You Can Settle Out of Court

You Can Settle Out of Court

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, The Final Judgment of the Unsaved Dead.

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, The Final Judgment of the Unsaved Dead.

A time is coming when God will put the final period upon the final page, upon the final book of human history. People who have rejected Jesus Christ will one day face the '“Great White Throne”—final judgment. Before that happens, the Lord will have appeared to catch away His bride, the Church, before the Tribulation, when the wrath of God is poured out. God has not appointed His Church to wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9), but the unsaved will go through the Tribulation, then face that final judgment. The unsaved dead will be raised from their graves to join them at the Great White Throne.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

We’re nearing the close of the book of Revelation, John’s vision of the glorified Savior, Jesus, the Lamb of God. When chapter 4 opens, we saw the saints, His church, are no longer on Earth, but immediately in Heaven with Him. The Trumpet sounded, the dead in Christ rose first; the rest of us were caught up with them to meet Him in the air (the Rapture), and all believers reunited with Him in Heaven. The Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage of the Lamb were first on the agenda when we joined Him there.

But while we’re in Heaven experiencing the glories of that, back on Earth the world is going through that time of 7 years known as the Tribulation, which ends with Jesus’ return to Earth—His Second Coming.

The Rapture was not His Second Coming but His appearance in the air to bring to Heaven His bride. At His Second Coming, He returns not for His saints but with His saints in power and glory to reign on Earth for 1,000 blessed years known as the Millennium.

Now we come to the latter half of Revelation 20, the Great White Throne, the final judgment, where God, at last, settles the score and judges the wicked according to their deeds. I’m aware that some will disagree with this message, but it comes straight from the Word of God.

There are four basic things to understand about this final judgment at the Great White Throne.

The Fearful Setting Described

The throne is called “great” for its awesome power, “white” for its purity, and “throne” for its purpose: judgment. Those who stand before it are unsaved, not believers. The saved have already been to the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Who sits as Judge on this throne? Interestingly, not God the Father, but God the Son—the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (John 5:22), the One raised from the dead (Acts 17:31). The Lamb becomes the Lion.

You may not be a Christian; you may never give your heart to Jesus Christ, but one day you’ll stand before Him. He is inescapable. If you don’t meet Him as Savior, you’ll meet Him as Judge. You may picture Him in the humble garments of a Shepherd, but Revelation 1:13-16 tells you what He will be like:

  • He wears the regal robes of a judge and a king.
  • His white hairs speak of His purity.
  • With eyes like fire, He sees right through us. He knows it all (Hebrews 4:13).
  • His “feet like brass” symbolize judgment.
  • His voice is like the sound of a hundred cascading waterfalls.

Can you imagine talking back to Niagara Falls? This is the Lord Jesus upon the throne of judgment.

The Forceful Summons Delivered

Who will be summoned to the Great White Throne? Not the child of God. The saved who die go immediately to Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8). But the unsaved, both living and dead, will be summoned from wherever they are, out of the graves, the tombs, from the depths of the sea, Arctic wastelands, desert sands, tropical jungles—wherever they’ve died, they’ll be raised. All who’ve lived since Adam and heard the Gospel yet willfully, knowingly refused Jesus Christ, will be present at the Great White Throne.

  • The out and out sinner, obviously, who shakes his fist at God, saying, “You’re not big enough to make me serve You.” But also the not-so-obvious….
  • The self-righteous. People who think the Gospel is for “bad people,” not them. They live in nice homes, work in the PTA, attend church, sing Christian songs. Most people in America are egomaniacs strutting to Hell thinking they’re too good to be damned. The worst form of badness is human goodness when human goodness becomes a substitute for the new birth. There’s no one so bad he cannot be saved and no one so good he need not be saved.
  • Procrastinators. You intended to be saved but didn’t want to give your heart to Jesus “yet.” Proverbs 27:1 warns, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Can you feel your heart beating? That heartbeat is all there is between you and Hell. You say, “That’s pretty strong.” I mean it to be. “Are you trying to frighten me?” Would to God I could. I’d rather frighten you into Heaven than lull you into Hell.
  • Unsaved church members, religious but without Jesus. They’re not anti-God, just deceived, counting on church attendance, rituals, contributions, etc., to save them. Religion never saved anybody; only Jesus can save. It’s not knowing the plan of salvation; it’s knowing the man of salvation. The devil would just as soon send you to Hell from the pew as from the gutter. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
  • Those who’ve never heard the Gospel. If a person has never heard, how can he be condemned? He may not have enough light to save him, but he has enough sin to condemn him. God deals with them differently from those who arrogantly, deliberately, knowingly say no to Jesus Christ (Luke 12:47-48).

The Fatal Secrets Displayed

“…and books were opened…” (Revelation 20:12). God is keeping a book on you. He has your life recorded. Nothing escapes His knowledge. “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

We’re aware evil lurks in the human heart, but some secrets no one knows but God. Those will be revealed (Romans 2:16; Hebrews 4:13; Matthew 12:36; Luke 12:2) God’s camera is recording. Skeletons will come out of closets when the unsaved are judged.

The Final Sentence Determined

You won’t bribe this judge. God swears by Himself the unsaved will be judged according to their works, not by grace or mercy (Revelation 20:11-12). If you want mercy, you may have it, but only in this life. You’ll not have it after death.

  • Evidence is presented: every word, thought, deed, every nickel you stole from your mother’s dresser, every gray hair you gave your father, things you’ve done and things you’ve left undone (James 4:17). When those books are opened, you will step back and say, “My God, no.” But no idle word will be missing from the record.
  • Whats your defense? What can you possibly say for trampling beneath your feet the precious blood of the Lord Jesus, despising the spirit of grace when He stretched forth nail-pierced hands and said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)?
  • The verdict is handed down. Jesus, the broken-hearted judge, will say, “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33). “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:23). Your soul will drop into the lake of fire.

The scoffer says, “I don’t believe in Hell fire.” Either the Bible is true or it’s not.

The scoffer says, “You believe in Hell? Where is it?” Hell is at the end of a Christ-less life. The tragedy is, you don’t have to go.

C. S. Lewis brilliantly wrote, “Everyone is in two categories: Those like Satan who say to God the Father, ‘Not Your will but mine be done.’ Those like God the Son who say to the Father, ‘Not my will but Thine be done.’”

Those in the first category, living independently from God, will one day drop into Hell and a broken-hearted God will say, ‘Not My will; thine be done.’”

But I’ve got wonderful news. You can settle out of court. I’m not going to stand before the Great White Throne, and you don’t have to either. God doesn’t want you to go to Hell. With His blood on the cross, Jesus paid my sin debt and became my Savior. Your sin can be buried in the grave of God’s forgetfulness, never to surface against you again.

Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? (Romans 8:33)

He who believes in Him is not condemned. (John 3:18)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

Settle out of court today and receive the One who saved me, who fills my life day by day with blessedness and joy and has assured me an eternal Heaven.

If you aren’t certain where you would be if you were to die today or Jesus were to come today, you can get that settled right now. Click here.