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.


Ruth said...

Wow, talk about seeing some things in a new light! The example that you gave using the courtroom scene did it for me. God is just, He has no choice but to honor the plan that He set in place! We have really misunderstood this. I have at least. Thanks for taking the time to do this, looking forward to part 4!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic again Joel.

It is this understanding that lets us truly experience the freedom that we offered in Christ. Without it we are placing ourselves in bondage and calling it freedom.

Yvonne said...

This is just beautiful! You are looking marvelous seated in heavenly places IN Christ Jesus! You truly are bringing the body into a place of unity of the faith! This is such an important teaching and one that we must understand in order to prress in and onward with God. In order to go higher in the spirit you must know that you are the righteousness of God in Chrsit Jesus and have every right to enter in to the holy of holies by the blood of the Lord; you have every right to be there. We are kings and priest unto our God on behalf of the people. The priest of old were allowed entrance only once a year by the blood of bulls, but we have full access NOW by the blood of Jesus Christ! We enter by the high praises of God; the blood has already been applied! Glory!

Anonymous said...

so, does this mean that people can go out and sin because they are "christ" like inside? this is why i believe that religious people do the things they do and claim christ as a free pass. if you claim you are "christ" like, then you should be a bit nervous on judgement day. you should check your list on what you did and did not do, right? to go in and think that you are a guarantee into heaven is a bit cocky in my opinion. people do alot of bad things in the name of god, are they christ like? just because Bush says he is a christian, do his actions validate that claim? i wonder?

Joel Spencer said...

Ruth: You're right, God is just and must honor "His end of the bargain".

Mark Main: For far too long I thought I was free but I guess you never know how enslaved you are by something until you can look back as one freed from it. Until then, you likely don't even realize.

Joel Spencer said...

Yvonne: There is such power and assurance when one realizes where he/she is seated, how they got there and what is taking place there. We can never walk in a land that we don't even know exists.

Anonymous: You've asked some great questions. You said, "religious people do the things they do and claim christ as a free pass." Sadly, you're right, but, to be clear, I'm not talking about "religious" anything. A true, biblically defined, born from above follower of Christ doesn't squander and abuse the fredom he/she has been given. In fact, if you do, I'd challenge that he/she has really been regenerated.

You said, "to go in and think that you are a guarantee into heaven is a bit cocky in my opinion." I don't see it like this whatsoever. In fact, I don't even embrace the traditional "going to heaven" theory (but we won't get into that right now). The difference is, many choose to just get by "doing their best down here" in order to wait for heaven. I live here and now, establishing Heaven on earth - now. I'm not "waiting" for anything. With that being said, if I'm not absolutely assured that I'm guaranteed an eternity with my LORD, then my whole viewpoint is invalid because it is just a continuation of what I am already experiencing. I'm not waiting for "the sweet by and by" - the Kingdom is here, now.

Lastly, you asked, "people do alot of bad things in the name of god, are they christ like? just because Bush says he is a christian, do his actions validate that claim?"

People are people. All of us make bad decisions, act inappropriately and associate God with our own agendas and personal convictions.

If you commit a crime by yourself and then, when caught, attempt to drag me into it, does that make me guilty? Of course not. All throughout the Bible, God references people who profess to be speaking on God's behalf but in fact are doing no more than spouting their own gospel. This is why I often even hesitate to refer to myself as a Christian, knowing that I'm instantly misunderstood to be something that I am not.

Great questions - let me know if this makes sense!

Shogun said...

I wish you'd blog on MySpace, it'd make it a lot easier to least for me!

Blessings in Jesus! :)

Joel Spencer said...

Shogun: Come on, all you have to do is click twice. Is that too much to ask? :)

Yvonne said...

this is in reply to anonymous

so, does this mean that people can go out and sin because they are "christ" like inside? this is why i believe that religious people do the things they do and claim christ as a free pass.

The minute we accept the truth about the good news and enter into a relationship with Jesus; from that moment we are heaven bound as long as we continue in the truth! The new birth creates a changed heart not an immediate behavior change. Man looks on the outward but we have to remember that God looks upon the heart. As we behold him we change and go from glory to glory. It is God who convicts and changes a person. We are all on a spiritual journey whether we know it or not! Many people think that a christian is supposed to be this perfect person! The truth of the matter is we just realize that we are in fact what God says we are, a sinner saved by grace and it is only by his grace that we walk in the light as he reveals it to us. We can cooperate and walk deeper with God or resist and hinder the process but it is all a work of the Holy Spirit in a believers life! I believe that is the main point our brother is making in this teaching...It is all a work of God in our life and nothing that WE do. It is all about what God through Jesus Christ did for us! That realizatin is what liberates a believer so that they can have confidence to just BE who God says they are in the NOW. Now!!! not when you or when someone else feels you have it all together or reach some level of maturity! You are a Child of the Most High God NOW!

Joel Spencer said...

Yvonne: If people truly knew what took place at their salvation, EVERYTHING would be different within the Body.

We must know what we claim to base our entire lives on.