Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Vindication: A Believer's Biblical View of The Judgment Seat of Christ - Part 4

(It is imperative that you read "Intro" and Parts 1 through 3 first)

Now Seated In Intimacy With the Judge

I have a question for you as we move into a deeper understanding of how God sees those who are His children. Do you think Christ, now seated in heavenly places beside the Father sits in fear and trembling? (“…when He raised [Christ] from the dead and seated [Christ] at His right hand in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 1:20) I would say that it is ridiculous to even imagine such a scenario! Ok now, according to the Word, all who are in Christ are also seated there beside The Father and The Christ, right? (“…and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6). So, if all who are in Christ are also seated now in such heavenly places, why do countless Believers approach God with such fear and trembling?

He is holy! He alone is Almighty God seated on a throne of glory, but He is my Father! I will declare this to my grave, if you see yourself as a “sorry ‘ol pathetic sinner saved by grace and doing the best that you can”, you have either 1) never been biblically born from above or 2) you are blinded to the reality of what took place at your salvation. Solution? Stop reading now and be absolutely assured that you have been biblically regenerated and can approach the Father with boldness and anticipation!

We are now seated in the heavens beside the Father and the Son! How can fear remain in the knowledge of the reality of such a great fact?

Many say, “I sure don’t feel like I’m seated there now”. Well, that may be true, but it is our responsibility to become acquainted with the Kingdom in which we now dwell. We know this carnal world and its ways backwards and forwards, yet it is no longer our home. How embarrassing that we know so little of the Kingdom in which we now dwell? We have been poor representatives of the land in which we now inhabit – the Kingdom of God. If you call yourself a Believer, it is your duty, your purpose to seek the Kingdom that is within you in Christ. It should be our goal to be deemed spiritually acceptable before God - at all times.

If we’re only enamored with getting everything right for “the end”, we’ve missed the whole point. This is why we’re to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness… here… now!

So what if we don’t seek His Kingdom and righteousness? Let’s look at Hebrews chapter 10. “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY ‘ And again, ‘THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Verses 26, 27 and 29-31)

A terrifying and dreadful encounter with God awaits those who receive the knowledge of truth and continue on in a life of willful sin, trampling underfoot the Son of God. I want to point out that the aforementioned verses speak of those who do not seek His Kingdom and His righteousness - “a terrifying expectation of judgment” for “those who go on sinning willfully”. Knowing this, can one not deduce that there is also a judgment that awaits those who do not continue on willfully sinning and embrace the Son of God? Of course – it is a judgment where vindication is pronounced! Knowing I do not live a life of willful sin, I do not have a “terrifying expectation of judgment”. Rather, I have a joyous expectation of judgment for I will, in the courts of God Almighty, be eternally vindicated!

As a follower of Christ, God is my Father, I am His son. He calls me by name, He knows me. I hear His voice. I ask you, do the sheep fear their shepherd? Do they run away in fear when their Shepherd calls? No! They run to Him – they hear His voice and follow for they exist to know their Shepherd and do as He wills. I believe that if the masses that proclaim to know the Father really did, they would not fear Him the way that they do. I’m not referencing a healthy, holy fear of God’s incomprehensible qualities. I am referring to a cowering in the corner dread of approaching God. There is a drastic difference!

To make this as clear as possible – people have told me that they just simply dread standing before Almighty God. Again, I do believe and understand the fear of God in regards to reverence and holiness - His ways are so far above my ways and I stand in awe of Him. But if He is my Father and I am His son, I should not have a fear of standing in His awesome presence, for I intimately know Him and He has deemed me worthy to stand before Him.

Part 5 will conclude this study and present several other Scriptures to study on your own.


steve martin said...

Great post!

You are His son and there will be no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

The last judgment was already held for you in your baptism (Romans 6).

This is the good news!

Joel Spencer said...

Steve: You are correct! One who is dead to what he was guilty of can no longer be punished for it. It is now Christ who lives in me!

NINA said...

