Three Verdicts

If one believes the word of God, he believes that the day of judgment is to come. “And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27). The judgment involves an appointment which none of us will escape. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:10). Jesus spoke of the judgment of the last day. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him the last day.” (John 12:48). Ignorance regarding the coming judgment will not exempt man of his having to answer to God. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men to repent; because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31). The criteria of judgment is not to be taken lightly. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (I Peter 4:17-18).

When we think of judgment, we often think of verdicts. We associate verdicts with the principle of judgment. There are three outstanding verdicts that come to my mind which the Lord will pronounce in the day of judgment. I believe all of us fall within one of these three verdicts, as regarding ours souls and where we will live in eternity following the judgment.

The first verdict is: “I never knew you”. We read of this in Matthew 7:21-23. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” “In that day” must refer to the day of judgment! To what other day could this have reference? This passage pictures religious people relating to the Lord what they had done in His name. Many advocated that they had done wonderful works, and that they were devout followers of the Lord.

Jesus says, “I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” He doubtlessly recognized their existence, but he did not acknowledge them as His true servants. The word “know” is used in different senses in the scriptures. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament words, says of ginosko, the Greek word for know in Matthew 7:23, means “I have never been in approving connection with you”. They had done wonderful works in their own eyes, but in the sight of the Lord these were works of iniquity. They had worked without the authority of God! This is a sad picture, but we must realize the verdict is coming from the Lord. It is not enough to say Lord, Lord. We must do the will of the Father to enter the kingdom of heaven. We can be deceived and follow false teaching which will cause us never to be approved by Jesus Christ in the Day of Judgment.

The second of the verdicts is: “I know ye not”. This language was spoken by the Lord to the five foolish virgins.
“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” (Matthew 25:11-12). Though this is a parable and the day of judgment is not stated, it would appear that reference could be made to such an event.

Notice that the tense of the word “know” is different than in Matthew 7:23. Jesus said there that “I never knew you”. Here He speaks in the present by saying, “I know ye not”. The difference is that those in Matthew 7:23 had never done the will of God to become children of God. Jesus had never known them to approve of them. In Matthew 25:12, He speaks of those who were once approved by Him, but had ceased to be faithful. Vine says the Greek word “Oida” is used here which means “You stand in no relation to me”. They were the foolish virgins who were unprepared for the coming of the bridegroom. They picture the unprepared for the coming of Christ for the judgment of the great day. Were they in the kingdom? Yes! Were they faithful and known by Christ for their faithfulness? No! Many today have obeyed the gospel, but they have ceased to live godly lives in Christ. They are destined to hear the verdict, “I know ye not”.

We are happy to note that there is also the third verdict: “Well, done thou good and faithful servant:” “His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matthew 25:21, 23). This is language addressed to both the five and two talent men in what we recognize as the parable of the talents. It represents those faithful in the Lord’s kingdom and being faithful unto death. (Revelation 2:10). How beautiful these words are in contrast to the other verdicts which shall be uttered in the judgment.

Which will be our verdict? Entering into the joy of the Lord is greater than all we might have to suffer and endure in this life! May we never forget it. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” (I Corinthians 16:13).

by Bobby K. Thompson via Gospel Truths May 2011

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