“For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Pet.4:17
Very warm greetings Friends! When people hear the word “judgment” they are usually apprehensive because it portrays penalty and punishment. For many people it brings up a picture of appearing before a judge to be sentenced for being guilty for some crime or wrong committed. In religious thought there is the final judgment day when all humans will stand before God to give an account for their lives, and be rewarded for good deeds, and actions and punished for bad and evil ones. But as Christians, what picture does the Bible frame for us when we speak of judgment?
I would like to present an apt answer to the topic of judgment given by Matt Slick, President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry:
“Judgment is condemnation. It is the carrying out of the legal penalty upon someone due to breaking the Law. There are several judgments: the judgment of the believer’s sins (John 5:24), the judgment of the believer’s self (1 Cor.11:31-32), the judgment of the believer’s works (2 Cor.5:10), the judgment of the nations (Matt.25:31-46), and the judgment of the wicked (Rev.20:11-15).
“There is no judgment for the Christian in respect to salvation (Rom.8:1). We were judged in Christ on the cross 2,000 years ago. However, as Christians, we will be judged according to our works (2 Cor.5:10) with, most probably, varying degrees of rewards. But remember, the judgment of our works does not affect our salvation.” (https://carm.org/dictionary-judgment)
Judgment sits well with humans since we are all sinners. We have too much stacked up on the wrong side of the ledger when we appear before God to give account. Paul tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.6:23). The Bible says, ”Whoever believes in Him (Jesus) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18). This explains there is only one sin which if man is unrepentant he will be held accountable in the judgment. It is the sin of not accepting the Savior for human sins God has provided to forever be atoned and washed clean. Jesus said, “The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in Me” (John 16:9, NLT). So, we see here the Bible’s definition of sin by which man will be judged. Yes, the only sin is to refuse to believe in the only medium God has chosen to atone for human sin – Jesus Christ.
The Price God The Father Paid to Restore Man to Himself and escape the Judgment to Condemnation – Sacrificing of His Son (Wiki Commons)
So, for the Christian “judgment” is never about wrath and punishment which is reserved only for the incorrigable and unrepentant who follow the devil and his rebellious ways. Now, “judgment” is prinicipally used in the context of redemption. Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). Jesus explained that righteousness, the opposite condition of sin, is now the believer’s legacy because Jesus has gone to the Father in heaven. (John 16:10; Heb12:22-24). As man’s heavenly High Priest He mediates for our eternal salvation or sinless state and condition. (Heb.4:14-16) In other words, the judgment (redemption) for sin is taking place now for believers so we will not enter into the judgment for condemnation.(1 Pet.4:17) I would recommend you read my post titled, “The Cross,” posted on this link: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8718.
However, every single human, the saved and the condemned will appear before the final judgment. But since judgment will be about condemnation for the unrepentant and incorrigible, how will believers be judged? Judgment for Christians will be about reward. Paul said this about Christians, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph.2:10, also Tit.2:14). God saved us not only to free us from sin and death, but more – He wants us to practice and live by His Love nature in all we do. That is called “works,” and where there is works there is reward. So, believers appear before the judgment to receive reward from God for their works. Their works do not earn them salvation, no, salvation is God’s free gift to mankind through His Son, Jesus. (Eph.2:8-9) Works is about living God’s way of life; it is the way of His Love.
What does reward mean? It means God has given every human a gift or talent by which he or she will utilize it in the service of His Love to his/her fellow humans. Jesus gave a parable of the bags of gold in which He portrayed the meaning of gifts and reward in the judgment. (Matt.25:14-30) Jesus said, “For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done” (Matt.16:27). You may read my post titled, “Invest in Gold” which explains in detail about our gifts and rewards. Click this link: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=3145.
So, judgment in terms of punishment and wrath is only for the incorrigible and unrepentant. The Bible states a voice from heaven was heard saying Satan is “the accuser of the brethren before God” day in and day out. (Rev.12:10) To accuse means to find fault and blame. How does the devil do this? He does it with our sins. Yes, though our sins appear before God day and night as we confess them daily, there is One who stands at His right hand, One decreed from the beginning of time, Jesus the Lamb of God who shed His blood to stand in our place and cancel all debts, fault and blame, so we can remain blameless before our heavenly Father. So, for the Christian judgment is about being judged and rewarded in Jesus.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”* as a Bulamanriver.** Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
Kiang, (Your Servant in Christ)
* Triune Life: means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you the Bulamanriver*. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website, www.bulamanriver.com, where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living” Or, you may go to the directory banner at top and click “Mission” where you will find more information.
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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