Many followers of "Easy Christianity" love to study prophecy. But biblical prophecy has an annoying habit of returning again and again to the subject of the coming judgment. The words, "every man will be rewarded according to his deeds," are often repeated in the Bible. For the uneasy consciences of many church-goers such reminders spoil all the fun! To the rescue comes the popular, prophetic scheme taught in the notes of a well-known study Bible. It teaches that there is a program of many judgments, not just one. What a relief this theory is to such church-goers! It enables them to distract their consciences from the great reality of judgment by studying the number and the placement of these judgments in the prophetic scheme. Better yet, this theory assures them that their deeds will not be the standard by which their eternal destinies in heaven or hell will be determined. Oh, no! If they have once made their "decision for Christ," they will go to a judgment reserved only for Christians. Their deeds will only determine how big their bag of rewards will be. If they are content with a modest palace in the New Jerusalem, they need not worry about a holy life or good works.
Such teaching obscures and perverts the Biblical teaching on judgment and endangers the souls of men! We are judged by our deeds, because our deeds show our characters! One whose deeds and character are bad has never become a Christian! Jesus said, "Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree rotten, and its fruit rotten; for the tree is known by its fruit...And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned" (Matthew 12:33-37). There is one judgment at which our deeds will determine whether we are authentic Christians and whether our destinies will be heaven or hell (Matthew. 25:31-46; Acts 17:31; John 5:28,29; Romans 2:7-10; 2 Peter 3:3-13).
11. Judge Not!
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