XIII. Whether the last judgment may be desired.

The final judgment should be anxiously looked for, because there will then be a separation between the righteous and the wicked, which the godly earnestly desire: for they continually exclaim with Paul, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death.” “I desire to depart and to be with Christ.” (Rom. 7:24. Phil. 1:23.) The Holy Spirit works this desire in their hearts, so that they say with the Spirit and the bride, come Lord Jesus; and let him that heareth say come. The wicked, on the other hand, fear and tremble at the mention of this judgment. Denn es bienet ibnen nicht in ihrer Ruhe, This is a certain sign of ungodliness; for how can any one say, Come, if he is not a member of the church and has not the Spirit of Christ, who inspires this language in the godly.

What then does this article mean; believe in Christ who shall come to judge the quick and the dead? It means, I believe:

1. That Christ shall certainly come, and that at his second coming there will be a renewing of heaven and earth.

2. That the very same Christ shall come who suffered, died, and rose again for us.

3. That he shall come visibly and gloriously to deliver his church, of which I am a member.

4. That he shall come to cast the wicked into everlasting punishment. From these considerations we obtain strong and solid comfort; for seeing that heaven and earth shall be made new, we have this confidence that our condition will hereafter be different and better than it now is: seeing that Christ shall come, we have the assurance that our judge will be gracious; for it will be the very same person who has merited for us righteousness, and who is our brother, redeemer and defender: seeing that he shall come gloriously we believe that he will pass a righteous sentence, and will have sufficient power to deliver us: seeing that he shall come to liberate his church we look for him with joy: seeing that he shall come to cast the wicked into everlasting punishment, we patiently bear with their opposition and tyranny; and finally, seeing that he will deliver the righteous and reject the wicked, he will also either deliver or reject us; and hence there is a necessity that we should repent, be thankful, and avoid carnal security, that we may be included in the number of those whom he will deliver.