Tag Archives: Judge

Final Judgement: Do Not Take Lightly

There is no getting around it–the Bible speaks of a coming day of ultimate and final judgement.

A day when Jesus will proclaim the eternal destinies of all people:

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” 

This will be the event where God determines everyone’s spiritual condition–alive or dead.

It will be the ultimate separation of good and evil at the end of history. The Christian does not need to fear this moment. The unbeliever should.

The Biblical Fact of the Final Judgment

The Bible does not shy from the topic of a final judgment. Among all the details given on the final judgment, Jesus gives us one of the most vivid.

On the Mount of Olives he concludes his sermon with an explanation of the former parables [ and ]:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 

This is the scene of the final judgment. An event that will occur at the end of history, after the millennium. All individuals and nations will be judged. John :

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.

All the dead and the living–from the beginning of time to the end of time–will be judged.

Who and What Will Be Judged?

No man is excused from this judgment. Each of us will . Believer and unbeliever alike will stand before the his judgment seat.

For the unbeliever, their deepest  and  on the table–whether good or evil. Based on these deeds, Jesus will measure out .

But the most condemning piece of evidence against the unbeliever will be their persistent rejection of God’s salvation.

Believers, on the other hand, will be judged out of The Book of Life–a list of all who accepted God’s mercy through Christ.

Indeed, all their deeds will also be judged. But they will be judged to bestow degrees of reward–not on their justification. For those who trust in the Lord, repent of sin and walk in his ways will : ”There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Who Will Judge?

The Bible is quite clear: the judge will be Jesus.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom. 

And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 

Because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. 

God gave the son this right to judge:

For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 

Jesus’ death is a unique judgment where God paid the price justice demands for mankind’s sin. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the foundations on which sinners are saved. So it is significant that he is chosen to be the judge.

The Necessity of the Final Judgement

The final and ultimate judgment at the end of history is simply the culmination of redemptive history and God’s frequent judgment on his people. From the earliest of time, .

In the Old Testament God brought abundant blessing on mankind but he also visited judgment on them, too, for their constant rebellion and unfaithfulness.

Think the Flood, the tower of Babel and Sodom and Gomorrah. And to this day  and idolatry and unfaithfulness.

Judgments throughout history serve as warnings for the consequences of unbelief, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.”

In this way God’s historical judgment and the future, final judgment reflect his character. It reveals his holinessjustice and wrath.

Yet, if believers pass from death into presence with God and unbelievers into a state of separation from God, why does God have a time of final judgment at all?

Simple. It serves the purpose of displaying before all rational creatures the declarative glory of God in a formal, forensic act.

Final Judgement Should Not Be Taken Lightly

The Bible’s message of God’s grace is set against the backdrop of a just God before whom we live. A just God who demands the satisfaction that crimes against him [for that is what sin is] be paid in full.

Crime demands justice. God’s judgment of unrepentant criminals naturally flows from this. On the other hand, his justification of repentant criminals flows from his grace. And this accomplishes one, very important thing…

In the end, all human history–from creation to the final judgment to heaven and hell–glorifies Jesus.  He will be glorified through both grace and judgement.

For the believer, falling down before God’s throne to worship him will be a privilege. It will be all misery and torment for the unbeliever.

Let’s do what we can to make sure we bring as many believers with us.

4 Characteristics of the Impeccable Author of Justice

Part of The Nature of God series.

During his New York gubernatorial campaign, –the square-jawed crusader and former prosecutor who chased corruption on Wall Street so ferociously that people nicknamed him –promised to bring ethics to Albany, New York, home of the state capital.

And because of his previous track record, many people believed he could.

But every ounce of credibility he acquired during his career evaporated the moment he was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel.

As the :

The idea that Gov. Eliot Spitzer…was somehow involved in a prostitution scandal was too much. New Yorkers who thought they had heard everything were, for a change, dumbfounded.

For a man who cemented his reputation with aggressive prosecution of wrong doing…who once seemed to stand above the tawdry universe of politics…who drug a whole lot of people through the mud…the hypocrisy is incredible that he’d fallen from grace in such a low-rent kind of way.

