The following is part two of my article “Why Some Have Already Been Judged By the Courts of Heaven, Part I.”
The Apostle Paul actually says that at a certain point God gives people over to the sinful desires of their hearts, gives people up to their shameful desires and to a depraved mind so that they do what ought not to be done (See Romans 1:24-29). Consequently, it seems from the above that God actually gets to a point with some people in which He says, “enough is enough—I will give you over to what you want if you continue to persist in your own ways and resist my Holy Spirit.” (Thus, the verdict has been cast.)
This is why the writer of the book of Hebrews warns believers “Today, if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7). Paul said, “knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11). Unfortunately, there is a general lack of the fear of the Lord in the Body of Christ today in part because of the recklessness of some of the hyper-grace teachers that say a person can live anyway they want because their past, present, and future sins have already been forgiven once a person asks Jesus into their hearts (thus rendering forgiveness and confession of sin unnecessary for anyone post conversion, in spite of the fact that the apostle John told believers to confess their sins after they were already saved as noted in 1 John 1:8-10).
Paul answered that pernicious posture in principle when he wrote “What shall we say then- shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase – by no means, we are those who died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?…and “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people it teaches us to say NO to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age while we wait for the blessed hope the appearing of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good” (See Romans 6:1,2;Titus 2:11-14).
To summarize, the apostolic writings of the New Testament teach believers that the proof of Grace is that we are eager to live godly and pure lives, not as a license to sin as the apostle Jude also warned us against when he wrote “they are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (See Jude 4).
Getting back to the main point, I am not sure what all these “dualists” do with the above N.T. passages since they align with the Old Covenant ways of God who rendered a final verdict from heaven regarding physically alive sinners on the earth in several instances, including when He decided to bring the flood upon the earth (see Genesis 6:6-8; and judge the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah; see Genesis 18:20,21;19:13-25).
Since Jesus is the image of the invisible God who changes not (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 13:8) and reflects exactly the express nature and being of God (Hebrews 1:1-3), He demonstrated His justice and holiness when He rendered a verdict on some even before they passed away physically. (You don’t believe me – see Revelation 2:21 where it says He gave someone time to repent and when they chose not to He rendered a verdict upon them and decided their judgment—which may possibly include eternal judgment as well as earthly suffering and pain.)
The writer of Proverbs has an ominous warning that is in line with the above:
“Then they will call to me, but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me since they hate knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes …. (See proverbs 1:28-31).
Consequently, there are such acts of disobedience and hearts so hardened in a people that they cross an invisible line which is why God told Jeremiah not even to pray for certain people (See Jeremiah 7:16; 11:14; 15:1). These passages sound a lot like 1 John 5:15,16 don’t they?
Finally, the apostle Paul makes the point of this article abundantly clear when he said, “The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them….”
The above passage (1Timothy 5:24) is as clear as “tar on snow” regarding the fact that temporal and eternal verdicts are rendered BEFORE a person passes away from the scene on earth.
I cannot end this troubling article without a great caution to all readers. Although I stand by the above, I NEVER take the position that God is finished with someone or that His eternal verdict has already been cast. Only one time in my life did God stop me from praying for an individual because He showed me they would die because they refused to repent (consequently my friend died within six months of the word I sensed in my heart) however, even in that case it had to do with a physical death so their spirit would be saved (See 1 Corinthians 5:5). So even when God takes a believer’s life prematurely it is often an act of mercy to keep them from further sin and unbelief so their spirit will be saved eternally.
Since we do not have the full mind of God – we are not called to proclaim eternal judgment on anybody, even as Paul says “I do not even judge myself … and judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart” (see 1 Corinthians 4:3-5).
The purpose of this article is not for us to judge others, but to motivate us to walk in the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7;3;7). Truly, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 1:10).
May the Lord visit His church again with a healthy dose of the fear of the Lord and may we never take advantage of the amazing Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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