Caspar Olevianus On The State Of Believers In The Judgment

First of all, the reason for His coming to judge is a comfort to believers. The main purpose of Christ’s coming to judge is the glorification of the church. That means that when sin and death have been fully abolished, and the enemies of the kingdom of Christ have been assigned to eternal punishment by a just judgment, and thus all the offenses and obstacles that held back the glory of the sons of God have been removed, God can appear in His saints fully and perfectly glorious, without any hindrance (Eph. 5[:27]; 1 Cor. 15[:20–58]). Christ makes this reason and purpose clear to us when He calls that day the “day of redemption” [Eph. 4:30].

Second, the very person of the Judge removes all our fear. For the Father handed over all judgment to the Son as the Son of Man so that He might calm our consciences and remove all terror of condemnation (John 5:22, 27). This is because we believe now that He will be the Judge, and also because with our eyes we will gaze on Him in whose body our sins have been atoned for and the entire curse removed (Heb. 9:28; Titus 2:12–14).

Finally, Christ’s commandment and promise deliver us from all dread. The commandment is found in Luke 21[:28], “When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads,” and Matthew 24[:6]: “And it will be that you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass.” The promise is found in John 3[:18]: “He who believes in the Son is not judged or condemned.” See also John 5:24; 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 17; 5:9–10; John 17:22, 24. Indeed, let us also consider that promise in 1 Corinthians 6[:2]: “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” And a short while later [v. 3]: “Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” Surely, since all the Articles of the Faith have been handed down to us for our comfort, this article on the judgment, too, has been handed down not to shake our faith but to build it up and establish it.

—Caspar Olevianus (1536–87), An Exposition Of The Apostles’ Creed, trans. Lyle Bierma, ed. R. Scott Clark (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010).

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