

Where All Roads Are Leading
Robert Wurtz II

Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:29–31 NKJV)

We are all, without exception, from the least unto the greatest, on our way to a great appointment with God. Saints and sinners alike are going to face God to give an account of every one of their deeds. (Romans 14:12, 1 Cor. 4:5, 2 Cor. 5:10, 1 Peter 4:17) Leonard Ravenhill was once visited by the young Keith Green, who asked him, in effect, “Where do all roads lead?” Most people would follow the ancient cliche by answering, “All roads lead to Rome.” To Ravenhill’s pleasant surprise Green answered, ” All roads lead to the Judgment Seat. ” Nothing is truer than that fact. No matter what road any of us are traveling it will someday dead-end   at the Judgment Seat. It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. The wise King Solomon warned his readers that God will someday judge every secret thing — whether it is good or evil. If that doesn’t sober a person’s mind — nothing will. 

Paul was travelling through what is now Greece when he arrived at Athens, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. There he found a city of people who were worshipping all kinds of gods. He gained their attention by pointing to an altar to an “Unknown God.” Paul uses the occasion to discuss with them the Creator of all things and the Judge of all men. He tells them clearly that God has been overlooking their sin, but now He commands repentance. In fact, Paul informs them of a day of reckoning when Jesus Christ will be Judge and will issue a final judgment of all people.

Let none ever suggest that God is not merciful; for He had overlooked the sins of multitudes leading up to the advent of Jesus Christ. He sent them rain in an attempt to express His goodness with a view to their repentance. Once the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has come, that period of “overlooking” is over and the standing command is to repent. The revealed meaning of this word “repent” is described by Jesus who used the wicked city of Nineveh as his archetype “repentance” city. Having no Bible or means of knowing how to respond to the message of Jonah they proclaimed a fast for everyone including the animals. Everyone was commanded to turn away from their evil ways and mourn their past actions in sackcloth and ashes. The programmatic message of the repentance of the city of Nineveh is available to all of us; therefore, Jesus said that they, the Ninevites, will rise up in judgment against all who hear the word of Christ and refuse to repent and believe. (Matthew 12:41; Luke 11:42) Why? Because the people of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah, but now an infinitely greater messenger than Jonah has come. 

Just Sinners to Be Judged?  

Moreover, we have also to consider the fact that the Lord is going to judge His people; and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. (Hebrews 10:27-31) We have to ask ourselves what Christ will do with those people who have been left in charge of His “vineyard” or “flock” and yet are treating those things as if they were their own and not the Lord’s. (Matthew 25:14-30, Matthew 7:21-24) We have many warnings in the Gospels along these lines. Nevertheless, those warnings are typically made of none effect by clever theologies that try and insulate believers from those words. Common sense should tell us that if Jesus is speaking about eschatological events they are sealed and true future events and are immune to clever men and their vain theologies. When Jesus said that people will say to Him, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name […] only to be told “depart from me you worker of iniquity for I never knew you” — that is actually going to happen (Matthew 7:22). It is a sealed reality and we will someday see it come to pass. 

Dealing With Trouble

At the end of Paul’s life he spoke of a man who had done him “much evil” by the name of Alexander the Coppersmith. Nothing ever changed this vile man. He even delivered him to Satan to teach him not to blaspheme. (1 Timothy 1:20) Paul simply stated, “the Lord reward him according to his works.” This was the right approach to take. Paul knew to allow God to deal with him. Having admonished him a few times Paul’s approach was to reject the person as a heretic (a sower of strife and division) because they are subverted and sinning. As Paul stated, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10–11 ESV) 

There is an old Christian line that says, “we will understand it better by and by.” Many things are happening now that are hard to understand. This will all change when the Lord brings to light the hidden counsels of hearts at the end of the age. There is always “the other side” of the story; and that other side will be revealed on the other side. It will be God’s perspective of the actions and idle words that men and women have spoken.  We have this awesome verse in Matthew 24:

