Judgment

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God’s Justice & Love (A guest-post by David Gooding)

Friday, January 26th, 2018

“‘What is the answer to evil?’ asks the psalmist.

Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. (Ps 98:8–9)

  Don’t you want there to be a judgment? Who wants the evil of the world to go unchecked for ever? The unconverted man with any moral sense would want a judgment; even if he doesn’t believe in it and thinks it is ‘whistling in the dark’ and comforting yourself with fairy tales. But he would hope it is true that evil will not go on for ever, and there is going to be a judgment.

[God] 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. (Acts 17:31)

  Picture the scene with the help of the imagery. ‘The Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool’ (Dan 7:9). Over against this fearful, hideous beast, put the triumph of rationality and wisdom. The books are opened—a perfect record; the thrones are set—perfect justice. The ultimate triumph of rationality, wisdom and justice. Incidentally, notice that it is not one throne, but thrones. We shall come to that again.

  Praise God in your heart that the vision is true and let us preach it unashamedly. It is gospel for our world; let us hold up our heads before the atheist and the humanist. Precisely at this point they have no gospel to preach. The humanist declares that his interest is in humanity. He has got rid of God with all his tyranny and he is on man’s side.

  Let’s take him to visit Auschwitz. Here is a row of cells and the occupants are scheduled to be gassed next Thursday. What shall we say to them?

  When they see us and think we bring hope they ask, ‘What are you doing for us? We want justice.’

  I will say, ‘You will not get justice in this world. You will be gassed, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. But there is hope; this life is not the end. The sense of right and wrong that you have in your heart is not your own imagination. Our Creator put it there; it is not put there to mock you. There is to be a judgment where earth’s wrongs will be put right. For you, there is forgiveness of all your sins right now, if you will have it. The marvellous assurance from the judge himself is that, if you trust him, you will never come into judgment, but will pass from death to life.’

  And what will the humanist say to them? These people want justice, and he is interested in humanity; he has got rid of God in order to improve the lot of humanity. But he will have to say, ‘I am sorry, you are not going to get justice in this life. You are going to be gassed on Thursday, and since there is no God, no life to come and no judgment, you are never going to get justice.’ The prisoners will say, ‘Do you mean that all my hope in justice has been a mocking delusion?’

‘Yes,’ says the humanist.

  And it is not just Hitler’s victims in the gas chambers. Who shall count the multi-millions that have died unjustly in this world? God has an answer to it, our sense of right and wrong is not put there to mock us. It comes from our Creator God and there is going to be a judgment where earth’s wrongs will be put right. The resurrection of Christ is the final assurance of the fact.

Perhaps some of you are saying, ‘You denounce one tyrant and his excessive power; but you seem to substitute one tyrant for another tyrant who happens to have a bit more power, namely almighty God.’

Is that so? The final answer in the great struggle of life is simply who has the greatest power. The beast destroyed other people; now God destroys him. What’s the difference? They both destroy. You wouldn’t say anything so silly, would you? God has anticipated this objection. ‘With the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man’ (Dan 7:13). We know exactly who that person is. It was precisely with reference to that text that our Lord claimed to be the Son of Man. To his judges in the priestly court, he said,

The Father judges no one, but has given all judgement to the Son . . . And he has given him authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of Man. (John 5:22, 27)

Our Lord is qualified to be judge because he is the Son of Man. The amazing grace of almighty God, he shall judge nobody. It will not be a question of God Almighty, in his position of God Almighty, just crushing his creatures; God himself has decreed that the judgment of man shall be done by a man, a perfect man who isn’t obsessed with power. As he looked over his beloved mother city of Jerusalem and saw the sufferings that must descend upon that city he (the judge in that final day) broke down and wept over it.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! (Matt 23:37)

  The judgment of mankind will be in the hand of that sinless, compassionate, perfect, ideal Son of Man.

It is not a question of who has the greatest power, but who has the greatest love 

  Nobody—not even the devil himself—has ever thought that he could attain greater power than God Almighty. The ultimate question is, who loves man the best? Judgment shall be given to the Son of Man. Not only because it shall be judgment by peer (man judged by man), but because of his worthiness to judge.

