Thursday, July 28, 2011

Some Thoughts on Judgment

Jesus' teaching on the fate of Tyre, Sidon and Sodom, as compared with Bethsaida, Chorazim and Capernaum, seem to indicate that there are degrees of punishment in the judgment of God.

Though there is not a lot written in the New Testament about this teaching, it does show that even in judgement God is just and fair.

Judgment is meted out according to the light given to the individual.

Indifference to the claims of Christ are a terrible sin. An encounter with Jesus demands a response, and not to respond is to decide against Jesus.

When Jesus speaks of judgement, we know there will be judgement. God’s judgement goes clear back to the story of humankind's fall from original righteousness and communion with God, found in Genesis 3. The first man and woman had the opportunity to grow in the knowledge of good and evil through obedience to the goodness of God and His word. But they were tempted to
1) Doubt God's goodness
2) Question God's word
3) Desire to be "as God" thinking one could have God's position and authority.

After their fall, Adam and Eve showed the effects of sin by hiding from God and by blaming others for their own wrongdoing. God judged the man and the woman in specific and distinct ways, but the chief judgement was the penalty of death which God had said would be the result of they chose to eat from the forbidden tree.

1) Their spirits died. Their deep communion with God was broken, which they proved by running away from God when He came to them in the Garden.
2) Their souls died. They experienced a break down of their originally righteous and good character as they suppressed the truth and laid the blame for their own sin on someone else.
3) Their bodies died. God said, "Dust you are, and to dust you will return," and eventually both Adam and Eve, as well as all their offspring, died.

These three aspects of death are eternal unless they are overcome by the work of the Messiah. In Christ we
1) Receive a new spirit, by the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which loves God
2) Receive a new soul, which begins to live for God,
3) Eventually every believer will receive a new body patterned on the resurrection body of Jesus, and has now a deposit on that resurrection power to live by faith.

Those who refuse to respond to Jesus will be judged. Many people today hear God’s word, and remain unmoved. They witness God’s power in someone else’s life and say, that’s okay for you, but it isn’t for me. They remain indifferent.

Rather than get special exemption from judgement, those who know God, and know His law have an even greater responsibility to obey God and honor Him.

When are you guilty of refusing to repent, and count on your standing with God instead to get you by?

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