God is a just God, God is a Holy God and as such God has to judge us, when He does, it will be a righteous judgment. It will not be imperfect or biased as can happen when we face judgments of men. I was stopped with my left turn signal on and some crazy person passed me while I was making a left turn and I got the ticket! That is a wrong judgment, when is it illegal to make a proper left turn? It seems in Jacksonville, FL some crazy person who sees your directional on, sees your stopping to make a proper left turn is OK to pass you and cause an accident and not get a ticket! But enough about silly human judgments, God’s judgments are just and perfect.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE BELIEVER’S SIN
IT WAS SETTLED AT CAVALRY
1. To understand what was settled we need to understand what sin is and quite simply stated sin is the transgression of the law: Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1John 3:4) so we know that if we transgress any of the law (and that includes the 10 commandments plus all the other laws in the Old Testament (some 2600 of them) and the summary of the law given by the Saviour, Jesus Christ in the New Testament:
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Mat 22:37-40)
2. Jesus settled the debt on the cross for those who believed.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Col 2:13-15). In Roman times it was a custom for a prisoner to have his crimes posted on a paper or piece of wood outside their cell and when they were crucified, they would place that on their cross so all could see why they were dying. On Jesus’ cross Pilate wrote the following:
And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. (John 19:19-20)
And what Pilate wrote was one thing, what God attributed on our behalf was quite another. God took all the condemnation of the law and placed the sins of the believer, the Christian, and placed it on Christ. He became our sin, our Passover sacrifice. God put our sin upon Him who had no sin to the point where the Father had to turn His back on His Son, who cried out “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?” However, if you choose to reject this offer from God, you can face the judgment for your own sins, as we will see later.
JUDGMENT OF THE BELIEVER’S SELF
AN ONGOING LIFE PROCESS
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (1Co 11:31-32)
We know this is part of the communion commanded by Paul but is a basic life principle for the Christian. Some say we need to examine ourselves daily for sin and repent. I say don’t wait that long. Martin Luther use to say “keep short accounts with God” that is as soon as we are aware we have sinned, violated God’s law by commission or omission, as soon as we are aware by that still, small voice that we have grieved or quenched the Holy Spirit, that is the time we need to stop and apply 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
So if we repent, confessing humbly that we have offended God by our words, deeds, or actions (or lack thereof) turning from our wickedness seeking God’s forgiveness, He stands ready to bestow it upon us! And by doing so we save ourselves from the just judgment of a Holy God for that sin!
JUDGMENT OF THE BELIEVER’S WORKS
IT’S ABOUT REWARDS, NOT SALVATION
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Rom 14:10)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2Co 5:10)
Judgment Seat: G968 bēma bay’-ma
From the base of G939; a step, that is, foot breath; by implication a rostrum, that is, tribunal: - judgment-seat, set [foot] on, throne.(i)
The judgment of the believer’s works, not sins, is in question here. The sins have been atoned for, and are "remembered no more forever" (And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. -Hebrews 10:17) but every work must come into judgment, The result is "reward" or "loss" (of the reward), "but he himself shall be saved". This judgment occurs at the return of Christ (For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. -Mat 16:27).
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1Co 3:11-15)
• These rewards are for the saved, if a man does not have the foundation laid down, that is the relationship which is being born again, saved by the Lord Jesus, he misses this judgment and winds up at the next one.
• There are two rewards: gold, silver, precious stone and wood, hay stubble.
• Some build upon this foundation gold, silver, and precious stones (1Co_3:12), namely, those who receive and propagate the pure truths of the gospel, who hold nothing but the truth as it is in Jesus, and preach nothing else. This is building well upon a good foundation, making all of apiece, when ministers not only depend upon Christ as the great prophet of the church, and take him for their guide and infallible teacher, but receive and spread the doctrines he taught, in their purity, without any corrupt mixtures, without adding or diminishing.
• Others build wood, hay, and stubble, on this foundation; that is, though they adhere to the foundation, they depart from the mind of Christ in many particulars, substitute their own fancies and inventions in the room of his doctrines and institutions, and build upon the good foundation what will not abide the test when the day of trial shall come, and the fire must make it manifest, as wood, hay, and stubble, will not bear the trial by fire, but must be consumed in it. There is a time coming when a discovery will be made of what men have built on this foundation: Every man’s work shall be made manifest, shall be laid open to view, to his own view and that of others.
• Also, I see an additional meaning, that is if we do good things with wrong motives, as in praying, giving, although good deeds unto themselves if we do them with wrong motives, we receive our rewards now and they become wood, hay, and stubble to be burned in the fire of the judgment of the believers’ works.
• Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 6:1)
• And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Mat 6:5)
• Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Mat 6:16)
• But while we are encouraged to do right and do it for the right reason, be encouraged, God does forgive and this is a loss of reward, not salvation (see verse 15 above)
THE JUDGMENT OF THE NON-BELIEVER
THE END OF THE WICKED
What happens to those who reject the offer of a loving God, remember that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him shall never perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)
But you just know that some are going to reject this simple and loving offer. They know better than God and are going to go the way of Cain and come to God their own way, after all “a loving God will never send me to Hell” but there are two faults with that line of reasoning:
1. God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, you choose to go there.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (John 3:17-20) So we reject God’s loving offer because we do not want to deal with our sins in a way acceptable to Him because it might make us uncomfortable.
2. Our best righteousness is not good enough to stand before God, you need an acceptable sacrifice and Jesus is that sacrifice, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world
3. So if we persist in our wicked ways, God has to have a place for us, and a judgment, and He does. He has:
THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15)
• If your name is not written in the Book of Live, you will be judged out of the book of your works. And this is not a good thing for it will not let you into Heaven but determine the degree of punishment in the Lake of Fire.
As we wrap up our teaching today on judgment, a few thoughts:
• If you are not saved the only judgment you are in line for is the Great White throne. Why not be saved today and have Jesus accept the judgment for the sins He has already paid for?
• If we are saved, we need to maintain a consciousness of the Holy Spirit to be aware of when and how we sin, and maintain that short account with God. Confessing, repenting. Thinking on this thought, I remember another Lutherism: I cannot stop birds from flying over my head, but I can stop them from building a nest in my hair. This is a great thought in the difference of temptation and sin. Temptation will come but we do not have to dwell on it till the point that we sin. We can stop it at the thought level.
• Live with the view in mind that we not only need to not do wrong but to do right, and do it with a Christian attitude of love and compassion. Build our lives on the foundation of Jesus Christ’s salvation with gold, silver and precious stones not wood, hay and stubble.
(i)Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.