Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Judgment Of God

Just hearing the statement, “the judgment of God” can strike fear in the hearts of Christians, but only because it is misunderstood.

Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (Jn. 5:24)

And Paul said, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1 NIV)

Both of these scriptures (and many others) make it clear that there is no condemnation, (the same Greek word translated judgement) for Christians here on earth and in the after life.

But you might say, what about the sins that I commit now? Isn’t there judgment for them? Well, those sins have been paid for by the death of Jesus. Simply receive forgiveness for them if you feel guilty and afraid.

Well, what about the sins of non-Christians? Don’t they bring God’s judgment? Yes, but the bible makes it clear that their judgment is not in this world but in the next.

The bible says, “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. (Heb. 9:27)

The judgment of God comes AFTER we die, not before. (For Jesus “came not to judge the world but to save the world.”) (Jn. 12:47)

After we die, those who have accepted Christ as savior will be judged according to the perfect works and life of Christ; thus will pass from death unto eternal life. Those who have not accepted Christ as savior will be judged based upon their own imperfect works, which will not be good enough to earn them eternal life. And since they have not accepted the sacrifice of Jesus for their sins, (and all sin must be paid for) will eternally pay for them themselves. The reason it is eternal punishment is because the only payment good enough to remove sin is the Lord’s. That is why it is so vital to accept Christ’s sacrifice for our sins… NOW, in THIS world…!!! So we don’t have to pay for them in the next! (Jn. 3:16, 18, 5:24; Heb. 9:27, 1Jn. 5:11-12)

Let’s now look at what Jesus and the bible say about the judgment of God.

Jesus said, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” (Jn. 5:22)

So, first of all, we see here that the Father doesn’t judge men. He has left judgment up to the Son. And in the following scripture, we will see what Jesus does with his authority and when it is that judgment is planned for.

Jesus said, “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (Jn. 12:47-48)

So, even though Jesus has the authority to judge men, he will not do it. It is his word that will judge men, and then it will not be until the “last day,” that is judgment day, in the next world.

The point is this… We are not living in a time period that God is judging man. We are living in a time of grace. Jesus paid the price for all sin, so instead of judging, God is now offering salvation to all. Indeed there is a day of judgment coming, but it is not now.

Think for a moment about this. Even before Jesus went to the cross, do you remember him condemning the woman caught in adultery? If anyone would be judged for their sin, would it not be her? After all, the Law of Moses said that she should be judged and stoned. But Jesus would not condemn her; in fact he PROTECTED her from those wanting to condemn her. Then Jesus simply corrected her, telling her to go and sin no more. This he did despite not having died for sin yet and the fact that the Jews were still under the law, not grace. (Jn. 8:1-11)

Now consider this passage:

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
And when his disciples James and John saw this they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” (Lk. 9:51-56)

Wow! If they didn’t know what manner of spirit they were of, just what “manner of spirit” were they of? It was not the spirit of God, or of Jesus, because Jesus rebuked them for it… “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

Despite all of this, I know that many people believe that certain disasters that occur here on earth are “the judgment of God,” or the “hand of God at work,” so let’s look at one of them. And that is destructive weather. There are a lot of people that think destructive weather is God “at work” in people’s lives or that he is judging man. However, neither is true.

God does not control the weather any more than he controls man, (unless he does it through a man, as he did through Jesus when he calmed the storm) (Mt. 8:23-26) Weather patterns have a “life” of their own, and along with all of creation were affected adversely by the sin of man. No longer do they act as God had intended. And because of the laws of nature, when certain atmospheric conditions interact with other conditions, we have certain kinds of weather. And some of it can be destructive, even deadly. (Gen. 3:17-19 Rom. 8:19-22)

It was the fall of man that gave rise to destructive storms, not God. And it is not God who initiates or “uses” these forces to deal with man now. In fact, Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil,” not to use them. (1Jn. 3:8) If we want to control these weather patterns and these destructive storms, we can calm them just as Jesus did. “WE” can keep them from destroying us because Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also…” (Jn. 14:12)

Besides, we are not under the Old Covenant. We are under a New Covenant. (It is not that God was different in the Old Testament, but the covenant he had with man was different.) In the Old Testament, Jesus had not yet paid the price for sin, and man was under a covenant of law, which was a covenant of condemnation and death. (2 Cor. 3:6-9) But in the New Testament, man is under a covenant of life and grace, where Jesus paid the price for man’s sin, averting man’s judgment until after we die. (2Cor. 5:19, Heb. 8:6-13) Again, the point is that we are not in a time period where God is judging man, by destructive storms or by any other means. Judgment comes at the end of time.

Well then, if the bible teaches that Jesus came not to destroy but to save, and that he does not use natural destructive forces to deal with man, (even those that reject him and his word) then where do these things come from and what is their purpose?

It will be in my next article that I will touch on answers to these questions, but in order to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of this topic, you can read my book, "Suffering (God’s Will?)" In it I thoroughly cover this subject, supporting what I say with many biblical references. And along with a full study of suffering, you will be able to read a chapter on God’s Correction and Judgment and on the book of Job and how each has been traditionally misunderstood.

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of : “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www.

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