Christ: Our Faithful Judge


In the end, we’ll all be judged. Those who do not know the Lord, whose names are not in the Book of Life, will spend eternity outside the Lord’s presence; those who do know the Lord, whose names are inscribed, will be eternity with Him. Beyond that, there is a second judgment. Suffering or glory will not be the same for everyone. Some will suffer less than others; some will enjoy more glory than others. Whatever the outcome for each of us, we know this with absolute certainty: God will be fair, just, and honest. 


Genesis 18:25 (ESV):  Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?

Romans 3:6 (NLT): If God were not entirely fair, how would he be qualified to judge the world?

2 Corinthians 5:10 (GNT): For all of us must appear before Christ, to be judged by him.


ARE YOU READY to be judged by God for how you’ve lived your life? 

I know I don’t relish the idea of being judged, even by the One who loves me the most and has assured me of His fairness.

Jesus tells us that at the end of our lives, every one of us will have to “give account on the day of judgment” for any careless word we have spoken (Matt. 12:36 NIV).

Yes, our rebirth through Christ (Rom. 8:1) means we have passed from death to life, but we still will be evaluated for our eternal reward. We are certain to feel remorse for jobs undone or poorly done. 

While I console myself that my sins are covered by Christ’s shed blood on the Cross, I still know that a fair accounting of my life will  find me coming up way short.

I most definitely want God the Father to see me through the sinless life of God the Son when He’s looking at me.

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WHEN GOD, OUR CREATOR, says He will judge us, He wants to know what we’ve done with the skills, talents, abilities, aptitudes, training, education, and experiences He’s provided for us so that we can carry out the commands of the Great Commission, which is to share the Good News of redemption through Christ.

We know going into this judgment that “no one is sinless,” and all of us have strayed from God’s straight line. Fortunately, He has assured us of His evenhandedness. The Bible tells us that “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11).

Even better, we know that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV), meaning that the redeemed of the Lord will not lose their salvation during judgment. Our judgment will be to determine our responsibilities and rewards through eternity. 

Those who have been the most faithful will receive the greatest rewards.

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THIS CONCEPT OF FAIRNESS is so important that in American jurisprudence, great symbolic weight is given to the phrase “blind justice,” meaning the judge is rendering a verdict solely on the basis of the facts and the law, not showing prejudice either for or against the accused.

But human “fairness” often fails to be fair. King David, when scolded by the prophet Gad for his sin, proclaimed, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man” (2 Samuel 24:14 NKJV).

God’s judgment promises to be fair.

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WHAT, THEN ARE WE to make of this judgment that awaits us all? 

Doesn’t this bring God glory as He redeems us despite our rebellion? He has given us the atoning blood of His Son to pay the debt for our sin, so that those who call on His name will be saved (Romans 10:13; Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32).

Isn’t this how He models grace to us, that as our sin increases, His grace increases “all the more,” as Paul says in Romans, “so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20-21 NIV).

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IN GOD’S TERMS, judgment is how a just God rewards those who have placed their faith in Him and deals with those who haven’t.

In the end, whether the person during his or her lifetime acknowledged God as Creator, He promises that “every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:11 NIV; Phil. 2:10) in recognition that He is King of kings and Lord of lords, the Alpha and the Omega.

That means a just rendering of life on earth, completely fair. Those of us who have received His offer of life through His Son will rise to glory, while those who have rejected His offer will rise to remorse. 


POSTSCRIPT:

IN HUMAN TERMS, this “completes  the circle” or “ties up loose ends.”

Praise God that He has offered us life through Jesus Christ! 

