Friday, January 23, 2009
Vindication: A Believer's Biblical View of The Judgment Seat of Christ - Part 3
(It is imperative that you read "Intro" and "Parts 1 and 2" first)
The Righteous, Impartial Judge
One of my favorite verses that refer to the righteous judgments of God is Acts 17:31, “Because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
What scores of Christians don’t seem to understand is that, as in any “trial” where judgment is pronounced, there can be two outcomes – guilty or innocent. One is judged, declared guilty and is then punished. Another is judged, declared innocent and is set free (vindicated).
We have errantly misused the word “judged” to automatically mean we’re all in trouble when the judgment seat rolls around. We must be mindful that absolutely everything is reliant upon the declaration of the Judge!
What many seemingly forget is that God is the only perfect Judge that executes flawless judgment. Therefore, if I have placed my life in Christ and He is now my identity, God surely knows my innocence because my “record” is now Jesus Christ’s record. All errors, wrongs and debts are paid in full!
When looking at this from a natural sense, imagine if I knew, without any question that I was completely innocent of a crime that I am standing trial for. I go before an absolutely perfect judge that knows every iota of every detail of my entire life and knows my innocence because he is all-knowing. How ignorant would it be for me to approach his bench riddled with fear that he would execute punishment upon me for what he and I both knew that I had been declared innocent of? That would be ridiculous, knowing that he is incapable of getting the verdict wrong. Yet Christians by the thousands approach God in such a distorted manner each and every day. He knows absolutely every detail of my entire life and knows that I have chosen to live as Christ, placing my entire being in His hands. Knowing this, He has no choice but to honor His perfect plan and execute not judgment, but vindication, for He is a righteous Judge! Do I still sin? Yes. Do I still walk and talk in this mortal flesh each day? Yes. But, I am a new creation and all that is not of the new creation that is Christ, is passing away. I will not be deemed guilty, for all that I am of the flesh, is dead. Can you prosecute a dead man? Have you ever seen a dead man propped up in front of a judge and sentenced? The only life that I now live is Christ! The only “life” that I have to be judged is His for He is my life! Do you see? The Father cannot deem the Son as guilty for all of my sins that were taken upon Him died upon the cross and were overcome by His precious blood!
Hebrews 9:14 and 15 gives us a good summary of this: “… how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”
For those who have been born from above, this is why it is imperative that we walk according to the Spirit and live a life continually being conformed to the image of Christ! 1 Corinthians 12 verse 28 references examining ourselves. If we are living a life continually doing so, then we maintain right standing with the LORD. The Greek word for examine is “dokimazo” which means to discern, try, prove and deem acceptable. Sound familiar? “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Romans 12:1 “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5
Thankfully, Paul understood what his relationship with God was after He believed and was born from above. In Romans chapter 8, he states, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”
When you are a child of God, a son, you now approach Him as Father. "Abba Father" insinuated an intimate and personal relationship. Again, in no way do we ever lose the awe and reverence of God, but to His children He is Father. So what you need to determine is, “Am I a son or a daughter of The Living God”? (There is so much more to “spiritual adoption”. I encourage you dig deep into the Word and find it!)
Part 4 will address the status of those who are seated with The Judge.