We know from Scripture that we're not waiting for the end of the world but for its rebirth. In the Bible, the "end" doesn't mean termination but the culmination of all things—that is, when Christ returns. Because we live in a world that is groaning, waiting for redemption— and the cross guarantees that the growing will someday end (Rom. 8:26).
In simple terms: Your view about how the last day plays out will affect how you live today.
So, today, as we gather this coming holiday weekend with many going on vacation and seeing family, we pause our study of Hebrews for a look at a topic that has been on the forefronts of our minds in light of recent events—the last day. In prep for this, I (Darin) offer 12 truths about the last day and the return of Christ.
1. The central question on that last day is the same as the central question on this day: What have you done with Jesus? When you stand before God on the last day, you will need someone to represent you. Jesus Christ is an Advocate who has never lost a case. If we are not justified by faith in this life, we will certainly never be justified by works on the last day. Trust him and him alone for salvation by faith and faith alone by his grace and grace alone.
2. On the last day, Jesus Christ will not be judging the quantity of our work, but the quality. Not how much we did. But what kind of work we did. Did it meet His standards? Early church father, Augustine, said, “Our rewards in heaven are a result of God's crowning His own gifts." Caution in ministry comes from two fountains: (1) Our labor has the power to either strengthen or weaken the church. (2) On Judgment Day, the value of our labor will be tested as by fire. Though we ourselves will be saved, all our work may be consumed in flame (1 Cor 3:11-15).
3.Words you will not here at the Judgment Day: Nice marathon time. Nice CrossFit stats. Nice abs. How would do you bench? “While bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8.).
4. Unseen, unappreciated common grace will be a devastating indictment at the last day. "When I fed them to the full, they committed adultery and trooped to the houses of whores” (Jeremiah 5:17). And what’s more: in the courtroom on the last day, a thousand ignored mercies will seal the justice of the verdict against the unthankful. “Many times he delivered them, but they were rebellious in their purposes” (Psalm 106:43).
5.Don’t waste your life on the useless. “Their silver and gold are not able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord” (Ezekiel 7:19). And I am certain that when we stand before God on the Day of Judgment, we will wish we had shown more charity toward those with whom we disagreed.
6.Our pastors will give an account for how they pastored us. And we'll give an account for how we treated them (Hebrews 13:17). "Christians" who have an "only God can judge me" theology reveal two misunderstandings. 1. One way God judges His people is through the church (1 Cor. 5:9-13). 2. God uses the church's loving judgment now to help us prepare for God's final judgment on the Last Day (1 Cor. 5:5).
7.The Scriptures declare that every human being without exception will stand before Christ in judgment & their destiny will be determined by Him (Rom. 14:12; 1 Cor. 5:20, Heb. 9:27, etc.). Like a man hiding his head in the sand to avoid a charging rhino, modern man denies God's moral law in hopes of avoiding future judgment. Men may mock our warnings of judgment as the delusions of a fanatic. But mocking does not change reality, nor does it quiet the conscience. The church is called, not only to proclaim the Gospel, but to warn men of the great & irrevocable judgment that is coming upon the world!
8.The solemnity of the Day of Judgment should move us to evangelism and missions. Knowing the fear of the Lord we persuade men (2 Cor. 5:11). But why do people seem unmoved by future judgment? 1. Seared conscience; 2. Self-righteousness; 3. Low view of God; 4. Theme is rarely preached in pulpit.
9.Nothing is truly sorted until the Day of the Lord. "Let justice roll down like waters & righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" (Amos 5:24). Death is the last enemy to be overthrown and the final holdout in Christ’s war against the Evil One. When death is finally turned back, then the curse will have been reversed, but until that day, we will weep as Jesus wept.
10.When the Son of God returns, He will take up His mantle of judgment and decide the fate of all men. Preaching is designed to make men ready (2 Tim. 4:1-6). Many consider warnings about sin to be hateful now, but on the Day of Judgment they will prove to be some of the most loving words ever uttered. Graciously warning someone that their sin will eternally separate them from God is one of the truest forms of love imaginable.
11.On the day of judgment, even the most consecrated Christian who ever walked the planet will only have grace to vouch for him. Judgment Day is going to be: Every person. Every thought. Every motive. Every word. Every action. Every neglected action. Everything public and private. Everything known and hidden. Everything examined by Jesus who sees all things perfectly and without partiality.
12.On the last day, many nobodies now will be somebodies then, and many somebodies now will be nobodies then. Remember what the writer of Hebrews said: “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do” (Heb. 6:10 ESV). Or Paul: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:9-10 ESV).