Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nowhere to Hide

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 04:13, NKJV).

The above verse is a graphic reminder of the futility of concealing anything from an omniscient and omnipresent God.

Everyone will face judgment for everything said and done in the flesh.

Those who face Christ as His children by faith, will be judged as in an athletic competition, receiving or forfeiting awards based on how they have lived on earth as Christians. Their sinfulness has already been judged on the Cross, and the penalty paid by Christ Himself. As children of the King, they are guaranteed citizenship in Heaven, symbolized by their names being registered in the Lambs Book of Life, but their roles and responsibilities there are based on what he or she has done with the opportunities and gifts given in this life.

Writing to Christians, the Apostle Paul informs us:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10, NKJV).
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15, NKJV).
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matthew 25:21, NKJV).
The rest of mankind, those who have knowingly and willfully rejected the offer of salvation through faith in Christ will also stand before God. It will not go well with them.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15, NKJV).
“And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” (Revelation 14:11, NKJV).
The writer of Hebrews has no intention of giving his readers a false peace. In fact, in a number of passages, his Holy Spirit-inspired words are clearly meant to strike fear in the hearts of some of his intended audience; especially those who either openly scoff at the truth, and those who put on an outward show of belief, but whose words and deeds reveal the falsenessfalseness of their confession.

To this first group his warning is that, whether you take it seriously or not, you will be required to give account of your earthly existence. Every utterance, thought, and action will be judged according to God's perfect standard. This is not good news. 

All of us fail to live up even to our own anemic ideas of right and wrong, let alone those absolute conceptions of good and evil that God has taken great pains to reveal. In essence, the writer is saying that the Holy and Righteous God will judge you, whether or not you believe He exists. Indeed, your very unbelief will be the first offense upon which your sentence of eternal punishment will be based.

Nor does it matter that you may feel the judgment harsh. Your feelings in the matter are utterly irrelevant. In truth, in view of the extravagant measures He has undertaken to enable you to escape this eternal death sentence, any rejection of it is not only insane, but completely blasphemous.

Not only this, but it is entirely in accordance with His character that sins against an eternal God require an eternal penalty, just as forgiveness of those sins through Christ results in eternal life. Logically, there cannot be Heaven, without Hell, else neither means anything.

And to the second group, the pretenders, the writer's warning is that there is nowhere to hide. God is not fooled by pretense. All creatures are naked and open to His sight. To think otherwise is to maintain an infantile view of the Eternal Transcendent Sovereign, like a toddler who believes he is invisible by merely covering his own eyes.

Now, if all we had was this warning, we would be in sorry shape, perhaps concluding that it would be better never to have been born.

But the gospel serves as the perfect counterbalance to the alarms raised in this verse. Those who have acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior, may suffer loss of reward on that Day, but they themselves will be saved.

What it does provide for us is tremendous incentive to live each moment of our lives with God as our witness.

Because He is.

And He doesn't miss a thing.