2.11 Christ will Come and Judge this World
Separation From The World
Therefore we will be separate from this world. We will keep a light hold on what material possessions we do have. James simply says: " Ye have laid up your treasure in the last days" (James 5:3 RV)- period. As if to say: 'Laying up treasure in the last days is just so incongruous; think about it!'. 2 Thess. 2:1,2 implies that if we really have a firm faith in and focus on the second coming, we will not be led away by false teachers. The very fact that judgment day will surely come is therefore in itself a command to all men to repent (Acts 17:30,31)- and therefore it is a command to preach repentance.
The letter to Titus makes the same connection: " The letter to Titus was to help him in his ministry to those happy-go-lucky islanders of Crete, whose pleasant climate, sailor frequented quays and plentiful vineyards made it a place of easy morals, drunkenness, and idleness. This background accounts for the particular problems which created a duty for Titus to teach the church " that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, stimulated by hope of the reappearance of the Lord and appreciation of the Lord's redemptive work, to purify a peculiar people zealous of good works" (2:12-14).
There was evidently a problem with immorality in the Thessalonica ecclesia (1 Thess. 4:3-6). And yet the ecclesia was so eager for the second coming that some were throwing in their jobs, so certain were they that it was imminent. Clearly the moral implications of the soon coming of the Lord had not been felt. And this is why in every chapter of those epistles, Paul pounds away about the Lord's return- a fact which they knew and enthused about, just as we can, and yet would not face up to its real implications. If Christ is coming soon, we must quit the things which plagued Thessalonica- immorality, laziness, irresponsibility etc.
Knowledge of the coming of judgment leads to self-examination: " The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come... But who may abide the day of his coming?" (Mal. 3:2 cp. Rev. 6:17). Belief in the second coming must provoke the question: " What manner of persons ought (we) to be..." , as we hasten towards the day of judgment? " Wherefore, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of Him...without spot, and blameless" (2 Pet. 3:11,14). When Israel knew Yahweh was going to appear, they were to prepare themselves against that day by sacrifice and atonement (Lev. 9:4). Jonah simply proclaimed that judgment would come upon Nineveh; as far as we know, he didn't appeal for repentance. But the very knowledge of judgment to come was in itself an imperative, a command, to the Ninevites to repent (Jonah 3:4,5). " Let the bed be undefiled: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Heb. 13:4 RV). Sexual immorality is impossible if we truly believe rather than merely know…that judgment day is coming.
Don't Worry About How Man Judges You
1 Cor. 4:3-5 appeals to the reality of God's future judgment as a basis for not paying too much attention to how man judges us. If it is God's judgment that means everything to us, what men say or think about us, or what we perceive they do, will not weigh so heavily with us. The ultimate reality of our lives is the sense of God's future judgment, not the awareness of man's present judgment. If we really grasp the simple fact that God alone is judge, that there is only One who can judge us, that Christ will come, then we will say with Paul from our hearts: “He that is spiritual…himself is judged of no man” (1 Cor. 2:15). Of course, men do judge us; and it hurts. But we are to act and feel according to the fact that ultimately, they can not judge us. For there is only One judge, to whom we shall all soon give account.
Knowing the terror of the Lord at the judgment, knowing that Christ will come, Paul sought to use this to persuade men, including the believers at Corinth, to quit their sloppy attitude to God's Truth. Properly apprehending the reality of judgment to come makes us see the eye of the tiger, grasp the real issues of spiritual life, see the real essence of cross carrying Christianity. We will believe that whatever we sow, that we will reap (Gal. 6:7,8); and we will therefore live accordingly.
In his low moments, Job gave up faith in a resurrection- and used this as an excuse to " not refrain my mouth" (Job 7:10,11). If we have no hope for the future, disbelieving that Christ will come, there is no control of our words (Job 13:13). And yet we live as men and women who know that by our words we will be justified or condemned, when our Lord returns.
No Secret Sins
Job dismissed as ridiculous the suggestion that he had committed adultery by throwing back the question: " For what portion of God is there from above? And what inheritance of the Almighty from on high? Is not destruction to the wicked?" (Job 31:2,3). For Job, the reality of judgment to come was so great that it automatically precluded any wrong behaviour done in secret.