But if that evil servant says in his heart, “My master is delaying his coming,’and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards,the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:48–51 NKJV)

Cut Him in two? So much for gentle Jesus meek and mild. Though people think God is delaying Christ’s return, Paul said God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.” And the Lord Jesus said, There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Not “maybe” or “possibly” but there shall be. Why? Because some people will grow arrogant and confident as the Lord “appears” to tarry. The servant who is wicked is the one who is led to believe that the master will be away for a long time and therefore seizes the opportunity to bully fellow servants and spend time carousing with drunkards. (Robert H. Mounce, NIBC, 1991) Bullying among Christian leaders is almost a sport in some circles. They use their powers to beat their fellow servants. The Greek word for “beat” in this passage is tupto and could be translated “to wound” like in 1 Cor. 8:12. Surely these are the type of things Jesus was referring to in Matthew 24:48ff. 

Dangerous Split Personalities

The most dangerous people on earth are they who can smile and act cordial (friendly) in public, but are all together different in “back room” situations. This is why Jesus adds the phrase, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. hupokrites (hypocrite) is a person who does things to be seen or to give the appearance of being something that they truly are not. They are by practice a “play actor.” They are always putting on a show for the audience. So there is a public personality and then there is the real behind-the-scenes person. These are they “bullies” who treat people in ways that Jesus said warrants the judgment of Hell fire. When called out they make excuses and therefore almost never apologize to their victims. Typically they perfume their bad behavior with “spiritual sounding reasons.” They lure the sheep in with their charm and then justify their bullying. This is an all-too-often problem in these last days when many leaders have lost sight of the coming judgment. 

From saint to sinner God is going to judge everyone on earth. This is why He was called by Abraham, “The Judge of All the Earth.” And He is going to judge the world in Righteousness. (Psalm 8:6) He is going to judge the world by the revealed word of God. The hidden counsels of the hearts are going to be made known. The secret motivations are going to be exposed. The evidence will be brought forward from the all-seeing eye of an omniscient God. Heart motivations are going to be revealed. The facts will be laid out on the table and a judgment is going to be made. What a sobering thing to consider. This is why it is pointless to pass judgment on one another. Someday God is going to put all of these things right. Multitudes will stand in awe. 

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. (Romans 14:13 KJV) 

Why would Paul have to write something like this? It is because people don’t always have sense enough to know they can cause a person to stumble and fall in the faith by their actions. This is why the bully will be judged so harshly. Their hypocritical actions will have caused untold numbers of people to stumble or nearly stumble. Nevertheless, let us not therefore judge one another any more. God is going to sort it all out and make it right soon enough. We can rest confidently in that fact when we are tempted to act out when stumbled or wounded. As Paul said it, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19 KJV) We must do our best to act Biblically and lovingly in these last days where false teachers and false brethren brought in are making havoc of the churches.    

Speaking the Truth in Love

Speaking the Truth in Love
Robert Wurtz II

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. (2 Corinthians 5:11 ESV)

In our past studies we have discussed faith, grace, and the love of God. We touched upon Christ’s call to believers to come boldly unto the Throne of Grace to obtain mercy and grace to help in the time of need (Hebrews 4:16). It is an expression or the goodness of the Lord. It is this goodness that should also lead sinful men and women to repentance (Romans 2:4). We are then told in Romans 11:22 to consider both the goodness and the severity of God. This plays out in the Revelation as we watch over the course of the book a transition taking place. In Revelation 4:2-3 John writes, At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. (Revelation 4:2-3) We observe here the throne of Grace. The rainbow signifies mercy, and the promise of God to Noah (man) that He would not destroy the earth again with water. But as we read the back of the book we find a different reality. John writes, And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Revelation 20:11-13 KJV) 

