Judgment Day and Forgiveness


Posted by Matt Postiff April 28, 2018 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology  Eschatology 

Editor's note: I hesitate to attribute words to God, but I mean for this fictional genre to communicate biblical truth in a dire situation. My hope is that someone who is deceived about their own state of grace may read it and be caught up short, and by this means be able to escape their self-deception.

Imagine you are standing before the Lord just after you have breathed your last on earth. You've left behind your family and friends and are standing alone with the Lord.

"Hello. So...why are you here?", He asks.

"I just died, I guess. I think its time for my judgment. I want to come into heaven. There are people there that I want to see."

The Lord replies, "OK. I've been watching you and pondering your case for a long while."

"You have? I thought..."

"Yes, I know what you have been thinking. About believing in Jesus and all that."

"I do!"

The Lord continued, "Indeed, you did believe in Him, after a fashion. But what bothers me is the fruit of your life. It seems to deny that you really knew Jesus."

Anxiety rising, you ask, "What do you mean, Lord? I did a lot of stuff at church, wrote stuff about you, listened to Christian music a lot, and other things."

"I know that too," God replied in a very kind voice. "But there are other things you aren't mentioning. Let me take one area, as an example. Forgiveness has been a tough thing for you, hasn't it? I watched how you treated your spouse and kids. When you did something wrong, you were grateful for their forgiveness because it meant things could go on normally and without much interruption. But when they did something wrong, you were highly critical of them. Not always to their face, mind you. Sometimes it was just in your heart, or in your journal. And sometimes you were right about how wrong they had been."

"But sometimes," He went on, "when they came to you with an apology, asking forgiveness, you didn't listen. Your spouse might have apologized for days afterward. They did that because they were stricken in conscience that they had done wrong. But it didn't matter to you. You said that they shouldn't have wronged you in the first place. It was too late to apologize. And, you complained that they were picking and choosing what to apologize for. You refused to forgive them."

"I admit that. Because they were inconsistent! Their inconsistency just made me mad! It was like they were using me."

"I understand that completely. I see a lot of inconsistency in your life, and it is not pleasing to me either. I sometimes wonder if people who say they believe in Jesus are just using Me."

"But I did believe in Jesus."

"I know you did, but remember, I said that you believed after a fashion. I meant that you believed in a certain kind of way. You knew the fact of who Jesus is and what He did, but there was a key thing missing."

Your anxiety level spiked. "I do believe, Lord. And I'm sorry for not being forgiving like I should have been."

The Lord spoke very directly, "I know that you are trying now to make this right, but it's too late. The damage has been done. I sense that you are just saying you are sorry, but if you really meant it, you would have been sorry back then for your lack of forgiveness toward your family, and you would have changed your behavior in your life long before now. I can tell you are not truly repentant because of what your sin did to Me; nor are you repentant for what the sin did to them. Since I know your heart, it is evident that you are regretful for what the sin is now doing to you. That's not true repentance, which is part of what real faith in Jesus is all about."

Continuing, He said, "Do you remember the parable of the unforgiving servant? What Jesus was trying to teach you was that if you had truly experienced My vast forgiveness toward you, you would be able to forgive others. The fact that you did not extend forgiveness to your penitent family members shows that you didn't understand the whole concept of forgiveness. Unfortunately, you have been very deceived."

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