The Judgment to Come

by Scarlett Stough


God revealed his name to Moses:

The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation (Exodus 34:6-7.)”

We like his name, at least until we get to the part about punishment. What does he mean by punishing children and grandchildren for the sins of the fathers? Isn’t that a bit harsh? Isn’t it unfair (Ezekiel 18:25?)

God made it clear through the prophet Ezekiel that the “soul who sins is the one who will die (Ezekiel 18:4.)” The problem we have is that all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Matthew 25:31-46; II Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15.)

When the apostle Paul spoke to Felix about faith in Christ Jesus, he included the topics of “righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come” which caused Felix to be afraid (Acts 24:24-27.) Fear is a reasonable reaction in a guilty man.

The writer of Hebrews warns: “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31.) God is the Judge no one can escape because he knows all we are, all we think, all we feel, and all we have ever done or are planning to do. We can not escape his jurisdiction, because he rules everywhere. He has promised he will not leave the guilty unpunished. The victims of crimes will have justice. God will see to it.

On the other hand, what if you want to turn your life around, what hope is there for a fresh start?

There is hope for a pardon and a fresh start (John 3:13-21; Romans 8:1-4), but there is also a deadline (Hebrews 9:27-28.) For those who love and practice evil, judgment is coming and punishment (Revelation 21:6-8.) God will not be fooled by words of faith that lack the heart of faith (Matthew 7:15-27; James 2:14-26.)

The subject of judgment is too broad and deep to cover all aspects thoroughly in one brief commentary and Bible study guide. There is material in the Bible to fill volumes on the topic. But the truth is simple: Humans are guilty of breaking the law of God--every person to one degree or another. Every person will have to give an account of his actions in this life to the Judge of all the earth. He is the Supreme Court of the Universe. His word is final. Now is the time to fall on the mercy of that Court.

Editor’s Note: See also Deborah, Judge, Vol. 1, Issue 9

Bible Study Guide: He Does Not Leave the Guilty Unpunished

Volume 10 Issue 1 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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