Tuesday, January 20, 2015

To Be Judged or Not to Be Judged

Have you ever felt judged? Did it feel good? Probably not. Why then does the bible say?

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17

Will the house of God really be judged? Will God really judge His people? The bible tells us:

14 For the LORD will judge His people,
And He will have compassion on His servants. Psalm 135:14

According to this text God will indeed judge His people. But notice that the verse also says that God will have compassion on His people. How can God both judge His people and have compassion? Doesn't judgment mean something bad? After all we usually feel bad when someone else judges us, don't we?

Is it possible that we don't have the right view of God's judgment? Is the judgment really something to be afraid of? King David wrote:

Examine me, O LORD, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart. Psalm 26:2

David adds in Psalm 7:8:

The LORD shall judge the peoples;
Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness,
And according to my integrity within me. Psalm 7:8

It is clear that David wanted to be judged by God. But why would anyone want to be judged? Could it be that it is to our advantage to be judged? In Psalm 43:1 David explains why he wanted to be judged. He writes:

  Vindicate me, O God,
And plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! Psalm 43:1

David understood that the purpose of the judgment of the righteous is vindication. When we open our hearts to God to be judged by Him we are giving God an opportunity to vindicate us before the world. Unless God judges us He cannot establish to angels, to men and to the entire universe that we are established in righteousness. Just as a teacher must give examinations to a child to show that they have learned the material in the class so too must God examine His children to show they have received salvation.

For God's people the judgment of the house of God is an opportunity to be affirmed as children of the great king. The decisions made in faith, the choices to do what's right in the face of opposition, the reliance on Jesus are all evidences of a life that has surrendered to the Lord. Jesus explains that not everyone who professes to be a Christian will be saved. Jesus says:

 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." Matthew 7:21

This tells us that it is only those that do the will of God that will enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore God must have a way to determine if we are indeed abiding by His will. 1 John 2:17 says:

And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17

In a parrallel statement we read:

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. John 15:10

When we put this text together with the previous one we can see that keeping God's commandments is in fact doing the will of the Father. This means that God will judge us according to the commandments to determine if we are doing His will and should be allowed to enter His kingdom. This is why Jesus says in Revelation 22:12:

12   “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. Revelation 22:12

Jesus is coming very soon to give to every man according to his works. God will judge our works according to the ten commandments. But we have nothing to fear because Jesus says:

7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:7,8

Like King David you and I don't have to be afraid of the judgment. As sons and daughters of God abiding in the words of Jesus we should welcome the opportunity to be affirmed and vindicated as children of righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ.