Judgment Day is coming. It is! You can’t escape it. One day it will be here, and then what? What ever will you do? What will you hear? How can you stand? What will the Judge say when you stand before Him on that day? You know, don’t you? What you’ve done, haven’t done; said, haven’t said; even what you’ve thought. All of it condemns you. There’s no escaping it. There’s no putting your head in the sand like there’s no Last Day—as if not thinking about it means it won’t come. But it will. It’s inevitable.
Yes, there is a Last Day—a day not when all good things come to an end, but a day when all evil, wicked, and sinful things, and when all sinners will come to an end. That end is the second death—eternity in hell. When will that day be? “Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32 NKJV) So what will you do? How can you prepare for something that’s coming at an unknown time—a time even Jesus doesn’t know?
Well, that’s the rub of it, isn’t it? What to do? People out in the world—and we do it, too—think that if there’s a Last Day coming when all people will be judged, then they need to get some good to balance out the bad. If we’re kind enough, then God might be merciful, which might mean He’ll give us a pass on our misdeeds because of our good deeds. This sort of thinking pops up when we think, “Well, I’m not that bad of a person.” “I’m not as bad as she is.” “At least I don’t do what he’s doing.” We treat God on Judgment Day as if He were a bear: You don’t have to outrun the bear, just run faster than the other guy! “I don’t have to be perfect. I just need to be better than you, and thank God I am!” But no one else will be there with you when you stand before God’s throne. Each person will face the Judgment Seat of God. So what are you doing to prepare?
Repent of such a thought! That’s not how Judgment Day works at all! You don’t get yourself ready for Judgment Day. Jesus gets you ready for that Last and Final Day. What else is there for you to do for Judgment Day that Jesus hasn’t already done? Answer: Nothing! That’s right. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Zilch. Jesus’ Word from Calvary rings true, not only then, but now, and even forever and ever. “Tetelestai! It is finished!” The holy, precious blood and the innocent suffering and death of Christ cleanses us from all sins. There isn’t a single sin that He hasn’t paid for. Jesus finished it all. He drank the cup of the Father’s wrath for sin and every sinner down to the dregs. There’s nothing unfinished. That’s why Jesus said, “It is finished!”
Yes, it’s all finished. Good Friday became Judgment Day—God’s wrath satisfied. Jesus’ work is finished and complete, but now He’s about the business of delivering it. In delivering it, Jesus gets you ready for Judgment Day.
How can you stand on that great day? You shall boldly stand “on that great day, Cleansed and redeemed, no debt to pay.” (“Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness” LSB 563:2) Jesus gave you this in the waters of your Baptism. He washed your sins away that day. His death and resurrection are yours. You’re justified, “declared innocent” in Him. That’s what your Holy Baptism delivers as Paul says, “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5–7 NIV).
What will you hear on that day? You will hear Jesus say what He’s been saying your whole life and what He said from the cross on Good Friday: Not only “It is finished!” but also, “Father, forgive them.” And Jesus doesn’t just say this from His cross. He says this to you, too. He says, “I forgive you all your sins.” He sent His preachers, His pastors to say that very thing. He said to them, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you…Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you retain them, they are retained.” (John 20:21–23 NKJV) What your pastor says to you, you will hear again. How can you not? The very one who will be your Judge on that Day is the one who was crucified and raised, who sent your pastor to say, “Your sins are all forgiven you.”
What will you do on that day? Well, Judgement Day isn’t a scary day for you, dear Christian. No, not one bit! It’s party day! It’s the wedding party of the Lamb which has no end. You’ve feasted on the flesh and blood of that Lamb in His Supper. Through giving those to you to eat and drink Jesus is getting you ready for the eternal party by forgiving your sins, giving you new life, and awarding eternal salvation. All that is yours. He dwells in you and you in Him by the eating and the drinking of His Body and Blood. Now that you’re in Him, you won’t be locked out of the party. You’ll get to celebrate with Jesus forever.
Judgment Day is coming. It is! You can’t escape it. Yes, there is a Last Day—a day when all good things will continue and begin for you, dear Christian. There’s nothing you have to do. Jesus has already done it all. “Tetelestai! It is finished!” He delivers the benefits of His cross and empty tomb to you. So? Well, that means you receive the benefits of Judgment Day beforehand! You have a clean garment for Judgment Day, with Christ’s righteousness splashed over your forehead at the font. You’ve already had the judgment ring in your ears—“I forgive you all your sins.” You’re ready for Party Day. You’ve already feasted on Jesus’ Body and Blood!
Eternal life awaits you on the Last Day because of Jesus—what He’s done and delivered to you. You’re ready. You have to be! Jesus your Judge, your Savior made sure of that on Good Friday and every day thereafter!