Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (KJV).
Every individual on the planet will have to stand before God and give an account for his or her life; there are no exceptions. However, there is a difference in the way people are judged in relation to their standing with or without Jesus Christ. There is a judgment that pertains to the damned and there is a judgment that pertains to the just. God is a Respecter of none, which means that every human being on the planet may avoid the judgment of the damned if they so choose. Unfortunately, there are those who will reject Jesus Christ and die in their sins, only to face an eternal judgment that no one should face. It has never been God’s will for them to be condemned for all eternity, but His holiness demands justice. 2Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (KJV). We must realize that the reason things have been allowed to go one as long as they have is God giving people time to repent of their sins. Simply put, He has no pleasure in anyone’s destruction. Thus we read, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, KJV). Before going any farther, if you have not surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, now is the time to do it. You are not promised tomorrow; you only have this moment for sure. 1John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (KJV). Turn away from your sin and run to God. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and surrender your life to Jesus Christ. Today is your day!
For the sinner, this is the basic ending which has no end: 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. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15, emphases added, KJV). There will be no place to hide from the Lord. Regardless of status or position, rich or poor, every individual will stand alone before God. They cannot escape, and there will be no excuses that that may justify themselves with. Everything will be in the open and they will feel very naked, since they will have no covering for their sin. We also learn that hell is a holding place until what is also known as “the second death.” While those in hell are now already tormented, it will be even worse after the Day of Judgment. Even hell itself will be cast into the lake of fire. It is a place of perpetual burning, a never-ending torment.
There are differences in severity of suffering, since each individual will receive “the punishment that fits the crime.” For example, “Then began He (Jesus) to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the Day of Judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee” Matthew 11:20-24, emphases added, KJV). Keep in mind that people are judged, not the buildings of cities. In this passage of Scripture, we find that the severity was based on knowledge. Meaning, these people were presented with the Truth, but they rejected it. Of course, the severity will also be based upon what the sinner did or did not do in his or her life. Just as we read in Revelation, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
The believer faces a different judgment. 2Corinthians 5:10 makes this very clear: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (KJV). Please understand that those who are in Christ Jesus will not face the lake of fire; however, their works will be tried by fire. We will not be judged for our sins as those who are lost; rather, our works will be judged. 1Corinthians 3:13-15 tells us, “Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (emphases added, KJV). Clearly, the Word says that the individual will be saved, but he may lose rewards if his works are dead. That is to say, those who walk by faith will do works of faith. If the works are not of faith, they are dead. Works of faith will not be addressed here; however, we must remember that “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
For the believer, 1John 4:15-19 speaks volumes in relation to the Day of Judgment: Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us (emphases added, KJV). As long as person walks in His love, he or she will never have to fear the judgment. While in Christ Jesus, we are free from sin because He took the punishment for us. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28, KJV). While it is possible to depart from the living God with an evil heart of unbelief, we must remember James 1:12, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (emphasis added, KJV). If you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, you need not fear!