What is the final judgment?
The Bible teaches that every person will face a final judgment. Hebrews 9:27 notes, "it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment." This judgment is described most clearly near the end of the Bible in Revelation 20:11-15. These verses explain that every person whose name is not found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
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How does a person escape this Lake of Fire and spend eternity with God in heaven? First, it is clear heaven is not reached because of our goodness. All people have sinned (Romans 3:23). No one deserves to live in the presence of God (Isaiah 64:6).
Second, no one can reach heaven through tricks or deception. Galatians 6:7 is clear, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap."
Third, it is clear this judgment is certain. Paul declared in Acts 17:31, "[God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."
A person who wants to escape a sentence to the Lake of Fire at the final judgment must do so God's way. Jesus Christ is the judge (John 5:22). To avoid His judgment, a person must believe in Him as God's Son by faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 shares, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." John 3:16 further emphasizes, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
For those who have believed, Ecclesiastes 11:9 offers further advice for life: "Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment." The believer can rejoice that he or she will spend eternity with the Lord. However, believers must live with eternity in mind, knowing God watches the way we live our lives.
In the end, Matthew 25:46 teaches the unrighteous "will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." There will be no changing the condition of one's plight following death. Hebrews 4:13 adds, "And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account." Every person and his or her actions will be known.
A close look at the Bible's teachings regarding the final judgment reveals the need for each person to receive the Lord's salvation right away. Further, believers are to live holy lives devoted to Him, knowing no action is hidden from the Lord.
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