God's Judgement

The influence of post modernism and relative ethics has caused many people today to see God as totally benevolent and loving. Tolerance is the buzz word and this is applied to God. He ignores our sins and wrongdoing and happily accepts us just as we are. The danger for many, especially in the churches, is that we ignore God's absolute holiness. Above all else, God is holy and holiness cannot tolerate sin. It demands judgement. It is of course true that God by his very nature is also love and it was his love that sent the Son into the world to save us by dying in our place on the cross. God's love is conditional upon our repentance and allegiance to Jesus as Lord. Refusal to repent results in a state of judgement now and in eternity.

God is sinless and pure and cannot tolerate sin and evil (Hab 1:13) but he is patient, waiting for repentance from people (Ps 50:21; 2 Peter 3:9). But he will only wait for so long because he has to judge evil (Ps 89:14)

Judgement is emphasised throughout the Bible. In Genesis the first couple were warned of judgement for disobedience (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:1-24). Abraham referred to God as 'The Judge of the whole earth' (Gen 18:25). In the Book of Revelation the coming of judgement is announced (Rev 14:7)

As people move more and more into unbelief and the church into apostasy (1 Tim. 4:1) God's judgement is ignored or toned down (Malachi 2:17; Ephesians 4:17-18)

Judgement will be fair and based upon the facts and the things a person has done and regardless of who the person is (Matt. 25:46; Luke 16:25; Rom 2:2-11). It will occur in the future and is final, that is, eternal (Matt. 12:20; Acts 24:25; Heb. 6:2) and the judge will be Jesus (Acts 17:31-32; 2 Tim 4:8)

The Old Testament
The words for judgement in the Hebrew of the Old Testament are shaphat and mishpot meaning judge or judgement. God judged Israel (Amos 4:12). There are a number of ideas in the Hebrew words: the religious aspect (I Sam. 8:5; I Kings 3:9; Judges 2:16, 18); the legal aspect (Amos 5:21-24); and discrimination between to parties (Exodus 18:16; I Kings 3:9). The Lord executes judgement (Isa. 50:1; Jer. 12:1; Micah 6:1 ff.; Ps. 9:8; Ezek. 7:27). Judgement Day is coming (Dan. 12:1-2; Joel 2:31-32; 3:7, 14, 16; Zeph 1:14-18; Mal 3:1-5; 4:1-6)

The New Testament
In the Greek of the New Testament the word krino has three aspects: krinein - to discriminate, judge; krisis - judgement; krima - be judged. Judgement is described throughout the New Testament, especially in the Gospels (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50; Matthew 25:31-46). Judgement Day is coming (Matt 10:15; 11:22, 24; 12:36; 2 Peter 2:4, 9; 3:7).

The Bible describes a number of types of judgement. Temporary (Gen. 15:14; Gen. 30:6; Exodus 12:12; Deut. 32:36) and final (John 12:48; Acts 17:31; Heb. 6:2). God judges Nations (Gen. 12:3; Isa. 26:9), people (John 3:18-21) and believers (Acts 5:1-11;1 Cor 11:30-32; 1 John 1:7-9, 5:16).

Elements of judgement
Facts will be revealed about one being judged in terms of motive, means and results
(Matt. 7:21-23; I Cor. 3:13; 4:5; Rev. 20:12-13). And an evaluation of the facts (Dan. 5:26-27; Matt. 10:15; Luke 12:47-48). And the verdict based upon the facts (1 Cor. 4:5). This decision will be based upon truth and the impartiality of God (Rom. 2:2-11) and the sentence will be fair and equal (Rom. 2:7-8; Gal. 6:7). For the saved believer there will be levels of reward for service (1 Cor. 3:14-15; 2 Cor. 5:10) and for the lost unbeliever there will be levels of punishment (Luke 12:47-48; Rev. 20:11-13).

Morality and Judgement
Humans are by nature moral creatures who instinctively know right from wrong (Luke 16:25; Rom. 2:1-2, 14-16; Heb 3:8, 15, 10:27). We have an innate sense of justice and retribution for wrongs (Gal. 6:7-8) and want to see evil brought to justice (1 Tim. 5:24-25; Rev. 14:13). Judgement is a principle that will be worked out (Heb 6:1-2) and makes sense of the need for Christ's death on the cross (1 Thess. 1:9-10)

One key reason for judgement is to deal with the injustices of this life (Hab 1:2-4, 12-17). Psalm 73:1ff speaks about this and sees the solution. Paul says that suffering and injustice will finally be dealt with (Rom. 8:18).