“The Lord is loving. You reward people for what they have done.” — Psalms 62:12 (NCV)

“He rewards people for what they do and treats them as they deserve. Almighty God does not do evil; he is never unjust to anyone.” — Job 34:11-12 (GNT)

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” —John 10:10b (NKJV)


PRAYER

O Lord, our Heavenly Father, we are so grateful that  You are a loving God as well as a just God. We confess our sinful hearts to You, O Lord, and ask Your forgiveness for our rebellion. Create within us a new heart: one of flesh, not of stone; one of compassion, not of selfishness; one of purity, not of lust. Lift our gaze, O Lord, above the boundaries of our individual orbits to see the wider world, the needs of others, the calling of Your hand to play a healing role. We know, O Lord, that You will judge us in the end, and we pray eternal thanks that You promise to judge us through the lens of Your Son, our Savior. For it’s in His mighty and precious name we pray. AMEN

EXTENDING GRACE TO OTHERS

If we who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are going to live out our mandate to extend grace, love, compassion, and forgiveness to a darkened world, we need to call on God’s Holy Spirit to give us the wisdom and the courage to proceed. Jesus was clear in John 15 that we cannot succeed without His help. This is not a Sunday-only mandate but a daily, forever mandate until He returns or we are called home. 


“I want to use the authority the Lord has given me to strengthen you, not to tear you down.” — 2 Corinthians 13:10 (NLT) 

“No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.” — Ephesians 4:29 (CSB)


HOW OFTEN HAVE WE HAD an opportunity to spread grace, only to let the opportunity pass, the window close, the moment drift away.

What happens when I fail to honor God by spreading grace? Am I too busy with my own affairs, or perhaps I’m uncertain of how to proceed, or maybe I’m waiting for the other person to go first, or I figure this might not be the right time.

In the abstract, any of those reasons could be considered valid ones. For example:

  • I have a schedule to keep;
  • Too many people are around;
  • I might have missed cues that would have given the moment context; or
  • I’m looking for the other person’s receptivity. 

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DRAWING FROM the abstract to the specific, I often fail to act out of fear. Forget all of the highfalutin excuses, I may have buckled through lack of courage.

I would prefer to do my talking through my fingers on the computer keyboard than vocally in a social setting. I feel more confident with the printed word that I can see and modify than with the spoken word that can’t be seen but is said, sometimes vaporizing into nothing but sometimes hanging heavy over the table like a large cloud. 

Jesus told us not to be afraid to testify for our faith. We’re not the first humans who have clammed up when the Lord calls us to speak on His behalf.

Moses, himself, needed plenty of shoring up. “Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” – Exodus 4:12 (NLT) 

With that as a model, we — I — can be more confident in speaking grace into a situation with the Lord’s help. What is required in this and every other situation is to be “prayed in.”

The apostles Peter and John asked the Lord to supply them with even more courage after they were jailed overnight after speaking — with great courage — in front of the religious leaders. (see Acts 4:29)

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WHAT DOES speaking grace look like?

Depending on the situation, it could be consoling someone who is hurting or struggling with his/her faith. It could be offering a kinder explanation for someone else’s intemperate behavior. It could be offering encouragement or thanking someone or forgiving someone. 

Basically, it’s extending ourselves beyond our self-centered wants and needs, considering the other person more important than we are (Philippians 2:3), serving others rather than expecting them to serve us (Matthew 20:28), or just making known that we, as men and women, see the exterior, the veneer, of another person’s life, but Almighty God sees into the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

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POSTSCRIPT:

When the Lord place us in a situation, He justifiably expects us to use those moments to extend His grace to others. We must remember that while we, as fallen creatures, see many people outside of our zone of grace, no one exists beyond God’s zone of grace.

If we use the authority that God has given us to strengthen others, rather than tear them down, we should find more and more people that formerly existed outside our zone of grace falling within its every widening walls.


PRAYER 

O Lord, our Heavenly Father. Sometimes, we just feel so overwhelmed with the task of carrying the Gospel to a broken, unbelieving, cynical world; yet, when we place our trust in You, we labor not with our own strength and wisdom but with Yours. We pray for grace and mercy as Your Spirit prepares us for the good work to be done on behalf of the Kingdom, not for our glory, O Lord, but for Yours. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray.  AMEN