Who Can Stand?

But who can endure the day of his coming?
Who can stand when he appears?
For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.
Malachi 3:2

Misperceptions about judgment day swirl around freely these days. In sixth grade a friend told me he hoped his name would be in the Book of Life and I barely slept for weeks, fearful of whether my own name was in God’s eternal ledger. Meanwhile, many contemporary Christians wish to do away with judgment and Hell in light of our culture. Some regard these realities as harsh myths that could never be reconciled with their vision of a loving God.

Both viewpoints hide a kernel of truth, but taken on their face have done gross injustice to the truth about final judgment. No one will be able to stand when he appears, no one will be able to endure the day of his coming.

Who is this ‘he’? We know from Scripture (Matthew 25, II Timothy 4 are but several examples) that Christ is the one who returns to judge as the one who has already been judged. God said the final ‘yes’ to humanity in Christ, yet still says no sin. Though we will never be rid of sin in this life, we cannot keep up the act of deciding for both God and sin.

During this Lenten season we bury ourselves only into Christ, knowing he alone can mediate as the one who took the fullness of God’s judgment…and knowing he alone acts as the one who can lead into a new creation. ~Ben Gibson

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