We're happy to think of God being good and holy and His being a God of love and mercy and grace and truth. We like it that He is faithful and righteous, and if we don't think too much about the implications we feel pretty good about His being a God of commitment. His being a just God makes us a little uneasy since being just means that He is a God of justice; we want mercy and grace, not justice. If God being just gives us some twinges of discomfort, His being a God of judgment really sets off alarms.
Judgment means accountability, and accountability means responsibility. God created us in His image, unique from everything else in this world, a tremendous blessing. He holds us responsible for living up to that blessing as best we can. The day of judgment will be a day on which God will call us to account for how we have lived up to the responsibility of being created in His image, beings with a spiritual essence and identity.
Many people automatically equate judgment with punishment, especially in regards to the final day of judgment. However, that day will hold punishment only for those who have not lived up to their responsibility, those who have lived unfaithfully before God. For the faithful the day of judgment will hold reward - eternal life!
The problem is that most people don't live faithful to God's teachings, and most of them know it deep down, if they'd admit it. In the face of that reality most people, knowing they've not lived up to their responsibility, don't want to be held accountable.
But there will be a final day of judgment, that day is already set by God, and everybody from all time will be present on that day. The fact that God is a God of truth means that He is also a God of justice, and judgment is necessarily connected to justice.
God has ordained Christ to be the judge on that day, and He will be the most righteous judge before Whom any of us will ever stand. He will not be puzzled over the facts, for He will know everything about our lives. There will be no trickery, no legal maneuvering, no injustice. Truth will prevail. At the same time, while accountability will be the order of the day, we can be thankful that our judge will personify God's love and grace and mercy.
However, God is already exercising His love and grace and mercy. He has already sent His Son to the cross on our behalf. He is giving us time and opportunity right now to repent and seek His forgiveness through obedience to the gospel of our Savior. The time to take advantage of God's grace is now, while we're still alive and have time to change our lives and become faithful to His teachings. We'd better not turn our backs on God's grace now, for He will hold us accountable, and that day of judgment is coming...
Gary L. Hutchens