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New City Catechism Question 28

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Question: What happens after death to those not united to Christ by faith?

Answer: At the day of judgment they will receive the fearful but just sentence of condemnation pronounced against them. They will be cast out from the favorable presence of God, into hell, to be justly and grievously punished, forever.

This is not a question we like to ask ourselves. It causes us to tremble. All of us as believers were at one point in this same predicament. A just sentence is pronounced against us for our open rebellion against God, eternal separation from him into hellfire and damnation. Thanks be to God that this sentence can be pardoned through Jesus Christ and his work on the cross, which we have studied about in recent weeks.

Our hearts should grieve for the lost among us who have not made this confession. Maybe you are reading this yourself and know you have not placed your trust in the one who is holy and executes righteous judgment. We know God is love, but that is one of his many characteristics. He is holy (set apart), just, and righteous. We as mankind are not righteous and deserve his just sentence. Listen however to John 3:16-18 and verse 36:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. . . . Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

What a great truth! God did not leave us hopeless and destined for our judgment. He gave his one and only Son to offer the hope of eternal life. There is hope, but it must be placed in the one and only way for salvation, Jesus Christ. Have you placed your faith in him? If you have questions about salvation, feel free to reach out to us on our website or via email.