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Apostle's Creed 11: Judge Of The Quick and The Dead

By Pastor Phillip Howle

web posted August 7, 2013

RELIGION – The Boy Scout Motto is “Be Prepared.” I myself had a short life in Boy Scouts, as I was anything but prepared. I had moved through the ranks of Tiger Cub, Cub Scout, Weblos, and moved up to Boy Scouts. Sadly, there was going to be no Eagle Scout Badge in my future. My first experience in the Boy Scouts was a survival weekend. 

It included gutting, skinning, and cooking a rabbit by yourself and making your own shelter (from what you found in the woods) and sleeping in it. Well, I was not prepared. I love Edgefield, and I know around here most boys and girls could do this by age 7, but I grew up in the heart of the city of Greenwood. The rabbits were provided for us, they were dead, I got it skinned and I reckoned cooked, but I could not get a bite down.
Needless to say, I went hungry. My shelter was a half broken tree covered with branches and leaves. It was decent, but it rained and I got soaked.  So I went down to the Scoutmaster’s tent to sleep (seems messed up he got a tent). Anyways, I did not get my merit badge and I did not come back to Boy Scouts (It did not fit my football schedule anyways). But I did learn that I was far from prepared for fake survival, much less real survival. Luckily, this was not a life and death situation that I truly needed to be prepared for.
You see the greater the obstacle or more important the situation, the more preparation you need.  If you are choosing whether to buy name brand green beans or off brand green beans the consequences are minimal and your choice is of no real importance. But if you are choosing who to trust to invest your retirement for you, it is a different matter.   You want to check references, rate of return, and a whole host of other criteria. Failure of preparation may lead to a retirement of eating a diet of off brand green beans.
With this in mind, we look at the next part of the Apostle’s Creed: “He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty: From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”

First off, the meaning of this section is pretty straightforward. Jesus, after his death and resurrection, has now returned to heaven to be the judge of all mankind. The word “quick” is not meaning Jesus judges sprinters more harshly than slow moving people, but quick is used in an archaic sense of “alive.” An example of this usage of the word is like the “quick” of the fingernail. Jesus will judge all of mankind is the idea.

We speak of Jesus as Savior often, but we neglect to give equal weight to Jesus as the judge. The Old Testament is full of prophetic passages looking forward to the Messiah being both Savior and Judge of all mankind. The New Testament makes this clear as well.
"And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead." Acts 10:42

"The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:30-31

"in that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus." Romans 2:16

"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:" 2 Timothy 4:1

Let me explain it to you like this. I can get bothered watching the actions of other people’s children. When we are at the playground and someone’s child is being ungrateful for the lunch the parent bought or the time the parent took to bring the child and the child responds by throwing a fit, It bothers me, but no big deal it is not my child. It is not my time and money being wasted.  But, when it is my child being ungrateful, it bothers me greatly. It makes me angry. I am forced to pray for patience and wonder how or why I have raised my children to not be more thankful.

Understand that Jesus as your judge means that as he judges you. He not only knows your every thought and every deed, but has died for your sins. You see, Jesus’ death on the cross makes salvation for all possible, but it only makes salvation actual for those who, by the gift of faith, respond in belief. A saving belief in Jesus is one that changes our life.
Therefore, as you stand before Jesus, you will either grasp what Jesus did and accomplished for you or you will reject His love for you. All people are judged. For the Christian this means that Jesus will reveal the true nature of a believer’s heart to him or her. Every rebellious act, wrong attitude, and cutting word will be reviewed. When the Bible says that Jesus will wipe the tears from our eyes, it is referring to this time (Isa. 25:8). We’ll be standing in the holy Savior’s presence, grieving over how undeserving we are of His sacrifice. But the sorrow will last only a moment. Christ’s judgment is not a punishment; it is a reminder that we are pardoned. At last, we will fully realize the depth and breadth of His grace
As Believers, we will need not cower or hang our heads during the judgment. Nor are we to repent—the time for that is past. We will stand before the Lord, clothed in Christ’s righteousness and forgiven of every single sin. And we will at last comprehend how great is the love of our God.
But for the one rejects this offer of salvation and pardon, there is further judgment. Jesus gives you what you want. You don’t want Him to be the Lord of your life in this life; He will not force you to accept Him as Lord in the next life either. The Bible does make it clear that even for the non-believer they will confess Jesus is the Lord. Philippinas 2:9-11  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,  (10)  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  (11)  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

But this confession now only seals the rejection of the only one who could save and forgive you of your sins. I know this shocking and offensive, but it is the truth. A truth you have to decide for yourself. Are you prepared when you breathe your last to stand before God?

I pray you are, Pastor Phillip

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