In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge. 2 Timothy 4:1 (NIV).
One of my favorite movies is “Independence Day.” The original; not so much the sequel. In the first movie, Will Smith gives Jeff Goldblum a cigar before they attack the alien mother ship. “This is important,” Will says. “This is our victory dance.” Goldblum sort of shrugs it off and they get about their business of saving the planet.
“This is important.” Will Smith was paraphrasing the Apostle Paul in verse 1. Paul’s formal language invoked the presence of Christ Jesus, complete with the reminder of Christ’ eternal vocation and prophecy. It’s an attention-getter.
“Listen up, Timothy. This is important.”
One day we will each stand in the physical presence of the Lord Jesus. We will stand before Him and we will plainly see Him without the veil of sin covering our eyes. We will see Him as He is in glory and splendor and awe-inspiring power.
Pay attention; this is important. (At least) Three things are easily predictable about that moment. One, Jesus will be all powerful. Two, we’ll each know that and be awe-struck by it. And, three, what we believed about Him in this life will matter because it’ll determine how we’ll feel in that moment. For the believer, it’ll be the summation of life, the moment of deepest faith, knowing without a human doubt that all your faith was true. It’ll be the moment we long for, wait for. We don’t and won’t fear it, but we’ll likely be overwhelmed by it, feeling the depths of our souls filled for the first time we can remember by being in the presence of the One who makes them complete. It’ll be the ultimate victory dance.
And if you don’t believe in Jesus? You’ll likely feel a different kind of overwhelming. It will be a moment of unimaginable dread. I wish it wasn’t true but it is. God and Christ Jesus, who offer you Their Holy Spirit now to fill you with His peace, will judge the living and the dead. In the climax of human history, God will judge each of us according to what we believed about Him. Did we put our faith in Him and let Him use us for the glory of the Kingdom? Or did we reject Him, believing we could do better ourselves. Did we focus our hearts on the Creator or the created? In that last judgment, God Himself will be saving the universe He created. He will be restoring all things to their Edenic perfection.
If you don’t put your faith in Jesus here, when that moment comes, you’ll be judged.
This is important.
For further reading: Acts 10:42, 1 Timothy 6:14, 2 Timothy 4:1-2.
Lord, I hear You because it’s important. Fill me with Your love and peace so I can share them.