Judgment and Grace:
That for Which Preparation is Made, or,
the Why of Life
Soul, Death, & Grace Chapter 9
REWARDS? OR DOES IT MATTER
WHAT I DO WITH MY SOUL?
In the materials examined already we observed that the principle expressed under the formula “I am my brother’s keeper” was intrinsically connected to the teaching about the soul and its nature.
We also found that the soul treated by grace has eternal life, which eternal life guarantees it immortality by enabling it to respond to the call to resurrection and continuity of participation in the future happiness, while for the soul not grace-treated there is no such ability.
The question that now presses to the front is, when man is conceived of as having a soul that is dependent for its actual state of functioning on something other than its natural state, life choices for example being part of that determining factor, if no choices are made that result in the acquirement of life by the soul, is that lack without consequences?
Does the soul that has not surrounded itself with a grace-atmosphere to communicate to those around it, at death go to the grave without an attached element of accountability and responsibility?
If the grace-absent soul is to be conceived of as having an accountability, how is that accountability to be pictured or realized?
It is immediately obvious of course, that some acts in life when done bring an almost immediate result, but what of those other acts—the not so obviously-rewarded acts – both good and bad?
To put the question differently, do grace remade souls have an accountability-reward, happy resurrection and re-association with past friends and family, while grace-absent souls have no future accountability to even those whom they influenced in life by their life-acts and un-grace atmosphere to neglect to acquire grace and a future of protection in death and a resurrection happiness?
Are only the grace-remade their brother’s keeper?
It seems obvious that everyone senses a need for accountability to be attached to all, but how would that responsibility be conceived of as breaking into reality? What might it look like?
Again we turn to our research. Our issue—we life, we die, so what?
“When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another.” Thus Christ on the Mount of Olives pictured to His disciples the scene of the great judgment day. And He represented its decision as turning upon one point. When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and the suffering.” DA, p. 637.
“Oh, what rays of softness and beauty shown forth in the daily life of our Savior! What sweetness flowed from His very presence! The same spirit will be revealed in His children. Those with whom Christ dwells will be surrounded with a divine atmosphere. Their white robes of purity will be fragrant with perfume from the garden of the Lord. Their faces will reflect light from His, brightening the path for stumbling and weary feet.” MB, p. 135.
“Every individual has a soul to save or lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face.” GC, p. 488.
“The good tree will produce good fruit. If the fruit is unpalatable and worthless, the tree is evil. So the fruit borne in the life testifies as to the condition of the heart and the excellence of the character. Good works can never purchase salvation, but they are an evidence of the faith that acts by love and purifies the soul. And though the eternal reward is not bestowed because of our merit, yet it will be in proportion to the work that has been done through the grace of Christ.” DA, p. 314.
“The hour is coming,’ Christ said, ‘in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.’ That voice is to resound through all the habitations of the dead; and every saint who sleeps in Jesus will awake and leave his prison-house. Then the virtue of character we have received from Christ’s righteousness will ally us to true greatness of the highest order. Every action of ours in befriending God’s people will be rewarded as done unto himself.”
“In the day of final reckoning, Christ does not present before men the great work he has done for them in giving his life for their redemption. He presents before them the faithful work they have done for him. What surpassing love is this! He even mentions the work of the heathen, who have no intelligent knowledge of the law of the Lord, but who has done the very things the law required, because they have heeded the voice speaking to them in the things of nature. When the Holy Spirit implants Christ’s Spirit in the heart of the savage, he befriends God’s servants, the quickening of the heart’s sympathy is contrary to his nature, contrary to his education. The grace of God working upon the darkened mind, has softened the savage nature untaught by the wisdom of men. And these uneducated heath, in all their cruelty, are regarded in a more favorable light then are those who have had great light and evidence, but who have rejected the mercy and reproof of God.
“Christ implants his grace in the heart of the savage, and ministers to the necessity of the missionary, even before he has heard or comprehended the words of truth and life. Behold that crowd collected about God’s servants to harm him! But the Lord is working upon the heart and mind of perhaps one man to plead in behalf of his servant; and when the war council has determined the destruction of the Christian’s life, the intercession of that savage turns the decision, and his life is spared. O, the love that goes forth to the savage for this one act! To such Christ says, in the Judgment: … ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” 3 RH, p. 607. Cf. COL, p. 385.
But “those on the left hand of Christ, those who had neglected Him in the person of the poor and the suffering, were unconscious of their guilt…. They had been self-absorbed, and cared not for others’ needs….” DA, p. 639.
“If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? And He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? And shall not He render to every man according to his works?” Prov. 24:11, 12. In the great judgment day, those who have not worked for Christ, who have drifted along thinking of themselves, caring for themselves, will be placed by the Judge of the whole earth with those who did evil. They receive the same condemnation.” Ibid., p. 641.