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Today's Devotion: Clearly God in Christ

When we study the person of Christ, we clearly see God. According to the Bible, there’s a mysterious invisibility to God the Father, but Jesus is God the Son—the tangible revelation of God to us. This theme runs through John’s Gospel like a golden thread. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” Verse 18 says, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”

When we see the love of Jesus, it’s the love of God. When we read His words in the Gospel, we hear the voice of God. When we ponder His miracles, we see the power of God. When we receive Him as our Savior, we have a relationship with God.

Thomas called Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) The Lord Jesus shouldn’t merely be a part of our life. He should be the center of all we are, all we do, all we think, all we say, and all we feel.

The dearest friend on earth is a mere shadow compared with Jesus Christ.
Oswald Chambers

After the Rapture, the Bible says each believer will stand before Jesus and give an account for his works on earth. Although we will be judged for both the good and the bad, we will not be condemned for our sins because we have been forgiven and saved by Jesus. This judgment of believers is an award ceremony. We will be rewarded according to the good things we have done in the name of Jesus.

Those who do not trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior will also be judged. But there will be no awards on that day, only condemnation. This event, the Great White Throne Judgment, will be discussed later in the Living in the Age of Signs campaign.

Here are 20 verses from the Bible that provide details about the coming judgment and what it means for our lives today.

Judgment Is Inevitable

It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. Hebrews 9:27

We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10

God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:14

Nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. Luke 8:17

God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. Romans 2:16

There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

Jesus Is the Judge

The Father . . . has committed all judgment to the Son . . . and has given Him authority to execute judgment. John 5:22, 27

He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. Acts 17:31

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom. 2 Timothy 4:1

They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 1 Peter 4:5

[Christ] was ordained by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead. Acts 10:42

Ultimate Judgment and Justice Is Reserved for Jesus

Why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. . . . Each of us shall give account of himself to God. Romans 14:10–12

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:11–15

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God. 1 Corinthians 4:5

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! James 5:9

The Good Deeds of Believers Will Be Rewarded

Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. Revelation 22:12

Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from our Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1

When you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. Matthew 6:5

To you, O Lord, belongs mercy. For You render to each one according to his work. Psalm 62:12

Complete audio message as heard at Shadow Mountain Community Church

The Pretenders

Complete audio message as heard at Shadow Mountain Community Church

Almost everyone has at least a vague concept about a future judgment where everyone will stand before God. But few Christians realize that the Bible teaches there will be not just one, but two different days of judgment! And it will be our relationship with Christ that will ultimately determine which judgment we will face. Covers selected Scriptures.

Oh, the unbelievable horror of putting off Christ! The eternal sadness of waiting one day too long is like the terror of those who missed the ark in the days of Noah, or those who failed to escape Sodom and Gomorrah when they had the opportunity. Think of the scoffing thief who died Christless within inches of the Savior—at the very moment Jesus sacrificed Himself on an adjacent cross. Think of the multitudes at the Great White Throne Judgment who will frantically insist their names "must surely" be written somewhere in the Lamb's Book of Life. But they will have waited too long.

When We Don't Have the Promise of Tomorrow…

The Bible warns that every human being is subject to sudden death. No one has the promise of another day or hour. We never know when we'll be swept into eternity by a car wreck, a heart attack, an act of violence, a natural disaster, or freak accident. There is a story of two Canadians who were killed by an airborne black bear that smashed through the windshield of their SUV. The bear had been struck by a car in the oncoming lane, catapulting it like a 440–pound missile into their vehicle.

Thousands of people will die today, and many don't see it coming. They woke up this morning, showered, dressed, grabbed a cup of coffee, and dashed out the door never dreaming they were leaving their doorstep for the final time.

The Bible teaches that our days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle (Job 7:6), like flowers that quickly fade (Job 14:2), and like a mist that appears for a little time then vanishes (James 4:14).

Jesus told the story of a rich man who lived in affluence while a beggar named Lazarus lived nearby in squalor (Luke 16:19–31). The beggar was ready for eternity. When he died he was carried away to be with Abraham and the saints of all the ages. But when the rich man died, he found himself in Hades. Jesus said, "Being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and … cried and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue" (Luke 16:23–24).

But it wasn't possible, and that man is still there, today, without a whisper of hope. One of the worst things about hell is that one's memory doesn't die. The inhabitants of hell will remember all the opportunities they spurned. They'll remember church services they attended, tracts they did not read, invitations they shrugged off, and Bibles they disregarded.

One thought that tormented the rich man was the idea of his brothers joining him. He longed for Lazarus to go to his father's house to warn them "lest they also come to this place of torment" (verse 28).

When I worked on the freight docks during seminary years, I met some of the hardest men I've ever known. I tried to witness to them. Sometimes I'd ask them what they thought would happen to them when they died. Often the response was something like this: "Well, I'm going to hell. All my friends will be in hell, and that's where I want to be. We're going to have a great time."

Don't you let your mind trick you like that. The rich man in Luke 16 didn't want his relatives with him. He didn't want his brothers there. Hell is not a place of fellowship. Hell is the most lonely place you could imagine. It's foolish to think so flippantly of one's eternal destiny. It's foolish to wait too long to be saved, to wait until the day after.

In his book, One Minute After You Die, Erwin Lutzer writes of those who, a minute after death, "will be shrouded in darkness, a region of deprivation and unending regret. There, with their memories and feelings fully intact, images of their life on earth will return to haunt them. They will think back to their friends, family and relatives; they will brood over opportunities they squandered and intuitively know that their future is both hopeless and unending."