I believe that if you are in constant fear and trembling of judgment, chances are that you should be. If you are in the right spirit and "born from above" there is a natural peace and comfort that comes from relationship with God. It's kind of like when you are a kid in school and the class acts up but you know that you were on your best behavior. When the teacher threatens to call parents you feel at ease because you know you have earned the right to redemption. I think the words of that old song "blessed Assurance" summed it up. When I think back at the time when I feared judgment most, it was when I most needed to fear it. If there is constant fear of judgment there is a need to examine yourself as well as your relationship with the Father. Good father's make you feel safe, so if you are in constant fear of The Father then maybe you are truly not a good son.

Harriet said...

EXCELLENT post Joel!

If we’re only enamored with getting everything right for “the end”, we’ve missed the whole point. This is why we’re to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness… here… now!


Joel Spencer said...

Nina: You've been the analogy queen lately - kudos! He is a loving Father, a Judge that desires to set people free. We are the apple of His eye!

Harriet: It is all about the NOW. The Kingdom of God is here, may we get about Its business!

Anonymous said...

i'll speak for myself and tell you why i think people and myself fear him. although we are christians and were baptized, we still sin. we sin and continue to sin KNOWING that what we do is wrong. sinning goes far beyond stealing, adultry, and murder...passing judgement, i feel is a sin. is it not? christians do it all the time to non believers. they feel that they are above everything. look at that jack in colorado springs, what do you think god is saying about him? if it were a non beliver, christians would point out the way to hell for him, right? but because he mentions god and jesus this and jesus that, all is forgiven in the christian community? it's people like him and the old school bible thumpers that make me sick. it makes me not want to step foot in one of the million dollar "churches" knowing that down the street hundreds of people are cold and hungry. church is a business, a multi million dollar business. so should you fear? i believe so, unless you walk the line the bible says you should walk, you should fear. in my heart, i could be a christian and let my physical and mental actions fall opossite of what is in my heart...i see it all the time, just walk into any church on any given sunday. the best churc i have ever been to is a homeless church downtown, those men were at least honest about their lives.

Joel Spencer said...

While I understand your personal reasoning, I'm attempting to allow the Word alone to define whether those who are in Christ should fear "meeting" God or not. I too have countless personal reasons why I should "be afraid", but they have no relevance if they're contrary to what the Bible states as how I am to approach it.

While I do still sin, when the Father looks at me, He sees His Son because I daily choose to abide in Him - Christ is my identity. At salvation, I chose to die to myself and live as Christ.

As far as "churches" go, the Body of Christ is His Church. It has nothing to do with buildings, but rather what takes place within them. We've all experienced what the "church" is not, it is time for us to be the church, the true Body of Christ.

Thanks for sharing your views.

NINA said...

Though I do not like to go by the name "Christian" for several reasons, I guess I would be what many people call a christian. The technical definition for Christian is those who follow Christ and his teachings. I found that the problem with many people is that they call themselves Christians and they are not. They do not follow Christ, which means that they are not doing as He did or following the instruction of His teachings. Many believe that He exist and they do not want to go to "hell" so they view Christ as simply a welcomed alternative to Satan, but have not accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. They accept him as Savior but not as Lord because they don't want to come under subjection to His rules. They are after God's hand and not His heart.Many people are living a lie that they fear will be exposed on judgment day and in many cases this is why people lack the assurance of redemption.All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, therefore we all must live in daily repentance with a pure and sincere heart. If we do this then there is nothing to fear, but fear itself.

Joel Spencer said...

Nina: You said, "Many believe that He exists and they do not want to go to 'hell' so they view Christ as simply a welcomed alternative to Satan, but have not accepted Him as their Lord and Savior."

Boy did you just say a mouthful! We could spend days on this point alone! Jesus Christ is NOT an alternative to the devil, He is all in all. So many do see it as shallow as this. We must do our part to exemplify The Christ in His fullness!

Disciple said...

Great. The serios of maturation is perfect. Especially for our day and time. While people are seeking the wisdom of the world, as they are instructed by so many, this is the wisdom we must truly seek!
If you get a chance, please come to 40 days for life in front of Smiths furniture, we can do some bible study together. We will be doing it until April 5th, but I am gone on the weekends. Could you make it this Monday at 3:30, or Wednesday at 5:45?
Please let me know. It would be so great! I would like to talk Buster (Mr. Smith) into having a section in front of his store for a permanant, 24 hour bible study. I think that would be so cool. Imagine the possibilities!