"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what...?" 1 Pet. 4:17.
In the popular mind the day of judgment is after the end of the Gospel dispensation. As regards the world, so it is; but as regards the church, as quoted above, it is now, in the present time, and has been all through the dispensation.
Of the christian who has seen God's truth clearly, we may say, in the words of another, written many years ago, "He is now on trial, as the investigating judgment is in actual session at this moment, and every individual [Christian] during his life is on trial before God, the righteous "Judge of all the earth;" and each one is, day by day, not only at the bar of the investigating judgment, but is himself the witness, for or against himself, and is every hour giving testimony on which the judge decides the case. Solemn thought! And here let it be remembered that "God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil." How solemn the consideration that each one of us is, every hour, testifying before Jehovah's court for or against ourselves! Every word we utter is a part of our testimony; every act of our lives is but our own testimony in our own case; every temper of mind indulged or cultivated goes to make up the chain of testimony, and all our motives in life are so many links in the chain. What a life we are then living! Always in court—always on trial—always giving evidence by which the Judge is to decide."
What an awful thought! Thank God we are not standing in the filth and rags of our own righteousness under the searching gaze of the All-seeing One. We have a friend at court who has thrown his own royal mantle over us. We have an Advocate, too—an intercessor at the throne of justice. Besides all this, the Judge himself is "Our Father;" and "as a father has compassion on his children, Jehovah has compassion on them that fear him.