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The following article was written by George Scullin, from 'The People of the Living God' Rt 2, Box 423, McMinnville, Tennessee, USA. It has been shortened and edited slightly.

Judgment day. Every man, woman and child from Adam to the end of time will be there, to face the Great Judge.

What will be the basis on which the Judge will pronounce the sentence of life or the sentence of death? What does the Bible say concerning it? And what will people use to plead their cause in that day?

Some will say they have prophesied in his name and cast out devils in his name and done wonderful works in his name. (Matthew 7:21-23) He will not deny their claims; he will merely call them workers of iniquity and condemn them.

Some will plead that they speak with tongues and have great knowledge and understand spiritual mysteries, but they will be turned away. (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)

Many will be certain that belonging to the right denomination will give them life, only to learn that they too have missed the mark. (1 Corinthians 1:12, and 1 Corinthians 3:4)

Many will have placed their hope in believing Jesus is the Son of God, only to find that they had not read the whole contract. (John 8:31)

Most are going to plead that they were "saved by grace" without having understood the meaning of the word. Strong's Greek Dictionary of the New Testament says it is "...the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life." Grace must be "reflected in the life" of the believer in order for it to be saving grace.

The divine influence is God's part. His gracious "rain" falls on the just and the unjust; but it does not make the unjust person just. It is the "reflection in the life" that makes a person just.

Jesus said that the words that he spoke would judge us. (John 12:48) What have we done with his words? Have we obeyed them or ignored them?

In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus says that all the nations of the earth will be separated into two groups. This is not a parable, but an actual picture of the judgment. Notice what kind of works the Judge looks for: the manifestation of love - not the manifestation of miracles.

The Bible says that we will all be judged according to our works. (Revelation 20:11-13).

Paul said the righteous judgment of God will render to every man according to his deeds (Romans 2:6) and "according to what he has done." (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Peter says "The Father... judges according to every man's work." (1 Peter 1:17)

How do we reconcile all of these emphatic statements about works with Paul's declaration that we are not justified by the deeds of the law? (Romans 3:28)

Start by asking what law Paul was talking about. In Romans 2 and 3 he was talking about the law of Moses. These commandments, contained in ordinances, were nailed to the cross. (Ephesians 2:15 and Colossians 2:14)

We are justified by faith, but faith in what? James made it clear that faith that does not produce works is dead. It is useless. (James 2:20, James 2:26) The grace that the Lord has graciously put in our hearts must be manifested in deeds - in works. The "goats" in Matthew 25 did not have this kind of grace.

Since Jesus said in John 12:48 that his words would judge us in that day, then we need to go to his words to find the works we are to produce. The Sermon on the Mount would be a good place to start, for it is loaded with commands that we need to be heeding. Our response in obedience to Jesus' commands must be generated by love: love for God and love for our fellow man. This is true grace.

"If you love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)

(See also Judgment Day.)

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