This past week, America witnessed history with the Gorsuch hearings for the open seat of the United States Supreme Court. Since these justice appointments are for life, it’s not every day that we hear these conversations. Without a doubt, Judge Gorsuch faced a long, exhausting day of scrutiny. FOX News called it the “most difficult interview in the world”, and I certainly see why they diagnosed the day in that fashion. Not only did it last almost all day, not only was Gorsuch grilled for hours before he could make his own remarks, but the entire world was watching Gorsuch answer questions and face rebuttals. Regardless of our opinion of how he fared, we should all agree that any person who survives that pressure is confident and experienced.
I was only able to watch a few snippets of the hearing as I was working myself, but for some reason, what I saw made me think about the Day of Judgment.
There are a few similarities between Scripture’s scene and Washington’s scene last week. If you think about it, we don’t know exactly what God will ask us when we meet Him in the sky. We know from Scripture that we will give an account of the things we have done and the things we haven’t done (2nd Corinthians 5:10), but what exactly will God’s questions sound like? Those things that we quickly say “can’t be salvation issues” could very well be part of the conversation. At the same time, things Christians have argued about for years may not even be on God’s radar. Which is exactly why we should strive to do what the Bible says, and only what the Bible says, rather than adding in man’s traditions and preferences or taking away God’s commands and examples. Gorsuch eluded to a conservative interpretation of the law when he answered questions. One judge asked his opinion on a law, to which he responded, “Respectfully, my opinion is not under question. It’s my (judicial) job to enforce the law. It’s the legislative job to make the laws.” That’s a great rule of thumb for Christian living and conservative interpretation of Scripture. We are called to enforce and obey God’s laws in Scripture. We aren’t called to give our opinion on whether or not they make sense.
Also, from all we can tell, the Day of Judgment will be more like the first 7-8 hours of Gorsuch’s hearing. God and/or Christ will be doing most, if not all of the talking. Scripture doesn’t really describe our chance to “defend” ourselves after God makes His case. Our greatest defense will come from Jesus Christ, our “mediator”, “advocate”; even “attorney” in the loosest sense of the word (1st Timothy 2:5).
But there are some enormous differences between our hearing as Christians and that of Gorsuch as a Judge. Differences we must not forget.
One, Scripture doesn’t indicate that others will be watching or listening to our conversation with God. It’s easy to picture Judgment Day as a long line, similar to a “fan-club” waiting to see a celebrity, where each fan “steps up to the platform” and has a few minutes with the star of the hour. But I believe Scripture to teach that when we face judgment, though the entire world will be waiting to have the same conversation we’re going to have, it will be just us, God, and Jesus for the “interview”. We won’t call in other “witnesses” to testify in our behalf. We won’t be able to “plead the 5th” and refuse to answer questions. It will be one-on-one with the Almighty.
Two, we don’t know how long it will take. The committee barbecuing Gorsuch estimated 10 hours on Tuesday for Gorsuch’s hearing. For all we know, our judgment with God could last 10 minutes, 10 hours, or 10 years, as we will no longer be bound by time.
Three—most importantly, if we “fail” our interview with God, the results will be unbearable. For Gorsuch, a missed appointment to the Supreme Court will be very disappointing. Though it may not have been his “childhood dream”, he has taken every earthly step to be adequately prepared for such a position. But as Christians, if we miss heaven, we will face much more than disappointment. We will face torture. Spiritual death. Eternal separation from God.
Church, please understand that by no means am I comparing the Judicial Committee to our loving, perfect, heavenly Father. His wisdom and grace far exceed human comprehension. But there will still be judgment. We don’t know when Judgment Day will happen, but we do know that it will happen. And so it’s foolish for us to say, “You better start getting ready.” We should be saying, “You better be ready.” Are you? For judgment is coming.