Tuesday, January 25, 2005

3. General Epistles: Final Judgement

Here is an exhaustive list of passages in the General Epistles that speak directly about the concept of final judgement:

Jas 2:13 For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Jas 5:9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors!

1 Pet 1:17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile.

1 Pet 3:10-12 For "Those who desire life and desire to see good days, let them keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit; 11 let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

2 Pet 2:9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment

2 Pet 2:12-13 These people, however, are like irrational animals, mere creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed. They slander what they do not understand, and when those creatures are destroyed, they also will be destroyed, 13 suffering the penalty for doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 They have left the straight road and have gone astray, following the road of Balaam son of Bosor, who loved the wages of doing wrong, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet's madness. 17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the deepest darkness has been reserved.18 For they speak bombastic nonsense, and with licentious desires of the flesh they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error.

2 Pet 3:7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless.

1 John 4:17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.

Jude 1:14-15 It was also about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "See, the Lord is coming with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict everyone of all the deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

Rev 21:8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."


Well that is a lot of fairly blatant and clear statements of judgement by works.

Let us again address the question of whether, using more precise terminology, the depicted judgement is by nature or works, ie whether it is based on whether the people themselves are good or evil or whether it is based on their actual deeds. Some passages speak more of a judgement by nature (2 Pet 2:9, 2 Pet 2:12-18, 2 Pet 3:7, 1 John 4:17, Rev 21:8), whereas other passages more of a judgement based on deeds (Jas 2:13, Jas 5:9, 1 Pet 1:17, Jude 1:14-15) and one uses both concepts (1 Pet 3:10-12). The lack of any clear differentiation between the two subtly different concepts of judgement, means we cannot conclude one way or another which one these passages best support.

Clearly the general epistles depict a works / nature based final judgement.


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