Several years ago I was reading of a vision someone had where the Lord told the man that one of the most neglected doctrines in the church is Judgement. At the time, I prayed asking God to give me a better understanding of judgment. And I find it amazing that in my research concerning UR, I’ve also come to have a radical change in my understanding of Judgment. I’ve come to believe that:
- We shall ALL face judgment, believer and unbeliever alike.
- Judgment is based on how we live, what we do with what God has given us, and especially how we treat others.
- Judgment is good for us, but terrible to face.
- Judgment is an eternal reality, something we can and should face in the present.
We shall ALL face judgment. There are plenty of scriptures that speak of this but traditional Protestant Christianity has the underlying belief that we believers will not face judgment. And if we do face judgment it is only to a) identify us as believers and thus acceptable to be in heaven, and b) to give us rewards based on the good works we’ve done. Thus “judgment” is not something for the Christian to “fear” or dread.
I’ve come to believe from my study of scripture though that judgment is not based on whether we have faith or not, but on how we actually live, what we do with the revelation, talents, gifts, blessings God has given us, and especially how we treat others. Through judgment we come face to face with the unshaded TRUTH concerning ourselves, and the unshaded purity, holiness, and love of God. Every deed, every word, every pattern of thinking and lifestyle will come under terrible scrutiny.
Frankly, this scares the hell out of me and yet it is something that I know is absolutely necessary to our healing and deliverance. The first step of recovery is recognizing that you have a problem. I’ve encountered the judgment of God. He invaded my life, uncovered my sin, and dealt with it and me. It was an “intervention”. I had to face the truth concerning some key aspects of my life. The light uncovered the wickedness of my heart. I cried for weeks - weeping and gnashing my teeth. On one hand I was weeping, so sorry for the evil I had given my life to, and on the other hand I was grinding my teeth in anger at myself for being so stupid. The truth of my own wickedness would have destroyed me EXCEPT the truth, the word of God, uncovered my sin in the light of complete grace, acceptance, love, and mercy.
As a father, I’ve had to bring judgment down on my children. In complete love for them, I’ve had to force them to deal with wrong attitudes, wrong beliefs, and wrong actions (especially wrong, destructive patterns of living). They had to face the truth concerning their actions and it worked in them good. In like manner, we will face God’s judgment.
Several things have helped me come to this understanding of judgment. 1) Have you noticed that most of the passages of judgment are voiced to the children of God, believers, calling us to repentance. They are warnings to “us”. And 2) rarely is “belief” or “faith” spoken of as what is being judged; rather, how we live is what is being judged, especially how we treat others.
So on one hand, though I’ve come to believe in the ultimate reconciliation of all humanity, all creation to God, I’ve also come to have a much greater (and I believe “healthy”) fear of judgment. Well, anyhow, I thought I’d open this thread up for discussion and maybe we can review some of the scriptures that speak of judgment.