‘The justice of God’s final judgment, which Jesus will administer, according to the Gospel, lies in two things: first, the fact that what people receive is not only what they deserve but that they have in effect already chosen — namely, to be forever without God and therefore without any of the good that He gives; second, the fact that the sentence is proportioned to the knowledge of God’s Word, work and will that was actually disregarded (cf. …
I present here arguments for and against this difficult and disputed question.
Traditionalists argue that the Gk words for ‘eternal’ (‘aion‘ and ‘ainios‘) often carry a clear idea of duration, Heb 13:8; Rev 4:10; 10:6; 11:15; 14:11; 20:10. Cp Mk 3:29 w Mt 12:32. They frequently not the parallelism between ‘eternal life’ and ‘eternal punishment’ in Mt 25:46.
The word ‘eternal’ is used over 60 times to refer to the blessings of the future state. …
The biblical doctrine of final judgement has several important consequence for our lives here and now.
It satisfies our sense of a need for justice in the world. There is so much in the present world which is not fair. Good people suffer, while evil people get off scot free. Even the judicial system itself is susceptible to bias and bribery. The Bible tells us that there will be a final reckoning, when the ‘books’ (Rev 20:12 – symbolising God’s record of what everyone has done in this life) will be opened.
Recent re-thinking about the doctrine of justification throws up a related question about the final judgment:-
Are we warranted to say that we are justified by faith, but are judged by works? The very idea seems to undermine the grace of God and to take away with one hand what has so freely been given with the other.
N.T. Wright on ‘Justification by Works’
‘Here [in Rom 2:1-16] is the first statement about justification in Romans, and lo and behold it affirms justification according to works!…
Few Christians are willing to do any sustained thinking about sin. Of course, evangelical preachers will mention it from time to time. After all, they need to convince their hearers that they are ‘sound’. But they will feel under intense pressure from those same hearers to move quickly and as smoothly as possible from anything to do with sin and judgment to a positive and uplifting message about God’s love.
The fact is, that for most modern Christians the doctrine of the love of God has become the one great ‘given’, the unargued and unarguable axiom. …
In this famous sermon – a negative icon of everything that people perceive to be wrong with Puritan evangelism – Jonathan Edwards describes the state of his hearers who are outside of Christ:-
That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell’s wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor any thing to take hold of; there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.