In today's message, Derek talks about how God's Word is our judge. Many people don't like to think about judgment, but the fact of the matter is that judgment is a part of God's total dealing with the human race. Furthermore, in the last resort, the final judge is God Himself. This is clearly presented throughout the whole Bible. Someday we will all have to answer to God.
It’s good to be with you again today. I’ve been sharing with you on the theme, “What God’s Word Will Do For You.” Yesterday, I spoke about God’s Word as our mirror. I explained how when we look into the Word of God, it shows us not our outward, external features, but what we really are inside. It’s a mirror.
Today, I’m going to speak to you about God’s Word as our judge. Judgment is something that some people don’t like to think about, but the fact of the matter is that judgment is part of God’s total dealings with the human race. Furthermore, in the last resort, the final judge is God, Himself.
This is clearly presented throughout the whole Bible. God is presented as the final judge of the whole human race. Someday we’re all going to answer to God. Just let’s look at a few passages in Scripture that state this:
Genesis 18:25 Shall not the JUDGE of all the earth deal justly?
Judges 11:27 May the LORD, the JUDGE, judge today...
Psalm 58:11 Surely there is a God who JUDGES on earth!
Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our JUDGE...
We have to face this fact then that there is judgment and that the ultimate judge of all is God. It’s foolish and unrealistic to try to run away from the truth that we are going to be judged and God Himself is the ultimate judge. We’d better face up to this fact and act accordingly. Now the Scripture reveals that there is a divine order of judgment. In other words, God has His plan for how judgment is going to take place. stated very simply, it’s like this: when it comes to administering judgment, God the Father delegates the Son, Jesus Christ, but the Son, in turn, delegates the Word. So God the Father is the judge, but He has made Jesus, the Son, the judge and, in turn, Jesus has made the Word the judge. Let’s look how this is presented in Scripture.
First of all, let’s look at what the Scripture says about God the Father as the Judge. In 1 Peter 1:17, and bear in mind that these words are addressed to Christians, Peter says:
“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth...”
Obviously, those words are addressed to Christians because we are those who have the right, the privilege to address God as Father because of our relationship to Him through Jesus Christ. But that very passage reminds us that, though He is our Father, He also is our judge and He judges impartially according to what we do. And in the light of that, Peter says “conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth,” walk very softly, walk in the fear of God. Do not be proud or rebellious or presumptuous. So that’s what the Scripture says about God the Father as judge.
But now, let us see how the Father has delegated this judgment to the Son. We will turn to John 5 and read some verses there. First of all, verses 22 and 23. Jesus is speaking and He says this:
“For not even the Father judges any one, but He has given all judgment to the Son. In order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”
So we see that God the Father has committed all judgment to the Son, Jesus Christ, and then further on in John 5:26 & 27, Jesus goes on with the same theme and He says:
“For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; And He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.”
God the Father gave to Jesus the Son authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man. In that passage there in John 5, Jesus gives us two reasons why God the Father has appointed Jesus Christ the Son to be the judge. The first is that all should honor the Son as they honor the Father. And Jesus says, very specifically, “If we do no honor the Son, we are not honoring the Father.” One thing is very clear that, in any human court of law, the most honorable person present is always the judge. The whole court revolves around him and everything is so arranged so that he’s treated with great respect and has great authority. And so, we have to relate on that basis in that way to Jesus, as the Son. We have to honor Him because God has made Him the judge.
The second reason is that Jesus is the Son of Man. Not only the son of God, but also the Son of Man. Not only does He have divine nature but He has human nature and, as the Son of Man, He understands us. He understands our weaknesses, our frailties, and our temptations. And so, He’s a just and a merciful judge because He shares our nature. So, God the Father has delegated judgment to the Son but now we need to understand that, in turn, the Son has delegated His authority as judge to the Word.
Jesus explains this in John 12:47 & 48. He says this:
“And if any one hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but save the world.”
You see, that’s the very essence of the divine nature, to be merciful and compassionate and yet judgment in essential. However, the Father delegates judgment to the Son, the Son says, “Well, I didn’t come to judge the world but to save the world,” so he, in turn, delegates judgment to the Word. And so He says, “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” Then He goes on:
“He who rejects Me, and does not receive My saying, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.”
So, ultimately, the judge that we will have to face is not the Father, not the Son, but the Word. The Word is our judge. I explained yesterday that the Word is our mirror, it shows us what we really look like inside. But its also our judge. We have to answer to the Word of God. It’s going to be the standard of judgment. Everything in it will determine our destiny, so we need to be careful of our attitude to the Word of God. We’ve got to treat it with the honor that is due to a judge. Perhaps that helps us to understand what God says in Isaiah 66:2. He says:
“But to this one [this man] will I look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at my word.”
Why should we tremble at God’s Word? Because it’s our judge. Because it determines our destiny. Because it’s the representative of divine authority in our lives and we’re answerable to it as we would be answerable to a judge. Let’s cultivate that spirit, each one of us. To be humble, contrite of spirit, and to tremble at God’s Word, recognizing it as our judge.
And then in 1 Corinthians 11:31, Paul gives us a very practical application. He’s speaking about people who’ve incurred God’s judgment by partaking unworthily of the Lord’s Communion, the Lord’s Supper, and he says we do not need to suffer that kind of judgment upon ourselves and he says:
“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”
In other words, we can escape God’s judgment if we will judge ourselves. How can we judge ourselves? The answer is: by looking in the mirror of the Word of God, accepting what it shows us and realizing that, not merely is it a mirror but it’s our judge. In other words, humility, repentance, and obedience to the Word of God, deliver us from the fear of judgment. We have been given the opportunity by God’s mercy not to have to face the judgment of God’s condemnation or wrath upon our lives. How can we do that? We look at the Word of God. We see what it requires, we meet its requirements, and then the Bible speaks about the answer of a good conscience which is required of us as we profess our faith in Christ through baptism.
How can we have the answer of a good conscience? Not because we have not been sinners, not because we didn’t deserve God’s judgment, but because we have looked in His Word and have seen what is His provision of mercy and forgiveness and we’ve claimed it, in faith. And then we’ve seen the requirements in the Word of God for how we should live as Christians and we’ve applied those requirements and standards to our lives. And, as a result, we no longer need to fear the judgment of God. We’ve judged ourselves by the Word, we do not have to face God’s judgment on our lives.
All right, our time is up for today. Today has been my last talk on the theme “What God’s Word Will Do for You.” I’ll be back with you again at this time next week, Monday through Friday. I’ll be sharing with you then on a new and exciting theme. Before I close, let me ask you a practical question. Have you ever wanted to study the Bible for yourself but been at a loss as to how to get started? Well, I have prepared a book especially to help you, a Self Study Bible Course. It’s a complete course in 14 lessons that you can work through entirely on your own. It includes correct answers, explanatory notes and coordinated memory work. Over the years, hundreds of people have written to tell us of the help they have received from this course. So, stay tuned now for instructions as to how you may obtain the Self Study Bible Course and other helpful materials as well.