“I feel betrayed” was a common sentiment among New Yorkers. And it did not take long for Spitzer’s opponents to call for his resignation.

God: Perfectly Positioned to Be Our Judge

God, on the other hand, will never be called to resign. Because, even as a human, he’s never fallen from grace. Indeed, he was perfectly sinless as Jesus.

Thus, perfectly positioned to be our judge.

The biblical judge is expected to love justice and fair play. He’s expected to loath all ill treatment of one person by another.

Think about it: A corrupt judge who has no interest in seeing right triumph over wrong is, by biblical standards, a monstrosity.

Moreover, a judge who is found to be living a double life–one condemning criminals and one condoning his own crimes–deserves no such respect, honor or admiration.

He SHOULD resign.

However, the judge of the Bible displays 4 characteristics that make Him an impeccable author of justice–and a being far above any charges of corruption or grounds of impeachment:

1. The judge is a person with authority. 

He is both the Lawgiver and the Judge. That’s God’s nature.

2. The judge is a person identified with what is good and right. 

The Bible leaves us in no doubt that God loves righteousness and hates iniquity and that the ideal of a judge wholly identified with what is good and right is perfectly fulfilled in Jesus.

3. The judge is a person of wisdom, to discern truth. 

There is no jury: it his responsibility alone to question, and cross examine. When the Bible pictures God judging it pictures him as a searcher of men’s hearts and the finder of facts. Nothing can escape him.  We may fool men, but we cannot fool God. He knows us, and judges us, as we are.

4. Finally, the judge is a person of power to execute sentence. 

God is his own executioner. Always potent. Always mighty. As he legislates and sentences, so he punishes. All judicial functions pour into him.

But why even have a judge to begin with? Can’t God just overlook our sins? We’ll explore that next week in a post on retribution and grace.

A Portrait of God as Judge

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 –Dawkins, quoting 20th Century philosopher Bertrand Russell, replied: “I’ll ask why did he hide so well.”

At some other time and place atheist  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

In the New Testament, judgment falls on the Jews for , on Ananias and Sapphira for lying to God, on , on Elymas the magician for his .

God even brought  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.

The picture of God as an incorruptiblerighteousomnipotent judge couldn’t be more clear.

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.

, “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.

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  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 :

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.**

Profile of an Apostate: 18 Easy Indicators

The book of Jude says we should declare war on apostates. Who are apostates? Here’s 18 ways to spot one.

Yesterday we explored four different ways of explaining the sin that leads to death.

I walked away suggesting that this sin is apostasy–someone who, once a believer, rejects Christ.

And I also suggested that we–in spite of John’s recommendation–pray for these people.

Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t declare war on them.

Not too long ago Don at  asked “Does [combating heresy] yield any fruit?”

My answer is yes.

Combating Heresy Can Yield Fruit

In the interest of Christ’s character and the safety of our flock, we do need to draw the line and defend our territory.

In gentleness and respect, of course.

But who exactly are we declaring war on? And how do we spot an apostate? Good questions, indeed.

In the  we get our answers. In fact, we get 18 answers. Apostates are:

1. Godless 

2. Morally perverted v. 4

3. Deniers of Christ v. 4

4. Dreamers 

5. Defilers of the flesh v. 8

6. Rejectors of authority v. 8

7. Slanderers holy angels v. 8

8. Ignorant of the faith 

9. Illogical and unreasonable v. 10

10. Self-destructive in behavior v. 10

10. Complainers 

11. Critics v. 16

12. Self seeking v. 16

13. Arrogant v. 16

14. Flatterers for their own advantage v. 16

15. Scoffers 

16. Creators of division 

17. Wordly minded v. 19

18. Without the Spirit v. 19

One thing I don’t know: Is the author of Jude talking about people outside or inside of the church? I have to go with inside. Here’s why.

Not absolutely certain, but it seems to jive with the end of  where Paul says we are to judge those inside the church and not those outside.

Furthermore,  states “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed….”

Crept in where? I’m thinking the church. And I’m thinking they crept in in disguise. These are the people we’re supposed to . What do you think: Am I right?