†he Burros of Berea

The General Judgment and The Gospel

“They show that the work of the law is u written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men y by Christ Jesus” (Romans 2:15-16 ESV).


Recently, the attempt is being made to make the final judgment a part of the Gospel, based on Romans 2:16. And then the leap is made that those who deny a future, general judgment are preaching “another Gospel.”


But Paul specifies exactly what the Gospel is: “Now I make known to you, brothers and sisters, the gospel…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).


Paul unequivocally defines “the Gospel” in no uncertain terms. According to Paul: The Gospel = The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less. If Paul had wanted to add more terms and conditions to it, this would have been the place to do it. He didn’t.


Regarding Romans 2:16, κατά (kata) simply indicates that the idea of judgment is “in accordance with” (BDAG, p. 454) the Gospel and not contrary to it. Also, the present tense, “God judges (Θεὸς κρίνει),” seems like an odd way to refer to the final judgment and could simply mean that God’s judgment of men’s secrets can occur any day at any time. True then. True now. Who denies this?


Nonetheless, Preterists don’t deny that there was a judgment to take place right there and then in the immediate future (1 Pt. 4:5; Js. 4:5). And no Preterist denies that “after death comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27). So, the general judgment of those who were in Hades took place and, from that time on, judgment still follows death but its immediate –no waiting in Hades.


And isn’t this exactly what futurists also believe? Don’t people go to Heaven or Hell when they die? If so, they’re “judged” immediately.  For those who don’t believe in Hell, annihilation would qualify as a “judgment” as well. If our eternal destinies are already determined when we leave this world, exactly what “judgment” are these guys waiting for? Wouldn’t that be like “double-jeopardy”?  Being tried twice?