Knowing the fear of the Lord

Paul gives an explanation in our text (2 Corinthians 5:11) of what motivates him as a servant of God; Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. He then goes on to say of himself and his fellow laborers, “…what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.” This last phrase “I hope that it is known also in your conscience” is key to understanding Paul’s preaching. He preached before the conscience from a position of the fear of the Lord. He set his life out before the people to measure it against what they knew to be true conscientiously. What does that mean? We read in 2 Corinthians 4:2, “But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2 ESV) Paul’s objective was to set truth before the conscience of the people for their consideration. It was all he could do. It was his means of persuading them. With an eye on the fact that we are all going to stand before God and give an account of our lives, he persuaded men to repent and himself to keep on preaching truth

The two sides of man

God has given to every person a conscience. This is an inward mechanism that speaks on behalf of God. Some have called it an inward smoke alarm. Some have called it an umpire as in baseball. It is an inward judge that speaks to our thoughts, attitudes, actions, etc. It also judges the behaviors of others against what it believes to be right and wrong. You can sear it or load it up with false ideas, but when working properly it is a good indicator of right and wrong. This presumes the person has been spending time rightly dividing the word of truth- before their conscience. 

There is another side of every person that constitutes the “I”. It is what “I” want. It is “my” will, “my” ambitions, “my” intentions. The “I” or the “me” in a person will either be submitted to Christ and have His mind or they will be moving to a greater or lesser degree in their own will. The old-timers would call this side of man “the heart”. It is that place that the prophet declared to be “…deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 MKJV) It is summed up in the attitude of Satan,… “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-14) This is an impenitent and rebellious heart. 

Preaching to the choir

“Preaching to the choir” is an expression that means that you are making your case to your supporters. Paul knew that “his supporter” in man is the conscience. Why not the heart? Because the heart of man is corrupt and useless to God until He comes in by His Holy Spirit and replaces it. (Ezekiel 18:31, Ezekiel 36:26, 2 Cor. 5:17, Galatians 6:15) This replacement heart and spirit that constitutes a “new creature in Christ” will work in the person a desire to will and to do God’s good pleasure. (Php. 2:13) Christ may have sweat as it were “great drops of blood”, but in the end He still declared “not my will but thine be done.” That is to say, the new heart will strive against sin. (Hebrews 12:4) In this way the new heart comes into agreement with God and the conscience. If the mind has wrong ideas, the new heart will search out truth and make corrections as necessary. Why? It lives by every word of God; it lives by the written word and by the very thing God is speaking to it at the present moment. 

A divided man

Paul preached to many people that were at war within themselves. They had the light of conscience that was placed within them by God at birth, as a combination of the a priori knowledge of God (the law of God written on the heart), and an unaffiliated judge (the conscience) to measure their actions by. On the opposite side of their humanity was a heart in rebellion against God. One side rejects truth and the other side embraces it. Paul understood this, so he preached to the conscience. When a person agrees with their conscience they are unified, but when they rebel against God and His word, they are divided internally. This is why we are told that in the last days men and women would have a conscience seared with a hot iron. Searing deadens the nerves; it takes the battery out of the smoke alarm. But in the process of searing the conscience, a person will still recognize truth when they hear it. When light is shed on the conscience, it will rise up once again. This may infuriate the rebellious heart, but the conscience will give its approval.  

A shaft of steel

Knowing the terror of the Lord Paul persuaded men. His mind was fastened to truth with chains that could not be broken. As the late Dr. Ken Connolly said concerning men like William Tyndale, “they had convictions that ran like shafts of steel through their bodies not allowing them to bow to pressure.” They paid with their lives. Paul was tethered by the fear of God and the love of God.( 2 Corinthians 5:14) Notice again, “he persuaded men….” The Greek word means “to convince”. Paul did not frog-march men and women into truth; he used great plainness of speech. (2 Corinthians 3:2) He set truth before their eyes in love, and that is a mighty combination. Knowing the terror of the Lord; that is to say, knowing that God is a righteous judge- Paul was constrained by the love of Christ to see men convinced of the Gospel, repent and live holy lives.   






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