“He will come again to judge the living and the dead” – The Apostles' Creed
Jesus is going to come again. This is also called his “second coming.” The “first coming” of Jesus was when he became a human being, lived a perfect life and died on a cross for our sins. The second coming is when Jesus returns to judge all mankind – the living and the dead. The living includes all who will be alive when he returns. The dead includes everyone else, all who have lived and died physically.
Jesus said that everyone who has died will be raised from the dead and be judged (John 5:26-29). So, all of us will stand before the “Christ as Judge.”
The Good News
This judgment is good news for Christians. We know from Revelation chapters 21-22 that the place that Jesus will take Christians is the New Jerusalem, where they will live forever in the presence of God, and where all sin, sickness and sorrow will be gone. The return of Christ gives hope to Christians when they are going through difficult times. Peter wrote that when we go through trials, we can rejoice – Jesus Christ will be revealed when he comes again.
These trials have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
The Bad News
But the return of Jesus as judge is bad news for non-Christians. If I am not in Christ, then I have not had my sins forgiven and I will bear the punishment for my sins. This means that I am in big trouble. The penalty for sin is separation from God and because God is eternal, that separation is eternal. If I have not had my sins forgiven through the cross of Jesus Christ, then his coming again is the worst news possible, because my sins will cause me to be cast away from God’s presence forever.
God has Provided the Solution for Everyone
But God has provided the solution for my sin problem, which is contained in the first part of the same section of the Apostles’ Creed, where it says that Jesus Christ, “was crucified” before he rose again on the third day. Jesus paid the penalty that our sins deserve. Those who turn away from sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ as their sin-bearer receive forgiveness of sins and can live in God’s presence. When Jesus returns, he will welcome them into his eternal kingdom.
At the end of the book of Revelation, final words are prayer:
“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” – John
He is asking Jesus to come again, to “judge the living and the dead."
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