I would remind you of that well-loved vision of Revelation 5, where the hosts of heaven proclaim the Lamb worthy to take the book and open the seals. With that the preparations for the judgment of mankind begin. Why is he worthy to do it? It is not only because he is the Son of Man, but because he himself was slain. There shall be no voice raised at this judgment to say it is unfair and he is unqualified. They shall be shown Calvary and how the wild beasts tore him there, with their enmity and jealousy, their envy and spite, their power politics, both religious and civil. Invested with the very power of God, why did he put up with it?

  If you were out walking and a mosquito landed upon you and stung you, you wouldn’t think twice what you would do to it. But to think that a little bit of clay six foot tall should turn round and do insult to God and crucify his Son—why didn’t God smudge out the planet? Because that’s not God! Before the blessed Son of God should mount the throne in judgment, he was first lifted up on the cross of Calvary. He is worthy to execute judgment because he was slain so that men might go free and be redeemed.

  And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’ (Rev 5:9–10)

  God is determined not just to destroy creation—he will not thus yield to defeat. Christ is going to make something of it and he will yet make something of human beings. By his redemption not only to forgive them, but to turn them into a kingdom of priests to live and serve God for his eternal pleasure . . .  The answer to the destructive power of the unregenerate Gentile political system is not only that God shall have a judgment; and not only shall the Son, the Messiah, be the judge; but dominion shall be given to the saints.”

David W. Gooding, Daniel: Civil Servant & Saint. (Coleraine, NI, UK: The Myrtlefield Trust, 2017), 41-43. [Italics original.] Read the entire work here.

Audiopost: Why doesn’t God do something?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Check my new audiopost here: k-keyser-11-3-16-why_doesnt_god_do_something

To Judge or Not to Judge – Which is Christian? (A Guest-post by R. P. Amos)

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Sometimes an answer is not an “either or”, or even “yes or no” but both.  It can depend upon circumstances.  For example, is it right or wrong to eat peanuts?  It could be right and a source of protein if you like them.  But it could be very wrong and life threatening if you have an allergy to them.

So often we hear that a Christian is “not to judge”.  Is this entirely true in light of God’s complete revelation in the Bible?  True, the Lord Jesus says, “judge not”, but then He goes on to say, “but judge righteous judgment”.  So which is it?  Both!

The Greek word for “judge” is anakrino or krino.  Krino means to pick out, select, conclude, decide, choose, approve or disapprove.  Anakrino means to discern, examine, question and scrutinize.  Don’t we in our daily lives make continual judgments – from medicines, good or bad food, the right partner for life to the best value for our money? What government exists that doesn’t have law and order, and judges its offenders?

FOUR AREAS WE ARE NOT TO JUDGE

1.  Heart Motives.  We can’t know what a person is thinking as to why he might be doing an action. Without having further knowledge we should not reach conclusions.  1Cor. 4:3, 5

2.  Outward Appearances.  We must not judge how something appears to look on the outside without further evidence of righteous facts.  John 7:24, 1Sam. 16:7

3.  Another’s Liberty.  Each man answers to God, not us, on personal matters of liberty concerning things like celebrating days, wine, foods, etc.  Rom. 14: 2, 13

4.  Another’s Actions IF You are Doing the Same Thing.  It is hypocritical to judge something in your brother’s eye when you are doing something similar.  Matt. 7:1, 3

FOUR AREAS WE ARE TO JUDGE

1.  Ourselves.  We are to always judge what is right or wrong in our lives.  1Cor. 11:31

2.  Actions that are the Best.  Just like we make judgments on a banana if it is the best value for the price, we are to judge what is the most excellent decision.  Philp. 1:9, 10

3.  Doctrine.  It is not we who make a judgment on truth but we simply trust God’s judgment of what is true and false as revealed by His Word of truth.  1Cor. 14:29 / 1Ths. 5:20-21

4.  Sin in the Church.  While the church is not to judge the world with punishment, it is to judge “believers” living in active sin by excommunication for a time.  1Cor. 5

May we have courage to judge, and yet love when not to judge, to be used of the Lord.

How Will You Meet The Lamb?

