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Christ the Judge

November 27, 2012

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come”.

 

Grace from he how is, and was and is to come. Now if you are like me then you know that you are far from perfect. I try to be good, or at least a little better but I fail as often as I succeed. God knows me and seems happy to put up with me, forgiving me and putting me back on the right track. I know the grace of the one who was, the one who has helped me in the past

 

I also know the grace of the one who is, he is the one who is helping me know. He is the God who is giving me the strength to stand up here and speak.

 

But the one who is to come, now him I do not yet know. The one who is to come is the great Alpha and Omega, the one who will be judge of me and all things. It is the one who is to come that worries me. What will happen when it is my turn to stand before the judgement seat? I know the loving, forgiving Jesus, but will Jesus the judge forget all our closeness?

 

With that thought in mind, I remembered an old joke that had been sent to me recently. That is a character flaw of mine. When I’m frightened or stressed, I tend to make a joke, be warned they aren’t always that funny. But here is the joke I remembered….

 

HEAVEN OR HELL? (For this version of this joke – thank you to Susanne Thompson at Grove Books http://www.grovebooks.co.uk )

 

While walking down the street one day a corrupt politician was tragically hit by a car and died. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St Peter at the entrance.

 

“Welcome to heaven,” says St Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

 

“No problem, just let me in,” says the politician.

 

“Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from the higher-ups. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”

 

“Really? I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the politician.

 

“I’m sorry, but we have our rules.”

 

And with that, St Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

 

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course.

 

In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

 

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

 

They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne.

 

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are all having such a good time that before the politician realises it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises. The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St Peter is waiting for him, “Now it’s time to visit heaven.”

 

So, 24 hours passed with the politician joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St Peter returns.

 

“Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”

 

The politician reflects for a minute, then he answers: “Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”

 

So St Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell…

 

Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls to the ground.

 

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.

 

“I don’t understand,” stammers the politician. “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?”

 

The devil smiles at him and says,

 

“Yesterday we were campaigning. Today, you voted.”

 

————————–

 

I laughed then I remembered that one day I will have to cast my vote. Indeed, each moment of every day I have to cast my vote, I have to chose what is right and what is wrong, and what is of no concern.

 

I know that the God I have experienced so far is patient and forgiving. I have experienced this for myself. But the thought of judgement still scares me. It is not so much that I am afraid of where I might end up. It is more that I am afraid of having to face up to the mistakes, failures and sins that I have successfully managed to forget about all through my life.

 

I am afraid of being faced with all of the missed opportunities to do the right thing, the Godly thing. I do not want to face Christ as a failure, but I also don’t want to face him and see not anger but disappointment. He made me with so much potential, just as he made you with so much potential, and my fear is that I haven’t even got close to realising that potential.

 

 

Then I smile again. I know that God loves me and nurtures me. Why should I worry about more? I am loved now, and God’s love is eternal. And the disappointment, well that is just my pride talking, like any toddler I want to be my Father’s favourite. I want to impress. I already have all the assurance that all will be well that anyone can want. What I need is more of that love, I need to let that perfect love drive out my fear.

 

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. This almighty God sends greetings of peace and mercy to me and to you. So I can have the confidence to grow in him, so that I can meet my maker at the end of time without fear. All else is the campaigning of the devil to deceive me into despair. 

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