It would be good for us to begin with John 3:18 which says, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been JUDGED ALREADY, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (NASB). Those who have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior are already under the judgment of God. They are CONDEMNED. They are JUDGED. John 3:36 goes on to say, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDES ON HIM.” Those who refuse Christ as their savior are already under the wrath of God.

Romans 3:19 tells us clearly and plainly that the whole world stands “guilty before God.” Yet, we read in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” The Lord longs to remove the judgment that is rightly ours. He longs to give life instead of wrath. He longs to wash us “white as snow.” When we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our guilt and judgment is paid for by the death of the Lord Jesus. We read in Isaiah 53:6, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” When we trust Christ, we are made new. All our sins and iniquity are put upon the Lord Jesus. We are no longer under the judgment of God! “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Hebrews 9:27 tells us, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” While the first part of this verse is true for every person who has ever lived, the second part of this verse refers only to unbelievers; those who have died without knowing Christ as their savior. The Lord assures us in John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and DOES NOT COME INTO JUDGMENT, but has passed out of death into life.” We also read in Romans 8:1, “Therefore there is now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus.” True believers on the Lord Jesus DO NOT face the judgment of God.

The unbeliever has the wrath of God abiding on him. He is judged guilty! If he dies in his sins, he is judged and his eternal dwelling placed is determined…never to be changed. The Lord Jesus said of the unsaved in Matthew 25:46, “These will go away into eternal punishment.” There is a FINAL judgment that those who reject Christ will face. We read in Revelation 20:11-15, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” This is the FINAL judgment for those who are lost. Cast into the lake of fire (Hell), there to be tormented for eternity. My friend, do not let this happen to you! If you have never accepted Christ as your savior, receive Him today while there is still time.

For more on the state of the unbeliever after death but before the final judgment, please click on this AFTB link: (318.6)