The heavenly judge

206 the heavenly judgeIf we understand that we live, weave and are in Christ, in the One who has created all things and redeemed all things, and who loves us unconditionally (Acts 12,32, Kol 1,19-20, Joh 3,16-17), we can all Fear and worry about "where we stand with God" and begin to really rest in our lives in the certainty of his love and directing power. This is good news for the Gospel, and indeed it is good news for all, not just for a few, as we are in 1. Read John 2,2.

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 ghastly 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 so much the sinners whom he judges, that he died for them, and stood for them in their stead and for them! Even more than that, he stood up for them from the dead and brought them into the life and presence of the Father who loves them 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 the court.

God loves sinners, including you, so much so that the Father sent the Son to stand up for the cause of mankind and to draw all men, including you, to Him (John 12,32), expressing our mind and our hearts through the Holy Spirit transformed. God does not try to find things wrong with you to keep you from his kingdom. No, he wants you sincerely 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 this is eternal life, that they know the only true God whom you have sent, Jesus Christ," (Jn 17,3). It is not difficult or complicated to know Jesus. There is no secret hand gesture to decipher or solve puzzles. Jesus simply said, "Come to me all who are laborious and burdened, I will refresh you" (Mt. 11,28).

It's just that we turn to him. He has done everything necessary to make you worthy. He has already forgiven you all your sins. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "God shows his love for us in the fact that Christ died for us when we were still sinners" (Rom 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 so.

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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