It's not often I miss a deadline, but I do sometimes. So this morning, God let me know why I missed a deadline in writing this devotion: in teaching the Junior High and High School students, I would be taught myself. The last few weeks, we've been in John 4. John, through a collection of incidents in Jesus life, compares and contrasts people who either believed in Jesus when He preached, or wanted Jesus, not for what He said, but for what He could do for them. Today, this line of discussion led us to the final judgement. Some day, we will all stand before God, and we will be judged by one of two things, our deeds, or Christ's righteousness. So I'm going to ask you the question I asked our students this morning: Which of these would you rather be judged by when YOU stand before God?
If I was to go based on my works, I know that I would be destined for hell, eternity away from the Father forever. Even at my best, I fail. Even at my best, I've fallen, and have been self-centered. Yet, in Christ, I am free, a new creation in Him, designed for His pleasure and Glory to draw others to Himself. In Christ, I am a child of God, and set aside and sealed for redemption. It is in Christ that I find forgiveness of sins and my own rebellion. My works mean nothing in comparison to the glories of Jesus Christ, and because of Him I will be with His Father and Him forever. Take a look at your life. Based on the whole thing, if you were to be before God today, how would your works measure up? Stop trying, then, to seek God on your terms, but come to Jesus on His. He will make all things new, and by His stripes, our ransom is paid, and by His wounds we are healed. Revelation 20:11-15
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 3:1-6 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’