"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path". Ps 119:105
WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE TO DIVINE JUDGEMENT?
Will every single person who has ever lived be called to face judgement? The answer is plainly no. God is not unjust, how could those who have never had opportunity to hear the Gospel message be asked to give an account as to why they have never obeyed it's message? Their state is as Paul says "remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world." Eph 2:12
The great majority of men have never heard the gospel and are not therefore held responsible to the judgement seat of Christ at his return. The scriptures clearly teach that those who have died in ignorance will not be raised. Those who are living at the time when Jesus returns will not be summoned to his judgement seat.
"O Lord our God, other Lord's beside thee have had dominion over us but........ they are dead, they shall not live, they are deceased, they shall not rise. Therefore thou hast visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish." Isaiah 26v13-14
We can also read in proverbs:
also Paul writes:
"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:" Ephesians 4v17-18
So we see that there is a class of people who will die as all men do and remain in the grave, never to rise.
See also Psalm 49v20; Isaiah 43v17
But who will be responsible to judgement? Well scripture speaks of two other classes of people and what would happen to them. Paul when making his defense before the Roman governor said "there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." Acts 24v15 So these two classes responsible to judgement are defined as the just and the unjust.
Now Daniel prophesied:
"And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Daniel 12v2
Again two classes of people are mentioned, those who are acceptable to God and those who are not. Thus those who have been baptised will be called to give an account of their lives and those who have heard God's gracious offer of life, and knew they should have submitted to it, but have not, will be gathered to the Judgement Seat of Christ. But they will not be the only ones. There will be men and women who lived before the times of Jesus; who had accepted the covenants of promise to Abraham. They also will be called before Christ's judgement seat, to account for what they have done about the gospel message, the "pearl of great price". Those who have been unfaithful will be at the Judgement Seat, with those who have tried to live up to the example of Jesus' perfect life. Hebrews 10: 26-27 warns us:
"For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."
Jesus himself tells us: "Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:33).
So we have here the two classes of people mentioned - the just and the unjust. Those who have obeyed the Gospel message and those who have wilfully rejected it.
God must be obeyed
A clear principle is established in scripture, God is very merciful and forgiving, but will be obeyed. We cannot choose our own path to salvation we must follow the way God decrees. When King David was established on his throne, he decided to bring the Ark of God from Kirjath-Jearim, where it had been for some time, to his capital city, Jerusalem. A new cart was made, to be pulled by oxen. When all was ready, the priests of God walked beside the ark as it went on its way. But at one point, the oxen stumbled, and a man called Uzzah put out his hand to hold the ark and steady it. The result:
"God smote him there for his error; and there he died" (2 Samuel 6: 7)
Why? All Uzzah had done was to steady the Ark of God. Well, God had said quite plainly as recorded in the book of Numbers, that His ark must always be carried by the priests on their shoulders. So either Uzzah did not know God's commandment, or he did not choose to obey it. In either case, he was guilty before God.
This account is a lesson to us that God is holy and great. His word is law and he rightly demands obedience from those who serve Him.
Men who despise God's love
Jesus once told a parable about a king who made a marriage feast for his son. When the feast was ready he sent his servants to call the guests; but those guests refused to go! They preferred to get on with their own everyday affairs rather than obey the king's summons to the wedding. The king was angry, and sent his servants to destroy the men who had despised his invitation (Matthew 22v1-14).
God is a great King. If He has graciously invited a man or woman to share in the joys of His kingdom on earth, if any person deliberately says, "I do not want what God is offering me, and I will not obey Him" - then there will come a time of judgement, and that person will be condemned. As we read in Galatians 6v7 "God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Further prophesies concerning responsibility to judgement to consider:
Job 10v19; Psalm 50v4-5; proverbs 14v12; Jeremiah 51v9&57; Romans 12v12; 14v10-12; Ephesians 2v12; 2Thessalonians 2v11