Writing vividly, Lutzer said, "While relatives and friends plan your funeral—deciding on a casket, a burial plot, and who the pallbearers shall be—you will be more alive than you have ever been. You will either see God on His throne surrounded by angels and redeemed humanity, or you will feel an indescribable weight of guilt and abandonment."1

Are you ready to meet Christ? Or are you in danger of waiting a day too long?

We Need to Prepare Today!

A prominent judge was raised in a Christian home by godly parents, but he never professed his personal faith in Christ. He married a woman who became a radiant believer. At the time of their marriage, he gave her the promise that he would get saved. She frequently reminded her husband of his promise, only to be put off with the words, "Sometime I will get saved, not now."

This continued until the wife contracted a serious illness and died shortly afterward. Her final pleadings were for his salvation, but he continued to put off a decision.

One night the judge had a vivid dream, and his whole life appeared before him as a panorama, scene after scene. He saw himself as an infant in the arms of a godly mother. He saw himself as a child listening to his mother's prayers. He saw himself as a young man, drifting into dark company and bad habits as his mother knelt earnestly in her home, interceding for him. Then he saw his wife and heard her voice pleading with him to be saved. In his dream, he could hear himself saying, "Sometime, not now … Sometime, not now …"

Then came a vivid scene of his own death, and he saw himself in the lake of fire. He could hear the shrieks and moaning of lost souls, and he heard the jeering ridicule of demons around him who were snickering, "Sometime I'll get saved. Not now." They roared with laughter and cried: "It is too late now!"

The judge awoke in terror …

But I don't know the end of the story. This is a true account of a judge who corresponded with evangelist E. E. Byrum. In his 1903 book, What Shall I Do to Be Saved? Byrum recounted the story, but for some reason he doesn't tell us whether or not this judge ever yielded his life to Christ. It's left for us to wonder.2

What about you? Have you yielded your life to Christ or is your attitude the same as that of the procrastinating judge: "Someday I'll get saved—not now"?

The Bible uses the word NOW to express the urgency of salvation.

Acts 17:30 says, "God … NOW commands all men everywhere to repent."

The apostle Paul said, "Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

The Book of Isaiah says, " 'Come NOW, and let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…' " (Isaiah 1:18).

Evangelist John R. Rice once preached a sermon in which he said that over half of all Christians are saved before the age of fifteen. That statement was carried in a local newspaper in Dubuque, Iowa. Later when Rice went to Dubuque for a revival campaign, a high school student came forward during the invitation. He had read Rice's sermon in the paper, and through tears he said, "I read where over half of the people who ever get saved are saved before they are fifteen. I am just fifteen years old! Oh, I hope I haven't waited too long to be saved!"

He was wise, said Rice. He trusted Christ that night.3

I hope you aren't waiting too long to be saved. If you'd like to trust Christ as your Savior NOW, let me suggest a simple prayer you can sincerely offer to the Lord before you close this article: Dear God, right now I confess my sins. I don't want to delay another moment. I invite Jesus into my heart to be my Savior. Today I confess Him as my Lord. I claim His promise of eternal life. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Let today be your day of salvation!

1Erwin Lutzer, One Minute After You Die (Chicago: Moody Press, 1997), 10.

2E. E. Byrum, What Must I Do to Be Saved? (Anderson, IN: Gospel Trumpet Company, 1903), 166–179.

3John R. Rice, The Bible Garden (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1982), 125.

Dr. Jeremiah explains what it means to become a Christian

God Loves You!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
(John 3:16)

God has a wonderful plan for your life!

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
(John 10:10b)

Walking Down the "Romans Road" to Salvation

Because of our sin, we are separated from God.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
(Romans 3:23)

The Penalty for our sin is death.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Romans 6:23)

The penalty for our sin was paid by Jesus Christ!

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8)

If we repent of our sin, then confess and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved from our sins!

For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(Romans 10:13)

...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
(Romans 10:9,10)

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To receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, pray this prayer:

Lord Jesus, I'm like everyone else - I can't make it through life on my own. I'm imperfect. I'm prone to sin. I have come to realize that there's nothing in the world I can do to make myself acceptable to You. But I know that You have loved me so much that You were willing to submit to the cross and die on my behalf. That's a grace so amazing I cannot understand it; I can only accept it. And I do. I accept Your free gift, and I know that from this moment on, I am saved. I am a child of God. And I give the rest of my life to serving You and experiencing the joy that only You can offer. Fill me now, dear Lord, and raise me to walk in the newness of life. I thank You and praise You! Amen.

Now that you are a "new creation" in Jesus Christ, the road ahead will be full of life-changing experiences. Growing in knowledge and understanding of the Bible and your Christian walk with God is essential for your spiritual growth.

Here are some ways that you can grow as a Christian:

Be baptized.

Baptism identifies you with Christ.

Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.
(Acts 8:35-40)

Study the Bible.

The Bible will guide you through life and answer life's questions.

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
(Psalm 119:105)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:15)

Share your faith with others.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.
(2 Timothy 1:8)

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32)

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witness to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
(Acts 1:8)

Be part of a local church.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
(Ephesians 4:11-12)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
(Colossians 3:16)

Fellowship with other Christians.

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:24, 25)

God desires to meet your needs! Make prayer a part of your daily life.

So He said to them, “When you pray, say: our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
(Luke 11:2-4)

If you would like to know more about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, request your FREE copy of Your Greatest Turning Point here.

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