Pictet On The State Of Believers In The Judgment

The passing of sentence will take place after the trial of the cause; first, the sentence of acquittal, then that of condemnation; the Judge will begin with the former, to show that he is more willing to pardon than to punish; and to the greater joy of the faithful, and to the greater sorrow of the wicked. It might appear strange to some, that Christ, in describing the kind of judgment which he will exercise at the last day, does not mention any works, except works of mercy towards himself, whereas neither the performance of them can be ascribed to, nor the neglect of them be charged upon, vast numbers of persons who have never heard of Christ; but it has been justly observed, that these are only brought forward by Christ by way of specimen or example, as some good works out of many. There is a question also raised, as to whether the sins of the righteous, as well as of the wicked, will be brought forth to view? We do not think they will; first, because, if they were, it would turn to the confusion of the righteous, who are surely not then to be confounded: again, because the free mercy of Christ will not remember the offences of believers; nor is it likely, that Christ will reproach his own members with their iniquities.

—Benedict Picket (1655–1724), Christian Theology, trans. Frederick Reyroux (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, n.d.), 358.

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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One comment

  1. Fesko: “Resurrection is coterminous with glorification for some whereas judgment is coeval with resurrection for others. We find this same pattern in Christ’s teaching on the resurrection: “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29; cf. Luke 14:14).

    Not only have the blessings of the age to come been revealed but so have the curses. Paul echoes the teaching of Christ when he notes that the propagation of the gospel has a twofold effect: salvation and judgment (2 Cor. 2:16-17). “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18).

    Jesus already says: “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out”(John 12:31). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Rom. 1:18).

    The resurrection is not the penultimate step before the final judgment but instead is the final judgment in that it visibly reveals what has come with the first advent of Christ: the righteous are instantaneously clothed in immortality, they receive a glorified body, and the wicked are raised but are naked, they are not glorified. God need not utter a word; the condemned status of the wicked is immediately evident as is the justified status of the righteous.”

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