has set some rules and commanded us to obey them. It should
be no surprise, then, that he cares about whether we obey them.
We will each be judged on our obedience when Jesus returns to
earth. In this chapter, we consider judgement and how we should
feel about facing Jesus.
Jesus describes what it will be like to appear before him
1. What is the reward for the “sheep” and the
punishment for the “goats”?
2. Is the fire in v41 literal?
3. Why don’t those being judged know what they have
4. Who are the “brothers” of Jesus (v40)?
5. The judgement described here is based on what people have
done to help others. Are there any other requirements
to be part of God’s kingdom?
the judgement, we will either be with the sheep or with the
goats-there is no other group. To the faithful and obedient,
God has promised eternal life so we can glorify him forever.
Those who choose not to follow God’s way can only look
forward to misery and destruction. Paul described it like
God “will give to each person according to what he has
done”. To those who by persistence in doing good seek
glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But
for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and
follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Romans 2:6-8)
Who will be judged when Christ returns?
Once, after Jesus had taught the people, he said
If I had
not come and spoken to them, they would not be
guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their
sin. (John 15:22)
So before he taught them, they were not
responsible. Once they were aware of the simple message of
God’s salvation, they were responsible. From this, we
can conclude that knowledge of the
gospel makes a person responsible, and therefore subject to
But exactly who will be judged and who won’t be is not
clear. In fact, there is little value in trying to work out
who will be judged-only God knows who is responsible for their
sins and who is not. For
the LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man
looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at
the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
you be afraid of the judgement?
Read 2 Timothy 4:7-8 and 1 John 2:28.
Paul was confident that he would be saved, and so can we. When
we think of the future judgement, we must be confident that
our forgiven sins are forgotten. Hebrews 10:17,35 God promises to save us if we “keep the faith”, as Paul did,
and ask for our sins to be forgiven. Doubting God’s
ability to cover our sins is like saying, “God, I don’t
believe your promises”.
Sometimes it is hard to stop doubt creeping in, especially
when we sin. Guilt is powerful, often making us feel that
we are not good enough for God-why would God save such a pathetic,
useless person? Remember, Christ came to save the pathetic,
unwanted, hated and sinful persons. Instead of doubting, praise
God for his unlimited love and understanding. God knows we
feel bad, so tell him. That’s what forgiveness is all
Christ will be the judge
|Matthew 25:31-46; Romans 2:6-8; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 2 Timothy 4:1; Romans 2:16.
|John 15:22; Romans 4:15.
|Romans 8:1-2; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; Hebrews 10:17,35; 1 John 2:28.
God is merciful
|Luke 6:36; James 2:12-13.
|Galatians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 13:5-6.
|Matthew 6:14-15; 7:1-5; Luke 6:37-38; Romans 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; 5:12-13; 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 5:20.
Paul was confident because he knew God’s grace was sufficient.
See Chapter 38. Grace. Paul said he was the “worst of sinners”, yet he
knew that he
would be saved because his sins were as “white as snow”.
1 Timothy 1:15 , Isaiah 1:18
True believers should look forward to the judgement-to meet
Christ, to be a part of God’s kingdom and have eternal
Consider this verse.
. . . there is now no condemnation for those who are in
Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the
Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Of course, if you have chosen not to obey God, then the
judgement is something to fear.
What will the judgement be like?
The judgement is a time when the faithful will be rewarded
the wicked will be condemned. The Scriptures contain very
little about what the judgement will be like. How the judgement
will be conducted is unimportant for believers today. What
important is making sure that you are ready for it.
Some people imagine they will have to prove their worthiness
at the judgement. This is not scriptural. We will have to
account for our actions. Matthew 12:36 But, it is by God’s grace that
saved, not by how many times we have sinned or how many
times we have asked for forgiveness. Besides, forgiven sins
forgotten sins, never to be remembered.
It is a very different story for unforgiven sinners. God is
a righteous judge and the guilty will be punished-the punishment
is in knowing that they chose the wrong way and as a result
will die a lonely, anguished death.
Some people feel that God should not destroy “good” people.
But none of us are good enough, we all sin. Being a good person
is not good enough for God-being a loving, faithful person
1. Read Matthew 12:36. At the judgement, we must give an
account. What do you think this account is if our sins are
2. Read James 2:12-13. Is God always merciful?
3. Read 1 Corinthians 6:1-3. When will we judge angels and
who will they be?
4. How do you reconcile Matthew 7:1 and 1 Timothy 5:20?
(Hint: consider the difference between discerning and
condemning; they are both forms of judging.)
Romans 4:15 says “where there is no law there is no
transgression”. This suggests that people who are
of God’s laws are not responsible for disobeying them.
Discuss if this is true. Who might not be judged?
Was Paul always confident he would be saved? See 1 Corinthians
1. Write a list of ideas of what you think the judgement will
be like. Compare this list with someone else and discuss
God shows mercy to people who are merciful. Can you see Matthew
6:14-15; think of a time when you were too quick to condemn?
Luke 6:37-3 How can you be more merciful? Think of two practical
ways and try to put them into practice this week.
• The Christadelphians: what they believe and preach
Harry Tennant (published by The Christadelphian, 1986),
Chapter 19: “Resurrection and judgement”. 16 pages.
BB Studies 4.6 and 4.8
Balancing the book by Len Richardson (published by the
author, 1990). Sections on judgement, sinning, fear and
love of God.
Great news for the world by Alan Hayward (published by
Christadelphians Worldwide, 1976). Chapters 6 & 7 deal
with belief, repentance, forgiveness and judgement.
Thine is the kingdom by Peter Southgate (published by the
Dawn Book Supply, 2nd ed., 1997). Chapter 12, 17 pages.
29. Forgiving one another