God our Savior, God our Judge
By Jim Allen
A boy was swimming when he developed cramps. A man heard his cry for help and saved him from drowning. Years later this same boy and some friends robbed a grocery store and were arrested. When the young man appeared in court, he recognized the judge as the man who had saved him from drowning. The young man said, "Your honor, I remember you. You kept me from drowning." The judge responded, "Yes, I remember you....I was your savior then but today I am your judge!" (Author unknown)
We know about the "good and gentle" side of Jesus. We know about his miraculous conception and birth announced to shepherds in fields nearby. We know about Jesus as a child growing and going about his Father's business at the age of twelve, teaching the religious elite of his day. We know about Jesus' ministry that would take him to the cross. We know about his resurrection and celebrate Easter with lilies and trumpets. We sing melodious hymns laced with lyrics bearing witness to the risen Savior. We know a good deal about the mild-mannered Jesus who is our Savior. But, do we know about the Jesus who is also Judge, given all power and authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:19-22)?
God is Our Judge
The Bible reveals that the ruler of this world is already judged (John 16-7-11) and that his eternal punishment is for the appointed time (Revelation 20:10). The Bible also reveals unbelievers are likewise judged and found guilty (Romans 3:23). Upon their demise, unbelievers go directly to their appointed judgment without legal defense. Influence, power, fame, and money will not help them escape. Any request for special consideration will be denied. No attorney will be present to defend them. And, no backroom deals will be made. A judgment from God without mercy would indeed be a hellish sentence for anyone to bear. Yet, such a verdict would be like a sunset with no sunrise to follow.
Conversely, the Bible also reveals believers will not go to their just reward but pass from death to life (John 5:24). The "bypass hell" card is of great value. No disbelieving rich man could ever hope to purchase the card because it is not for sale. The "bypass hell" card was paid for by the shed blood of Christ (Luke 20:22) and is a gift to all who place their faith in Him (John 3:16). So then, in this sense, born again believers are wealthy beyond worldly measure. No amount of money is available to purchase such a gift. We receive the gift (who is Christ) by saving faith...oh that we could see the true value of this Gift and our possession of it.
What Does the Bible Say?
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: No man comes unto the Father but by me" (John 14:6). If Jesus is not the only way, then he is no way! When you choose Christ, you choose life and are born again by the incorruptible seed of God's word (1 Peter 1:23)! You become a citizen of heaven! You will not face the White Throne judgment of Revelation (Revelation 20:11-15). Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Although the world is overflowing with inconvenient truths, the most prominent among them is the one that says, "Everyone will make a decision about Jesus Christ." No one can opt out of this decision. To this decision one must choose wisely because what is decided has eternal consequences. Following the decision will come the most profound and soul searching question anyone will ever hear God ask, "What did you decide to do about Jesus Christ, my Gift to you?"
Image Credit: Tori Rector; "Justice Gavel"; Creative Commons
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