How People Approach Judgment

How People Approach JudgmentText: Hebrews 9:27

We all have an appointment before the judgment seat of Christ. Yet even though all are headed toward judgment, not everyone is approaching it in the same way. The Bible talks about different ways in which people approach judgment. It is important to consider these so we can be sure we are approaching it in the right way.

Ignorant (2 Thessalonians 1:8)

  • Paul described the time when Jesus would come to reward the righteous and punish the wicked (2 Thessalonians 1:5-11) – among those who would be punished would be “those who do not know God
  • This day is coming whether we know about it or not – some might wonder how this is fair; punishment will come not because of ignorance, but because of sin (Romans 3:23; 6:23)
  • There is no excuse for ignorance about God (Romans 1:20) – if we seek Him, we will find Him (Acts 17:27; Matthew 7:7-8) – we will then be rewarded (Hebrews 11:6)

Apathetic (Luke 12:19)

  • Jesus told a parable of a rich land owner who was focused solely on his possessions (Luke 12:15-19) – he was unconcerned with the state of his soul (his condition after judgment)
  • It is easy to become distracted by the things of this world (Luke 8:14) – yet these things are only temporary (1 John 2:17) and riches are uncertain (1 Timothy 6:17)
  • No matter what we gain in this life, it is not worth the loss of our soul (Matthew 16:26) – we must put spiritual things first (Matthew 6:33); care more about that and less about this life (Philippians 3:7-11)

Fearful (Acts 24:24-25)

  • After Paul’s trial was delayed, he had opportunities to speak with the governor Felix (Acts 24:22-25) – he spoke of “righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come“; this caused Felix to tremble (KJV)
  • It is good and necessary to fear God – particularly because of judgment (Hebrews 10:31); but fear alone does not help us (James 2:19)
  • Our fear of God should lead to obedience (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Acts 10:34-35) – we will be judged based upon what we do (2 Corinthians 5:10); fear helps us do what is right

Wishful (Amos 5:18-20)

  • This is not referring to the final judgment, but judgment against Israel – they thought this day would be good for them; this was wishful thinking; they had a false sense of security (Amos 6:1, 7)
  • This is the state of those who think they are right with the Lord, but are not (cf. Matthew 7:22-23) – these ones are looking forward to Christ’s return; they believe, but have no proper reason for hope
  • We cannot just do what “seems right” and expect to be saved in the end (Proverbs 14:12) – we need to examine ourselves and make sure we are prepared for this day (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Hopeful (1 John 2:28-29)

  • When the Lord returns, some will have confidence (hope) and others will be ashamed (no hope) – this confidence comes by practicing righteousness; abide in Him and walk as He walked (1 John 2:6)
  • We are righteous by practicing righteousness (1 John 3:7) – righteousness is found in His word (2 Timothy 3:16-17); therefore, we need to be doers of the word (James 1:22); by doing this, we have hope (Hebrews 5:9)
  • Both the wishful and the hopeful look forward to Christ’s return, but only one will be saved (Romans 8:24) – we have a reason for hope (1 Peter 3:15); this is found in God’s word as we follow God’s word


  • No matter how we are approaching it, judgment is coming
  • We need to make sure we are approaching it in the right way so that we can receive our reward

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