The End of the WorldWilliam Ames (1576-1633) - One of the Greatest Theological Puritans and Writers
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“The first act of religion, therefore, concerns those things which are communicated to us from God. The other concerns those things which we yield to God.”
Are you ready for the END? what will transpire at that time? What will happen to you? How does judgment work for a Christian who is already forgiven?
1. So far we have considered the administration of the covenant before the end of the world. In that end, the application which has only been begun in this life will be perfected.
2. Then the end of calling will be reached by all who are called, for we are called to the eternal glory of God, 1 Peter 5:10. In this the end of faith, or the salvation of souls, is also said to be contained, 1 Peter 1:9.
3. That declaration of justification and redemption which is shown in their effects will then be completed; in this life the faithful are said only to await redemption, Luke 21:18; Rom. 8:23; Eph. 1:14.
4. Then all the adopted will enter into the possession of their inheritance; in this sense the faithful in this life are said to wait for adoption, Rom. 8:23.
5. Then the image of God will be perfected in all the sanctified. Eph. 5:27, That he might present the church to himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without fault.
6. Then finally the glory and blessedness hoped for will shine forth in all fullness, not only in the soul but also in the very body. Phil. 3:21, He shall transfigure our humble body that it may be made conformable to his glorious body.
7. Because the state of the church then will be one of perfection and not of edification, the ministry, sacraments, and discipline together with the instituted churches themselves will cease, and the mystical church will remain in immediate communion with God.
8. Hence the end of the world should be awaited with all longing by all believers. Phil. 3:20; Titus 2:13, We expect the savior, Jesus Christ. Expecting that blessed hope and that glorious coming of the glory of the great Cod and our savior.
9. This final perfection of administration requires the coming and personal presence of Christ himself, Acts 10:42.
10. The second coming of Christ will be like the first in that it shall be real, visible, and apparent. Acts 1:11. But it will be dissimilar in that: First, it will be attended with greatest glory and power. Matt. 24:30; Titus 2:13; second, it will dispense the greatest terror among the ungodly and the greatest joy among the godly, 2 Thess. 1:7-10.
11. Two events, the resurrection and the last judgment, will finally distinguish between the godly and the ungodly, 2 Cor. 5:10.
12. Resurrection relates to what has fallen. Because man fell from life by the separation of soul from body, it is necessary for his rising again that the same soul be reunited to the same body and that the same man exist in the restored union of the two.
13. That such a resurrection is possible for God appears from the fact that the restoration of a man requires no more power than was manifested in his first creation. Phil. 3:21, According to that effectual power whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.
14. That the resurrection will actually come about cannot be surely demonstrated by any natural reason, a priori or a posteriori it is properly a matter of faith.
15. Neither the nature of the soul nor of the body can be the cause of resurrection, for the forming again and raising of the body out of dust is against the accustomed course of nature, for when nature is completely destroyed it is not wont to be restored. The inseparable union of the soul with the body by which man becomes immortal is beyond the powers of nature.
16. Therefore, the raising of the dead properly belongs to Christ, (eanthropos), the God-man. The operating principle is Christ’s divine omnipotence by which it may be easily accomplished, even in an instant.
17. The role of the angels will not properly be to raise the dead, but to gather the parts to be raised and to assemble the saints when raised.
18. Although all will be raised by Christ, it will not all happen in one and the same way. The resurrection of the faithful is to life and is accomplished by virtue of the union which they have with Christ who is their life (Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:14) and by the operation of his quickening Spirit which lives in them. Rom. 8:11, He . . . shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit dwelling in you. But the resurrection of the others is through that power of Christ by which he will execute avenging justice.
19. Therefore, the resurrection of the faithful is from the life of Christ as the beginning of their own life as the fruit and effect. It is, therefore, called the resurrection of life. The raising up of the others is from the sentence of death and condemnation, which leads to true death and condemnation, and is, therefore, called the resurrection of condemnation, John 5:28, 29.
20. The last judgment is exercised by Christ as king, for the power of judging is part of the office of a king.
21. For the faithful, it comes from grace and is a function of the kingship of grace essential in Christ the mediator. For the ungodly it
is, strictly speaking, a function only of power and dominion, granted by the Father for a certain perfection of mediation, but not essential to it.
22. The sins of the faithful will not come into judgment. In this life they are covered and taken away by the sentence of justification; the last judgment will be a confirmation and manifestation of that sentence. It would not be right that they should again be brought to light.
23. The place of this judgment will be in the air, 1 Thess. 4:17.
24. The day and year of it is not revealed in Scripture and, therefore, cannot be fixed by men.
25. The sentence, to be carried out immediately, will be to eternal life or death, according to the works that have preceded.
26. The sentence to life for the elect will be given according to their works, not as meritorious causes but as effects testifying to the true causes.
27. The sentence to death for reprobates will be given according to their works as true causes.
28. Christ, (theanthropos), the God-man, is the judgea deputy, as it werebut because of his divine authority and power, upon which depends the strength of the sentence, he is the principal judge.
29. The faithful will also judge with Christ, assisting not consulting, approving by their judgment and will as well as by a comparison of their life and works.
30. Judgment will be rendered not only on wicked men but also on evil angels. The raising up and judging of wicked men by Christ no more argues the universal redemption of such men than it does that of devils.
31. The fire that is destined to purge and renew the world will not precede the judgment but shall follow.
32. Purgatory is no more necessary before the day of judgment than after. Since, by confession of the papists themselves, it will not exist afterwards, it does not exist before.
33. The elements will not be taken away, but changed.
34. After the day of judgment Christ will remain king and mediator forever.