“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:27–28, KJV 1900)
I have served on several courtroom juries. In one case I was the jury foreman who had to give the juries’ verdict to the judge. Yet, as a jury, we never had to pronounce the judgment for the guilty party. The state left this to the judge. Pronouncing judgement is a serious responsibility. No defendant looks forward to the judgment and sentencing of the court when found guilty.
There is a day of judgment coming for every person. It will be a serious day and a day to which no person looks forward with excitement. It is the day of final judgment, when the righteous judge will open the books on every person to reveal the evidence of their wrongdoings. It will happen after they die. The writer states that this day of judgement is appointed for man.
We look at the injustices of this world and wonder, why do people get away with evil? Why do the wicked prosper? Why does justice seem so corrupted? But a day of judgment is coming when the evil deeds will be exposed and the guilty shall receive their just recompense. The book of Revelation tells us of this moment in history when the books will be opened and the guilty will be cast into the lake of fire for eternal punishment (Rev 20:11-15). For the thief, a day of judgment comes. For the liar, a day of judgment comes. For the sexually immoral, a day of judgement comes. For the murderer, a day of judgment comes. For the slanderer, the cheat, the one who glories in self, the blasphemer, the godless, and all who practice sin, a terrible day of judgment comes. For all who have sinned, a day of judgment comes.
However, there is one and only one hope to escape such a terrible judgment. The writer went on to state that there are some who will escape this terrible judgment. These are the ones who by faith will be eagerly awaiting the return of Jesus Christ and His eternal salvation. In Revelation we read, that there is a book called the book of life. It will be a relatively small book compared to the books opened to reveal the misdeeds of men. In the book of life will be written the names of those who will escape the judgment. They too have sinned, but there is a difference. The ones whose names are written in the book of life are they who have trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and are eagerly waiting for His return.
The destiny of those whose names have been written in the book of life is to enter eternal glory in heaven. Regarding heaven we read, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27, KJV 1900) Only those whose names are written in the book of life shall experience escape from judgment and enter heavenly glory.
How does one have his or her name written in this book of life? It is by true faith in Jesus Christ alone and His work of atoning for our sins. The evidence of true faith in those who believe, are lives that eagerly and patiently wait for Christ’s return. These are ever mindful of His return and live their lives in accordance with this blessed expectation.