The heavenly judge

206 the heavenly judge When we understand that we live, are and are in Christ, in the One who created all things and redeemed all things and who loves us unconditionally (Acts 12,32:1,19; Colossians 20: 3,16-17; John 1: 2,2), we can all put aside fear and worry about "where we stand with God" and really begin with the certainty of his love and guiding power to rest in our lives. The gospel is good news, and indeed it is good news not only for a few but for all, as we read in John.

It is sad, but true, that many faithful Christians are afraid of the final judgment. Maybe you too. After all, when we are honest with each other, we all know that in many ways we do not satisfy God's perfect righteousness. But the most important thing we need to remember about the court is the judge's identity. The presiding judge at the final court is none other than Jesus Christ, our Redeemer!

As you know, the Book of Revelation has a lot to say about the Last Judgment, and some of it may sound scary when we think of our sins. But the revelation has a lot to say about the judge. She calls him the one "who loves us and redeems us from our sins through his blood". Jesus is a judge who loves the sinners he judges so much that he died for them and stood in for them in their place and for them! More than that, he rose from the dead for her and brought her into the life and presence of the Father, who loves her as much as Jesus. This fills us with relief and joy. Since Jesus himself is the judge, there is no reason for us to be afraid of judgment.

God loves sinners, including you, so much that the Father sent the Son to stand up for the cause of men and to draw everyone, including you, to Him (John 12,32) by transforming our minds and our hearts through the Holy Spirit. God is not trying to find things wrong with you to keep you away from His kingdom. No, he sincerely wants you in his realm, and he will never stop pulling you in that direction.

Notice how Jesus defines eternal life in this passage in the Gospel of John: "But it is eternal life that they recognize you who are only true God and whom you have sent, Jesus Christ." (John 17,3). Knowing Jesus is not difficult or complicated. There is no secret hand gesture to decipher or solve puzzles. Jesus simply said: "Come to me all you who are laborious and burdened, I want to refresh you" (Matthew 11,28).

It's just that we turn to him. He did everything necessary to make you worthy. He has already forgiven you of all your sins. As the apostle Paul wrote: "God shows his love for us by the fact that Christ died for us when we were still sinners" (Romans 5,8). God does not wait until we are good enough before He forgives us and makes us His own children - He has already done it.

When we turn to God and put our trust in Jesus Christ, we enter a new life. The Holy Spirit dwells in us and begins to scrape off the thick layer of our sinfulness - sinful habits, attitudes, and mindsets - transforming us from the inside out into the image of Christ.

This can sometimes be painful, but it is also liberating and refreshing. Through this we grow in faith and learn to know and love our Redeemer more and more. And the more we know about our Savior, who is also our judge, the less we fear the judgment. When we know Jesus, we trust Jesus and can rest in full confidence of our salvation. It's not about how good we are; that was never the point. It was always about how good he is. That's good news - the best news anyone can hear!

by Joseph Tkach


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