INI + AMEN.
((5. Oops!: We’re afraid of the Last Day and final judgment.))
The Last Day. The Final Judgment. Not a happy topic. We’d rather not think about it. Standing before the judgment seat of Jesus—the judgment seat! Sounds like a fun place to be, right? Not so much. We’d rather not.
Well, what about your last day? We don’t want to think about that either. Death. Certainly not a fun thing to talk about. Then you meet your Maker. You meet Jesus. Then, what will He say? What will He do?
If you knew that you were going to die tomorrow or that Jesus would come back, your whole life would change, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t you be more kind, do more good, let old grudges go, seek forgiveness? Even with all that, what will Jesus do? We fear that because, while we talk about Jesus saving us, in the end we still hope that our good out weighs our bad. It all comes down to works.
((4. Ugh!: This text doesn’t help!))
And Jesus doesn’t help! “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Did you hear that? Isn’t that terrifying? “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Wow. “Not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” So, who, then, can be saved?
Now, our problem is that we try to overcome this terrifying statement from Jesus. We think that more us and less Jesus will fix this. We think, “If I live longer, I’ll improve myself. I’ll get better. I’ll do more good. I’ll make up for it. I’ll do good things for others. Do good things for God.”
The problem with that is that’s what the people locked out of the Kingdom do! They think all the good they do measures up, especially the good done in the name of Christ. “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” To them, to the self-righteous, to those who put stock in their own good deeds, deeds supposedly done in Jesus’ name, Jesus will say, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
((3. Aha!: JESUS RESCUES US FROM THE FINAL JUDGMENT.))
Works before and after Jesus don’t save. Don’t do any good before God. Even our best works condemn us, if we trust in them. Our good works won’t help in the judgment, no matter how hard we try. They won’t help balance the scales. In fact, they work all the more against us.
You’ve only got one hope. His name’s Jesus. Jesus and Jesus alone is our rescue. Not only from sin, death, and the devil, but He gets us through the final judgment, too.
JESUS RESCUES US FROM THE FINAL JUDGMENT.
((2. Whee!: He really does!))
He really does. You can bet your life on it. You can bet your eternal life on Him. He gave up His life, He endured the condemnation, He went through judgment FOR YOU. His “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me” counts FOR YOU. Your guilty sentence is His guilty sentence. His “It is finished” is forever true.
Jesus makes you right with His Father. His Heavenly Father is now your Heavenly Father. The waters of Holy Baptism say so. It really is apart from works of the Law. No works of yours do it. Jesus’ works do it. His holy death. His resurrection. His Baptism. His Absolution (Public and Private). His Supper of His real body and blood.
He saves you from your sins, from condemnation. He even saves you from your good works that you like to hold up as something worthy. He saves, and we trust Him. He’s all we’ve got. Being baptized into Him, trusting Him means “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
((1. Yeah!: In Jesus, the Last Day isn’t scary.))
Now, because of Jesus, the Last Day isn’t scary. Trusting in Him, we don’t need to be afraid. It doesn’t even matter how much we trust in Him! It’s not a matter of how great your trust is, how great your faith is. Faith isn’t some quality, some feeling, some virtue, or work that is something so good, and that’s what makes you worthy of salvation.
No, that’s still more us less Jesus. That doesn’t work. If it did, well you better work up enough faith within yourself. But it’s not about the greatness of your faith. It’s about the greatness of your Savior. When your Savior is the one sitting on the judgment seat, you really don’t have anything to worry about at all.
The One who bled and died for you, the One who rose for you, who’s made Himself known to you, baptizing you, absolving you, feeding you with His body and blood—He’s the one you will stand before. He will bring you in. He rescues even from the final judgment. Of course He does! He’s Lord and Savior. Your Lord, but more importantly Your Savior, even on the Last Day and forever.
INI + AMEN.