What is the Gospel Part 4: The Believer & Judgemnt

We left off with talking about the reality of forgiveness. We concluded that GOD in His wisdom condemned sin in His Son, that he may grant a pardon to the sinful without denying either His justice or His mercy. But the original question still remains: does this alter the righteous standard of GOD? Are these people whose sins are not imputed unto them giving a bye? Or are they somehow transformed to meet the perfect righteous standard of GOD?

Now it is almost undisputed that the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) teach that GOD will, at the judgement, reward or punish based on the works of the individual. Text like Psalm 62:12 & Proverbs 24:12 explicitly state that GOD gives to every man according their works. Isaiah echoes this point in his warnings to the nation of Israel (3:10-11); for GOD told him to say, to the righteous, that it will be well with them because of their deeds, and  to the wicked he pronounced a woe for the same reason. Like wise,  Ezekiel declares that GOD will judge everyone in Israel according to their deeds (18:30, 33:20). Jeremiah expands this to all men everywhere (32:19). But will GOD judge believers in this same way, or has something changed?

To begin at the end, We see in the 20th chapter of Revelation the throne room scene where judgement is taking place. In the 12th verse of the chapter it said that the dead was judged out of the things written in the books according to their deeds. It says that the “dead” shall be judged according to their deeds and the context implies that the word “dead” is the wicked or unbelievers. So, I say and was taught, only the wicked will be judged according to their deeds; while the Christians will be sought for only in the book of life. Therefore we will only have to account for our deeds (Rom 14:12), and will not be judged by them. Their works will either stand or be burned, but they themselves will be saved (1Cor  3:8-15).

But as I read through to the last chapter of Revelation (22:12), JESUS declares that he will “reward…everyman according as his work shall be.” And I go back to Romans 2:6-11 where Paul says that GOD will give to everyman according to his deeds, but he continue to expound the various rewards as: eternal life, glory, honor, and peace for those that do good; and indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish to them that do evil. Peter echoes this sentiment, after commanding us to “be ye holy” as YHWH is holy, by saying that the Father judges according to every man’s works (1Pet 1:15-17). The Eternal Judge Himself declares that those who have done good shall rise “unto the resurrection of life” and those who “have done evil to the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:29). Thus we must reconcile our view of judgement with the view of the Saviour. For He clearly continues the proclamation of the Old Testament prophets, and does not exempt the believers from this judgement. Likewise his apostles are in agreement with the prophets on this position, but they all still have full confidence that the believers will receive the eternal life promised to those that do good.

They can have this confidence because of the gospel. The truth of the gospel is not that the believer is granted a divine exemption, but rather they are transformed by the mercy and grace of GOD to  meet His standard. As it is said in Colossians 1:12 the Father “made us meet to be partakers of the saints in light.” In Ephesians 2:10 Paul says that we are “created in CHRIST JESUS unto good works.” He also says in 2 Cor. 9:8 that the grace of GOD can abound that we may have all-sufficiency to abound to every good work. And in Titus 2:12 he says that this grace teaches us to deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts”, so that “we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” He also says a few verse later that (v.14) CHRIST gave himself to purify a people zealous of good works. In Romans 8 after declaring that those who are in CHRIST have no condemnation; he says in verses 3-4 that GOD sent JESUS in the flesh to condemn sin “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.” Finally, for now, look at Hebrews 13:20-21 where the writer seems to believe that GOD can, through the blood of JESUS, make you perfect in every good work. Thus when we read text like Matthew 25:31-46 we do not have to do exegetical gymnastics; for  works do not brings us salvation, but are the testimony of true saving faith. GOD does not change His method of judgement but rather changes the wicked men who can apart from His grace do nothing good enough to be accepted by Him. So rejoice not that CHRIST has made us exempt, but rather he “has made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph 1:6). For yes our GOD is loving and merciful, but He is also just, holy, wise, and immutable. Thus this is the gospel: that we were born wicked wretched worthless beings; void of hope fit for destruction, but GOD in mercy took upon Himself the form of a human being that He may suffer on our behalf, removing our condemnation, through His sacrifice cleansing us from all our unrighteousness, and by His Spirit regenerated us that we may live as the sons of GOD in holiness abounding in every good work. These are truthZIFollow.

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Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm  Leave a Comment