I will wipe away every tear…
There is much fascination about the end times in the church today, and there is much fascination about heaven as well. This certainly is understandable, because our treasure and our home are in heaven, and we know that in the end Jesus Christ will reign visibly supreme. Clearly these things are the desires of our hearts. Our fascination with heaven and the end however have often caused us to lose sense of the reality of Christ working with us through us, and among us today. Moreover this heavenly fascination has given way to fables and a heaven designed by mankind.
I posted last night concerning the white throne, and judgment, and in speaking with friends on this topic I always hear the question: “will believers face judgment, and will that judgment be painful, sad, or in any way non-blissful?” I have never really had an answer to that question. There are so many references to ALL facing judgment for deeds done in the flesh, including the believer. We know without a doubt that we will stand before the Father with the merit of the Son, and ultimately we will be judged as sons and not enemies. We will still be judged though. Let me quote Revelation 20:12-15.
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
From a simple reading of this text it appears that the white throne judgment is for all, and the separation to the lake of fire occurs after this judgment. In other words, we will stand judgment according to our deeds. So the concern arises, how can I stand before the throne knowing the deeds I have committed? I know sin will be forgiven, yea sin is forgiven, nonetheless what will it be like to peer into His eyes? The eyes from which heaven and earth flee. Knowing that I will be judged according to my deeds is a frightening and mournful thing. At this point I imagine there is some contention with most readers of this post, and understandably so, I mean, we are going to be judged based on the merit of Christ right? Yes, at least as far as final judgment is concerned, but do not blaspheme the blood of Christ by believing that the blood in some way removes all accountability for your actions.
I came to this down by the Maumee River earlier today, all alone on an island with my mountain bike (when the water is low you can walk to the island). I was sitting in prayer and opened back to Revelation 20 which I posted on last night, and this same question came to my mind. How can heaven be heavenly if we have to face judgment? How can I stand on that day? Certainly there will be some disappointment at the white throne. So I read on past the above quoted scripture. Unfortunately chapter 20 ends at verse 15, so we have a natural tendency to stop there. But the next chapter picks up as follows. (remember the original text would not have had a chapter division here so typically one would have read this all together.)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."
My question changed. Why would God Himself have to wipe away tears from His people? It dawned on me while I was sitting by the river that the judgment of God will come to us who believe, and we will be judged like we are judged by a loving Father. Our sin will be exposed, our wrong doings will be evident, all things will be made known, and we will see the ways we have offended a Holy, Holy, Holy, God. This must occur, because after being exposed and then seeing that God is still gracious and wipes our tears away will be overcome with the eternal gratefulness and reverence that will only increase for all of eternity. God will wipe away the tears we shed at the White Throne. What a terrible and wonderful truth. We will mourn our sin after we die, and yet the king of kings will wipe away the tears and we will enter into eternal grateful ecstasy.
Imagine, we will see all the sin of everyone, and then see that God is still gracious, and we will see the true price Christ paid. After seeing that it is easy to understand why we will spend all of eternity in worship, and serving the most Gracious King!