I was so blessed to read this devotional reading from Robert Wieland this morning. My friend Jiri Sanek sent it to me after I preached on the subject of the judgment. What a delight to find almost the same message with similar texts. The gospel is indeed good news!
Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
What role will God play in the final judgment? And in human day-to-day life? Someone is injured or dies in an accident: did God ordain that tragedy? Someone gets cancer: did God give it to him or her? Does God act in the final judgment like a judge in a traffic court--His decision is the final word? The usual answer implies, Yes. He has the power, and if you're smart you'll knuckle under. He's the Judge in the grand Traffic Court. Don't ask questions.
But there are some things that Jesus said that appear to give a different idea. Rather emphatically He said, "The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, ... because He is the Son of Man" (John 5:22, 27). You catch your breath when you realize what He said: we are all going to be judged by a human being! (Christ's divinity in no way negates the fact that He is also human, and will remain so for all eternity.) In other words, the judge and the jury are our peers! This is at last a "court" where not only does justice bear sway, but mercy also.
Then Jesus threw another bomb into our theology when He said, "If anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world" (12:47). That seems to indicate that the familiar evangelistic appeal is flawed: "Today Jesus is your Savior, your Defense Lawyer; if you don't get baptized, tomorrow He will be your Prosecuting Attorney and your Judge!"
Jesus makes plain how that is backwards: if you believe in Him, only then will He be your judge, and He will vindicate you! But if you believe not, He will refuse to judge [condemn] you: your judgment [condemnation] will be entirely a do-it-yourself process (vs. 48). In the end, even Satan will bow and confess the justice of his own self-condemnation (Rev. 5:11-14). Truth will help you with your day-to-day problems. Not force but love pleads, "Be reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:14, 20).
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 26, 2000.
Copyright © 2018 by "Dial Daily Bread.