Thursday, 16 December 2010

Personal Object Lessons - Judgement time

“For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5 v 10

We don’t like to be judged – by anyone. Generally we tend to think that those people who pronounce their opinion on us do not understand anything about us and are therefore not in a position to stand in judgement. There is a proverb that says, “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.” Therefore the only person who is able to judge us in all matters is Jesus Christ because He has walked in our shoes; He became a man and experienced life just as we do. He alone is able and justified to judge anyone.

While we, as inhabitants of the earth are being judged, we are not alone. God is also being judged. He is being judged for making a plan of salvation for all those that believe in Jesus. The judgement of God is to vindicate His love for us, to ascertain if He has shown justice in His plans. God was accused of being unfair and unjust (Gen 3 v 1-5) when He set aside a tree in the Garden of Eden. God had already clearly stated to Adam “... of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Gen 2 v 17. The clear punishment for this crime was death. Both Eve and Adam knew what they were doing when they took of the fruit and ate it; they knew that a justifiable punishment would be meted out to them. And immediately they had consumed the fruit, they hid themselves from God.

It is usual practise to hide when a crime has been committed. The perpetrator wants to remain unmarked by the inevitable penalty of his deed. It is very rare that someone commits a crime and then publicises it. Whenever the deed is found out the criminal - the person who has broken some law - is brought to justice. He is usually tried before a judge and maybe a jury, and often has a defending lawyer on his side. This person acts as his advocate and begins a campaign on his behalf in front of the judge and jury. In our personal judgement we are in a very unusual and special position because our defending advocate is also our judge! (1 John 2 v 1-2)

Christ Jesus, as well as defending us, has already paid the price for our sinful lives. 1 John 2 v 2 says that He is our atoning sacrifice for our sins, “and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” When Jesus came to earth, and lived a blameless life as a man, He was without sin yet He accepted the punishment of all sins so that we could have the reward of eternal life. He walked more than a mile in our shoes, He walked a lifetime. And still He shouldered the penalty for sins that were not His.

It is at the cross that we see justification for God forgiving anyone. The same cross that is a revelation of the love of God is also a revelation of the wrath and integrity of God. Nowhere do we see the judgement of God against sin as vividly as on Calvary. The One who died on the cross to save us from our sin will one day judge us for our response to His salvation and the life we have lived. The investigative judgement, where the book of life and the book of remembrance are opened, will justify God for forgiving those who are forgiven. (1 Tim 5 v 24; 1 Peter 4 v 17) The review judgement will answer all questions the saved may have as to why others are condemned and lost. This is yet another chance to remove all doubt about God’s justice as the saved discover how earnestly and patiently God cared for those who are eternally lost (Rev 20 v 4; Rev 15 v 3 – 4).

Even the wicked, those who have chosen to reject God’s salvation plan, will see for themselves the extent of God’s justice. At the end of time everything will be judged “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Eccl 12 v 13 – 14.

As we are judged, so also will God be judged. Simultaneously His character will be vindicated and our lives will be rewarded with eternity as a result of our acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We do not need to fear this judgement as long as we accept the advice of our advocate Jesus, who has covered our sins with the blood He shed on the cross and has taken us, without sin, to the judgement seat of God where His love for us if justified before the jury of all ages.

©MHMorgan 2010

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