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!’” Rev. 6:15-16

Recently the eminent jurist Geoffrey Robertson, QC was interviewed on the British classical music radio program “Essential Classics.”[1] One of his anecdotes regarding a case where he served as a judge caught my attention, for it reminded me of the verses at the head of this post. When a burglar was brought before him, he had to recuse himself, because the first crime the defendant confessed to was the theft of the judge’s personal computer. The Guardian picked up the story and ran the headline: “Burglar meets his victim: his judge.” Obviously Robertson removed himself from the case in order to avoid the appearance of personal bias perverting the course of justice. In a sense this incident reflects the biblical reality that all men will meet their judge sooner or later. Amazingly, mankind’s judge was once also its victim on a particularly historic day millennia ago.

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Enter The Lamb

In the first century A.D. the Son of God came to earth; men know Him by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, but His Father exalted Him as Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36.) John the Baptist gave Him another title, saying to his disciples: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29.) The concept of a sacrificial lamb was familiar in Jewish history and thought. Abraham promised that God would provide a lamb for His own holy satisfaction (Gen. 22:8, 14.) When the LORD delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt, He called for them to use a lamb’s blood to symbolically shield them from the divine wrath falling upon that land (Ex. 12:3-17.) Ever after that dramatic night the Passover would be associated with the offering of a lamb. The Levitical offerings also made use of sacrifices from “the flock” (e.g. Lev. 3:7; 4:32, 35, etc.) Thus clear sacrificial overtones were in view when the forerunner used the metaphor of a lamb to describe the Messiah Jesus.

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The Lord Jesus came to earth for the express purpose of dying as a sacrifice to God the Father for people’s sins (Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 9:14.) His teaching and healing ministry was part of the ongoing revelation of God’s character and purposes.  The Almighty was demonstrating His holiness, righteousness, love, and mercy in the person of His incarnate Son. Instead of responding to this divine disclosure positively, men rejected the Lord Jesus. His moral perfection showed the bankruptcy of human religion and stripped away the carefully cultivated self-righteous facades of scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees. The secrets of fallen and sinful human hearts were revealed – hypocrisy was exposed, pride was cast down, and the myth of human self-sufficiency was destroyed. Many people despised Jesus for His goodness toward those who were open sinners. Others refused His grace, thinking that they were sufficient to stand before God on their own merits. Eventually, Jews and Gentiles combined to execute Jesus in the cruelest manner known to them: crucifixion.

Crimes Against Deity

Yet in spite of their wickedness, the Lord Jesus willingly went to the cross. True, He was a victim, but one must add: He was a willing victim. As He avowed: “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (Jn. 10:17-18; emphasis mine.) Though men wickedly crucified Him, He voluntarily died and rose again to fulfill His Father’s plan (1 Cor. 15:3-8.) In the aftermath of His resurrection, many people believed on Christ by receiving Him as their Lord and Savior (Acts 2:41; Acts 6:7.) Others rejected Him, preferring to die with uncertainty and take their chances before God’s great white throne of judgment. This was a foolish option, for the verdict is not in doubt (Jn. 3:18.) To trust in the Lord Jesus as one’s “Passover lamb” is to rest in His finished work of salvation that delivers one from divine wrath and eternal perdition in hell (Jn. 5:24; 1 Cor. 5:7-8.) Such a one says: “The Lord Jesus is my lamb; He died and rose for me!”

All Rise, The Judge Enters

Some day the Lamb will return to earth. But this time He is not coming to die and save; rather He is coming to judge and execute wrath on those who have refused His light and grace. People will seek shelter in vain, crying out for some hiding place from the holy gaze of the Son of God. He will be the judge – one who was once a victim; one who once suffered the grossest injustice in world history. He loves righteousness and hates iniquity. He is immune to bribery. As the omniscient Son of God, He will not be fooled by legal sophistry or chicanery. He will not cease until He fills the universe with the knowledge of God and roots out all evil, judging it appropriately. The Lord Jesus will bring in a new heavens and new earth wherein righteousness dwells (2 Pet. 3:13.) Will you meet the Lamb as your Lord and Savior? Or will He be your judge?

[1]BBC Radio 3, “Essential Classics,” hosted by Rob Cowan: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qqfly  Aired 18 February, 2013.