Where the picture of God as a righteous, good, omnipotent Judge couldn’t be more clear.
When Ben Stein asked Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins what he’d say to God if given the opportunity–as seen in the movie Expelled–Dawkins, quoting 20th Century philosopher Bertrand Russell, replied: “I’ll ask why did he hide so well.”
At some other time and place atheist Dan Barker said: “If I face God on Judgment Day, I will tell Him to go to hell.”
More common objections to God…but no less accusatory…sound like this: “You have not done enough” or “One way to salvation is not enough.”
These objections accuse God of being narrow minded. Exclusive. Harsh.
Or, as in Barker’s case, make him out to be a laughable caricature: God as a puny man leaning away from his fury.
Finally, some people will simply plead by saying, “If I’m found guilty before God, I’ll ask him to forgive me. He’s a loving, forgiving God.”
The Problem with Statements Like These
Implicit in all these comments is the idea that God would somehow standby and allow someone to speak. Furthermore, that when in the face of God they’d EVEN be able to speak.
See, the Bible unmistakably describes God as a judge. A judge who is to be respected and feared.
In the Old Testament, God judged Adam and Eve, the corrupt world of Noah’s day, Sodom and Gomorrah, Israel’s Egyptian taskmasters and those who worshiped the golden calf.
God also judged Nadab and Abihu for illegal fire, Korah, Dathan and Abiram for rising up against Moses, Acah for sacrilegious thieving and Nebuchadnezzar and his son Belshazzar for their impiety.
Judgement Not Isolated to Old Testament
God even brought judgment on the Christians at Corinth.
The thought throughout all these Scriptures is that the Mosaic Law is handed down by a just judge who will not hesitate to swiftly, supernaturally and sovereignly punish people who break his law.
So, if that’s the case, then why do so many believers and non believers fight the thought of God as a judge to be feared? Good question.
Martin Luther said:
God is called a fire because he utterly destroys the godless and leaves them nothing; nor is there anything that can resist his wrath….The wrath of God is real, not fictitious, not a jest. If it were false, then mercy would be fictitious; for as the wrath, so the mercy which forgives…Christ most assuredly took upon Himself the wrath of God and bore it for us….God punishes in a two-fold manner. In the first place, he does so in grace, as a benevolent father; and the chastisement is temporal. In the second place, He punishes in wrath as a strict judge; and this punishment is eternal.
J I Packer said, “The entire New Testament is overshadowed by the certainty of a coming day of universal judgement and by the problem thence arising: How may sinners get right with God while there is yet time.”
In other words, the Christian view of judgment means that history moves to a goal.
The Essence of Jesus as the Judge
Not only does the New Testament look on to the Day of judgment, the day of wrath, the wrath to come, but it also proclaims Jesus, the divine Savior, as the divinely appointed Judge.
Therefore, the New Testament main authority of final judgment is Jesus Christ.
And He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. John 5:27
Jesus constantly affirmed that in the day when all appear before God’s throne to receive the abiding and eternal consequences of the life they have lived, he himself will be the father’s agent in judgement and his word of acceptance or rejection will be decisive.
In fact, the Gospels of Jesus Christ spend a good deal more space preaching judgment than they do predicting the Messiah and his kingdom.
Consider John 9:39:
And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”
This is a spiritual statement. A moral statement. A statement not to be confused with physical healing.
It’s only appropriate that these are spiritual and moral statements, because the Jesus of the New Testament, who is the wold’s judge, is indeed, the world’s Savior, someone who will come to heal our lawlessness.
Think about it: Who could be a better Savior other than the judge and the executioner?
**Part of The Nature of God series.**