Judgment – sinners ridicule the very word. They tell us we cannot judge them for their sin and condemn us for being ‘judgmental.’ Yet every day these same sinners judge outer appearances. At fashion and award shows and event premieres, they judge how people choose to dress the body. The world chases cheap externals like youth, health, and beauty. It doesn’t value priceless internals like wisdom, courage, and goodness. The world chases the visible (the body, nature) and throws the invisible away (unborn, soul).
The ways of the world are exactly what Jesus told people not to do: “Do not judge according to appearance but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). His words echo what God told Samuel a thousand years earlier: “Man sees the outer appearance but God sees the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). In other words, we must judge only motives (the heart) and deeds – sin included.
The world has cast off shame and guilt for its sins. If there is one thing this sinful world hates today, it is judgment. Yet judgment is just what the world deserves and what it will justly receive during the Great Tribulation, Second Coming, and Great White Throne Judgment. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ judged – condemned – the world and Satan its prince.
Yes, Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17). However, unbelievers (sinners) are condemned already because of their unbelief (3:18). They have rejected the spiritual perfection and light of Christ, while embracing the spiritual imperfection and darkness of themselves, i.e. the world. “This is the condemnation: light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light” (3:19). Without Christ, they will be justly judged in eternal fire.
Jesus alone is perfect. He alone meets the Father’s standard of righteousness because he is righteous. The world without Christ is imperfect, unrighteous, unholy, and ungrateful. They are unworthy of the saints (Hebrews 11:38). Noah condemned the world by building an ark (11:7). Christian, do not fear the world’s wrath when you condemn it through your righteous deeds. The world is already judged. It will soon receive the full measure of God’s righteous wrath.
Some Christians like to say that the world is not the enemy. Satan is. But this is false. For his purposes, God has let Satan be the temporary ruler of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). That includes the sinners in it. The world is made up of people and they are not neutral. Through their willful disobedience to God, they have made themselves his enemies rather than his friends – and therefore the friends of Satan. The world hates Jesus (John 15:8). There is no neutrality in this fight between heaven and earth, God and Satan. Those who choose themselves or a false God, anyone but Jesus Christ, as the ruler of their souls are the enemy.
Every person who has ever been born since the resurrection of Christ 2,000 years ago now sits under the wrath of God’s judgment. They are living on borrowed time and can die at any moment, with no guarantee of the next day or minute. If they die, they will immediately and justly enter hell for eternity because they have no excuse for their sin. The only payment is the atoning blood of Jesus and they refused it through willful disobedience.
In the end, it will not matter if sinners never heard the name of Jesus or the story of his sacrifice. General revelation condemns them: “The heavens declare the glory of God. … There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard” (Psalm 19:1, 3). So does their conscience (Romans 2:15). Those who have heard the name and story of Jesus – and refused to receive him – will receive even worse punishment for their sin. The ignorant will be beaten with few stripes, the knowledgeable with many (Luke 12:47-48).
You may say, “Wait a minute. That isn’t fair!” Oh, but it is fair. God says that only doers of the law are justified when they obey the law written on their hearts, using their consciences to accuse or excuse themselves (Romans 2:13-15). Hearers have no justification at all. Why? Regardless of access to special revelation (Bible), everyone has general revelation: nature and the conscience.
A heathen in Africa or Europe who obeys God’s moral law is better off than an unbelieving Jew who hears the story of Passover every spring or an unbelieving churchgoer who hears the story of Jesus every Sunday. The heathen person still needs to believe in Jesus to be saved and enter heaven, but his eternal punishment will be less severe. Hearing the law but not obeying it, or hearing about Jesus but not believing in him, is worse than not having heard at all.
All those who die without Christ in the heart and His blood on the soul will receive God’s righteous judgment – eternity in hell. Only the path of conversion – confession, repentance, and submission to Christ as Lord – will make a sinner the friend of God, and therefore ours. When an unbeliever turns to Jesus, he turns his back on the world. This is just condemnation, a foretaste of the future. Final condemnation will come when Jesus returns and destroys the world in fire.
Reader, if you’re a Christian, then take up the fight. Through your words and deeds, condemn the world. By doing so, you will have saved your soul. If you’re a sinner, your words and deeds condemn you. You have chosen self over Christ, darkness over light. You are not neutral but guilty. Not having heard of Jesus cannot save you. Nature and your conscience will judge you. Repent and turn to Jesus. Only then will you escape God’s righteous judgment of the world.