Quotes About the Judgment
If there's anywhere we evangelicals need to be reminded about what the Scriptures and our ancestors say, it is the final judgment. Here are quotes from throughout Church history.
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Clement of Rome, c. A.D. 96
For Lot’s wife, who went forth with him ... was made an example of, so as to be a pillar of salt to this day. This was done that all might know that those who are of a double mind and who distrust the power of God bring down judgment on themselves and become a sign to all succeeding generations. (1 Clement 11)
Having then this hope, let our souls be bound to Him who is faithful in His promises, and just in His judgments. (1 Clement 27)
Since then all things are seen and heard [by God], let us fear Him, and forsake those wicked works which proceed from evil desires;115 so that, through His mercy, we may be protected from the judgments to come. For whither can any of us flee from His mighty hand? Or what world will receive any of those who run away from Him? (1 Clement 28)
Pseudo-Barnabas, A.D. 80 - 130
The Lord will judge the world without partiality. Each will receive as he has done. If he is righteous, his righteousness will precede him; if he is wicked, the reward of wickedness is before him. Take heed, lest resting in our ease, as those who are called, we should fall asleep in our sins, and the wicked prince should acquire power over us and thrust us away from the kingdom of the Lord. (Letter of Barnabas 4)
It is good, therefore, that the one who has learned the judgments of the Lord, as many as have been written, should walk in them. For the one who keeps these shall be glorified in the kingdom of God, but he who chooses other things shall be destroyed with his works. For this reason there will be a resurrection; for this reason a retribution. (Letter of Barnabas 21)
Polycarp, c. A.D. 125
If then we entreat the Lord to forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive. For we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and "we must all appear at the judgment seat of Christ, and each one must give an account of himself" [2 Cor. 5:10].
Let us then serve him in fear and with all reverence, just as he has commanded us, along with the apostles who preached the Gospel to us and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Lord. Let us be zealous in the pursuit of that which is good, keeping ourselves from causes of offense, from false brethren, and from those who in hypocrisy bear the name of the Lord, and draw away useless men into error. (Letter to the Philippians 6)
For whoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is antichrist; whoever does not confess the testimony of the cross is of the devil; and whoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the firstborn of Satan. Therefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from the beginning. (Letter to the Philippians 7)
I exhort you, therefore, that you abstain from covetousness, and that you be chaste and truthful. "Abstain from every form of evil" [1 Thess. 5:22]. For if a man cannot govern himself in such matters, how shall he enjoin them on others? If a man does not keep himself from covetousness, he shall be defiled by idolatry, and shall be judged as one of the heathen. But who of us are ignorant of the judgment of the Lord? "Do we not know that the saints shall judge the world?" [1 Cor. 6:2], as Paul teaches. (Letter to the Philippians 11)
The proconsul said to him, "I will have you consumed by fire, since you despise the wild beasts, if you will not repent."
But Polycarp said, "You threaten me with fire which burns for an hour and soon after is extinguished, but you are ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly. But why are you waiting? Bring forth what you wish." (Martyrdom of Polycarp 11)
Theophilus, AD 168
I do not disbelieve, but I believe, obedient to God, whom, if you please, you submit to as well, believing him, so that you do not wind up continuing in unbelief, then become convinced later, when you are tormented with eternal punishments. These punishments, when they were foretold by the prophets, were stolen by later-born poets and philosophers from the holy Scriptures to make their doctrines worthy of credit. Yet these also have spoken in advance of the punishments which are to light upon the profane and unbelieving so that no one will be left without a witness or be able to say, "We have not heard, nor have we known."
But you, if you please, give reverent attention to the prophetic Scriptures, and they will make your way plainer for escaping the eternal punishments and obtaining the eternal prizes of God.
For the One who gave the mouth for speech, formed the ear to hear, and made the eye to see will examine all things and will judge righteous judgment, rendering merited awards to each. "To those who by patiently continuing to do good seek immortality, he will give life everlasting, joy, peace, rest, and abundance of good things ... But to the unbelieving and despisers, who do not obey the truth but are obedient to unrighteousness ... there shall be anger and wrath, tribulation and anguish, and at the last everlasting fire shall possess such men.
Since you said, "Show me your God," this is my God, and I counsel you to fear him and to trust him. (To Autolycus I:14)
Tertullian, c. A.D. 210
The Divine Goodness ... is now dispensed according to the deserts of every man; it is offered to the worthy, denied to the unworthy, taken away from the unthankful, and also avenged on all its enemies. Thus the entire office of justice in this respect becomes an agency for goodness: whatever it condemns by its judgment, whatever it chastises by its condemnation, whatever ... it ruthlessly pursues, it, in fact, benefits with good instead of injuring. Indeed, the fear of judgment contributes to good, not to evil. (Against Marcion II:13)