You’ll Only Hurt Yourself
The prophet Jeremiah, in warning the Southern Kingdom of Judah of the impending wrath of God, told the people that the evil that Israel and Judah had done in provoking the Lord to wrath they had “done against themselves” (Jeremiah 11:17). When we consider the various stories of sin and judgment throughout the Bible we can only conclude that those upon whom the wrath of God fell got exactly what they deserved. Adam and Eve, Cain, the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, Pharaoh, Israel and Judah, they all acted in such a way that only hurt themselves.
The natures of mankind and God have not changed and it is important for you and I to never forget that sin only hurts us and never benefits us. And while we all sin and continue to fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) we need to remember that God has provided a way in which we can be saved from ourselves (Titus 2:11–12). And there is an intimate relationship between the grace of God, faith, and works (James 2:26). We respond to Lord and His sacrifice by what we do versus what we did. This is brought about by the act of repentance and is the difference between the old man/life and the new man/life.
So when we stand before God in the Day of Judgment we will not do so to stand trial for we are living the trial now. Once we die, or if they Lord returns first, the judgment of guilt or exoneration will be sealed. So what happens at that Last Day?
The first consideration is the fact of separation: While here on earth the saved and the lost are mingled together (Matthew 13:30, 47–49). Physical death only separates us temporarily, but when Jesus returns all will be raised and a complete and final separation will take place (Matthew 25:31–46).
The second concern is that of proclamation. Judgment Day is about sentencing. Punishment or reward will be passed upon every person. When we die and enter the intermediate state it is primarily a private matter. But on that day Jesus will publicly proclaim,“come” or “depart,” and everyone will here and know. You may fool others while you are alive and they may continue to be deceived after your death. But you are only fooling and hurting yourself.
While these two purposes are certain, they would not necessarily be essential. So there must be a deeper meaning to the judgment of mankind. The third, final, and most important intent is that of vindication. Not our vindication, but God’s. The final judgment will demonstrate the righteousness and impartiality of God and no one will be able to honestly say, “That’s not fair!” They may beg, plead, and cry, but God is just and righteous. Everyone will be “without excuse” (Romans 1:20; 2:1), the will “have their mouths closed” (Romans 3:19), and everyone will glorify God!
You can live in disobedience and rebellion but you are only hurting yourself. The wise man hears and obeys (Matthew 7:24–25) and lives to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).