by Archibald Alexander

And is it certain that I must appear at the judgment? Yes! "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ." And must I there give an account of my actions? Undoubtedly! Everyone will be judged "according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad." And will my most secret iniquities be revealed in the light of that day? They will! "For God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."

Must I render an account of my words as well as my actions? Assuredly! "But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof, in the day of judgment." Will any account be taken of our thoughts, and of the desires and imaginations of the heart, on that day? Most certainly! For the heart is the source of all wickedness, and God knows and remembers every evil thought which ever passed through the minds of men: these come under the class of "secret things;" and it is written, "God will judge the secrets of men," in that day, "by Jesus Christ." Perhaps this relates to secret actions. Not alone; for it is written, "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts."

Will all sinners fare alike on that day? All impenitent sinners will be condemned to everlasting misery; but there will be a wide difference between the punishment of those who sinned in ignorance, and those who sinned in the midst of light and against light. It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for Bethsaida and Capernaum. "That servant that knew his Master's will, and committed things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with many stripes; while he that knew not his Master's will, and committed things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes." Every man shall receive according to his work. "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men chose darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

Is the judgment day determined? Yes. "For he has appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained." Is there reason to think that that day is near at hand? It is nearer now than ever before. It comes on apace; but of that day and that hour knows no man, nor the angels in heaven.

Will any man be able to stand in the judgment? None but such as are clothed in the righteousness of Christ: these shall not only be acquitted, but their imperfect works of faith and labors of love shall be richly rewarded. All others shall be condemned. No man's morality or good works can stand the scrutiny of that day. All without saving faith in Christ will be cast into outer darkness; they will hear the Judge's sentence, "Depart, accursed, into everlasting fire!"