Justice will be fair because Jesus will rule and judge (Matt. 25:31-46; 26:63-64; John 5:22; 1 Cor 15:25) with an iron fist, or rod of iron, to use the biblical term (Psalm 2:1 ff). All authority is his (Matt 28:18; John 13:3). Jesus is perfectly qualified to be Judge. He is both God and man. As God he knows all things and is all-powerful (Matt. 7:21-23; Col 2:3; Heb 1:3) and and as man he knows about human life (John 5:27; Heb 4:15). He is the perfect mediator (Job 9:32-33; 1 Tim 2:5). Resurrected and glorified believers will share in the judgement of the world and of angels (1 Cor 6:2; Rev 3:21; 20:4-6; 22:5), probably by carrying out the decisions of Christ.

The world's judgement was meted out on Christ at the cross when he died for our sins. Satan was left without his ultimate weapon (John 12:31, 33). But for those who reject the saving work of Christ, judgement remains and this is guaranteed by his resurrection. Repentance is a must for salvation. There are those who teach that all are and will be saved and that sin is an illusion. That's not what Scripture says (Acts 17:30-31; Acts 10:42). Refusal to repent and be saved will result in judgement and eternal loss (John 5:22).

All will be judged (Deut 1:17; Isa 30:18; Jer 8:7; Mal 2:17; Heb 12:23). God is lawgiver (Isa 33:22) and perfect (Deut. 32:4). He will judge truthfully without changing his mind because he is truth (Isa 65:16). He is absolute Sovereign, all-knowing and all-powerful and so is able to judge everything (Deut 1:17; Ps 75:7; Isa 40:9-14; Heb 12:23). There will be no mistakes with God, no injustice (Gen 18:25; Ps 97:2; Isa 61:8; 2 Tim 4:8). He is also patient with us (Ps 94:2; James 5:7; 2 Peter 3:9).

There is more than one judgement meted out by God. Judgement upon sin and Satan took place at the cross of Christ (John 12:31-33; 16:11; 19:30; Heb 9:26-28 1 John 5:18-19, 2:15-17). Jesus took the sentence for our sin (Rom. 8:3) and believers have been crucified in him, that is, dead to sin and the world and alive to God (2 Cor 5:14; Gal 2:20; John 1:29; Heb 9:26). The cross shows the righteous judgement of God upon sin and splits humanity into those who have been acquited through faith in Christ and those who are condemned in their unbelief (Rom 3:25; John 3:14-18).

Another judgement will take place upon believers when they stand before Jesus Christ in heaven. This is not a judgement of condemnation but service and rewards where our lives and thoughts will be revealed completely (1 Cor 3:13-15; 2 Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10; Rev 19:1, 7-8).

Judgement will be upon this present age and this is described in Revelation chapters 4 to 19. It is the Great Tribulation (Rev 4:2-3, 5; 6:12-17; 11:15-18; 14:7; 15:1; 16:7; 19:11). During this time all false religion and deceived churches united together will be judged and destroyed, ironically by the Antichrist -Beast (Rev 17:16-17). The Whore of Babylon's time is up (Rev 17:1, 15).

Israel will be judged, having returned to the promised land (Ezek 37:1-14; Matt 24:31; Dan. 9:27; Rev. 13:5, 7; Zech 14:1-2; Rev. 16:12-16). The judgement will be so severe only a third of the people will survive (Zech 13:8-9).

Satan will be judged. (Ezek 28:13-14; Eph 2:2-3; Rev 12:7-12; Rev 20:1-3, 10; Matthew 25:41) and so will his angels (Rev 12:3-4).

At the close of the Millennium all unbelievers will be resurrected to stand before the Great White Throne of God (Dan 12:2; Rev. 20:5-6, 9, 11-13, 15). The verdict for all will be guilty and they will face the second death which is permanent separation from God in a void like condition of darkness, loneliness, silence and emptiness. The pain will be endless (Matt 25:41).