Jesus the judge! Surely an oxymoron! Surely those words cannot stand together in the same phrase! Jesus in His teaching encouraged the needy to look to Him for help. But He also warned those who were rejecting His teaching, of the dangers of doing so. In fact He often spoke of Himself as being the eventual judge of humankind. We look briefly at the subject of judgment in the Bible and specifically at the role of Jesus as judge. You see, judgment is not a topic we can ignore in the Bible. There are over 200 references to “judgment” in the Bible and over 250 to “judge”. The vast majority refer to divine judgment. We now look at many of those references to see to what extent the role of Jesus includes judgment. Coming to a deeper understanding of the truth about Jesus during this Christmas season might just mean that we really have the best Christmas ever as we learn to appreciate Him more and more!
1). GOD’S JUDGMENT IS ALWAYS JUST AND THOROUGH
Abraham had a sense of the justice of God as he said in Gen 18:25 … Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” Meaning of course, that which is just in the eyes of the all-seeing and all-knowing God.
David likewise saw God as just, Psa 9:7 But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, 8 and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.
Solomon reflected on the nature of God and on the meaning of life. He recognised that God set the rules for humans to live by and that in His judgment He would miss nothing. He concluded, Ecc 12:13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
2). JESUS ACTS AS GOD’S AGENT IN JUDGMENT
As we come to the New Testament we see that God has delegated judgment to Jesus His Son. As Jesus said, (Joh 5:22) The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son. He added, Joh 5:27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment.
Judgment was a joint responsibility. The Father and He would pass judgment, (Joh 8:16) …it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. Paul also recognised that shared responsibility in judgment, and saw Jesus as God’s agent in judgment, (Act 17:31) because he (God) has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man (Jesus Christ) whom he has appointed. Also in (Rom 2:16) Paul says that God judges but He does it through Jesus, on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by (dia = through) Christ Jesus.
3). EVERYONE WILL STAND BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF GOD
Paul shows the accountability of all humans before God in these verses, Rom 14:10 …For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; …12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Judgment will be just because Jesus will judge on the basis of the true knowledge of good and evil. 1Co 4:5 … the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. And also in 2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, .. good or evil.
Jesus’ judgment of people will include those who die before His second coming and those who are alive at the time, 2Tim 4:1 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: This is what Jesus taught regarding His second coming and the resurrection that would then take place, Joh 5:29 all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
All humans must die and face inevitable judgment, Heb 9:27 … it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment
4). THE BASIS OF JUDGMENT
A). One’s Attitude To Jesus and His words
Jesus taught that condemnation is a present reality for those who have rejected His message, Joh_3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. Such people need to believe in Christ to avert condemnation, as Paul wrote in Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Jesus’ words form the basis of His judgement, (Joh 12:48) The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.
At His second coming Jesus passes judgment on those who have rejected His teaching, 2Th 1:7 … when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Jude in his epistle also refers to the second coming of Jesus and says His judgement will be executed on those who are ungodly and who spoke evil of Him, Jud 1:14 …Behold, the Lord comes … 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness … and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
B). Ungodly Behaviour And Speech
On the day when Jesus establishes His kingdom, judgment will take place on the lawless, Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Marriage is to honoured and not defiled through sexual immorality or adultery. Such guilt will be punished. Heb 13:4 Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
C). Refusal to repent
People in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum would be judged because they had failed to repent in spite of seeing Jesus’ miracles, Mat 11:20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent.,
Hard impenitent hearts lead to judgment, Rom 2:5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
God shows no partiality but is just in His judgment, Rom 2:6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honour and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.
A refusal to repent is not an option. People are commanded to repent of sin, Act 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed
5). WHAT HAPPENS IN GOD’S JUDGMENT?
A). The Separation Of Good And Evil
In the parable about the sheep and the goats, Jesus saw people as guilty if they failed to follow His teaching and to care for one another. The “sheep” are rewarded for caring Mat 25:40, and the “goats” are punished for not caring. Mat 25:45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” “Eternal” marks the seriousness of God’s judgment.
B). Punishment On The Unrepentant Wicked
Jesus executes eternal judgment on those who refuse to refuse to know God and on those who disobey the teaching of Jesus. 2 Thess 1:7 … when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might
C). There Are Rewards For Those Who Trust And Obey
Believers have passed out of judgment into life through trusting in Christ for salvation. However there is still a judgment leading to rewards for believers who faithfully build on the foundation of Christ, 1Cor 3:12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw– 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.
Paul looked forward to a reward for his faithful service, indeed a victor’s crown, (2Ti 4:8) Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day,
6). HOW TO AVERT JUDGMENT
One can only do it in the way God has appointed. That is, through repentance and trust in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, Joh 5:24 .. whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
It means becoming someone “in Christ” through believing in Him, Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
By living a righteous life in the sight of God, Joh 5:28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
7). DOES GOD WANT PEOPLE TO FACE HIS JUDGMENT?
The “delay” in the second coming of Jesus is not due to weakness on His part. Rather it is the evidence of His mercy in giving people time to repent of their sins and turn to Him for forgiveness, 2Pe 3:9 The Lord is .. patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. How surprised some people might be who scoff about Christianity and at the second coming of Christ if they were to discover that He is waiting for some of them to repent before judgment comes. But the time for people to repent is coming to an end. He knows the day of His coming. We don’t!
God so loved. Jesus loved. Jesus died for sinners so that people might be spared judgment by trusting in Him, Jn 3:16, he (God) gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. People perish because they continue to reject the love of God and the gift of forgiveness and new life in Jesus.
8). THE JESUS TO BE THE JUDGE THEN, WANTS TO BE OUR FRIEND NOW
A). We become friends of God by trusting and obeying Him
Abraham trusted. He trusted in God and His promises. (Jas 2:23) “Abraham believed God, … and he was called a friend of God.
Jesus encouraged His followers by calling them His friends, (Joh 15:15) No longer do I call you servants… but I have called you friends
B). Jesus can help us as no other friend can. He gave this invitation to all those in need, Mat 11:28 Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. He wants to help us as we live for Him, 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
C). Jesus wants to be our close friend. We need to abide in Him and in His words.(Joh 15:7) If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. AND (Joh 15:9) As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
D). We can be confident when He comes again. Those who are friends of Jesus can look forward to His coming without fear, (1Jn 2:28) And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
Summing up. We have seen in these 4 articles discussing the Jesus Christ of Christmas, some important truths about Him that we need to recognise and act on. He is no longer wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. He is sitting at the right hand of God in glory. He is not a victim dying on a cross. Rather He is the risen triumphant Lord. Indeed the Jesus whom we worship at Christmas (and for every moment of our lives) is none other than Jesus of Nazareth. But He is also the Creator of this universe. He is the Saviour of the world for all those who will receive Him into their lives. He is the Lord of the universe and of the church. His will must be sought and done. He is the One who is coming to judge. But praise God, by the mercy of God, this Jesus has become my friend and I trust He is your friend as well.
IN BRIEF, JESUS-(CREATOR-SAVIOUR-LORD-JUDGE) – AND OUR FRIEND BY THE LOVE, GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD.
Blog No.104. Jim Holbeck. Posted on Tuesday 18th December 2012