Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Two Judgment Days
The Bible shows that the universe is steadily marching toward one big event: the Last Day. Because this is the day on which Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, it is also called judgment day.
But if all of history is leading to this final judgment, how can today’s Bible passage say that people are judged by God after they die? Does that mean that there are two judgment days?
Yes, in a certain respect, there are. The day that you die is your own personal judgment day. Your eternal destiny is determined the moment you die. Whoever dies with faith in Christ is given eternal life, and whoever dies in unbelief is condemned to eternal death.
When Jesus returns on the Last Day, all the dead will rise and stand before him for judgment. The verdict that he gives on judgment day will not be different from the one he gave when they died. Those who died in unbelief and went to hell will receive the same verdict, as will those who died in faith and went to heaven.
But if the verdict is the same, what is the point of judgement day? God wants to publicly announce the verdict that he has already given. Sinful humans have the nasty habit of questioning God’s justice and his love. So on the Last Day, God will assemble all people of all time and show them the justice of his judgments and the full extent of his love.
He will give evidence from the lives of unbelievers that they earned the judgment they have already received since their deaths. He will also show how those who died trusting in Jesus received enteral life as a gift, just like he promised. That is why Christ’s appearance on the Last Day is not something to be afraid of but to wait for!
Jesus Christ, give me faith to meet you when I die, and help me to wait expectantly for your salvation. Amen.