Jesus the Judge?

5 Points about condemnation based mostly on the words of Jesus ~

According to the words of Jesus ~ #1. The Father condemns no one (John 5:22) #2. Jesus condemns no one (John 3:17 & John 12:47)  #3. The Law condemns people (John 12:48)  #4. People condemn people (Matt.12:41,42) and finally #5. according to Paul in Romans 2:15, people condemn themselves.

 

THE JUST JUDGE ~

 

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.

Jesus came to save the world, not judge it. The reason it says “be saved through” him instead of something like “get saved” is because the Greek word used was a passive form and not active.

In other words, the world being saved was something Jesus did to the world, unless of course we doubt that God was able to do what he purposed. Please understand that I am not necessarily talking about every person experiencing the fullness of salvation that God has offered. There is definitely an aspect to receiving God’s free gift (Rom.5:17). But, the Good News was very clear that Jesus’ purpose was to save the world and not judge it.

Next verse ~ “The one believing in Him is not judged, but the one not believing already has been judged, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” ~ 3:18

Judgement wasn’t coming. Living in unbelief was living in the judgement! However, notice that it doesn’t contradict the previous words about Jesus not judging the world. It says that not believing is being judged but, it doesn’t say who has judged!

Have we assumed that God was the judge? What if Scripture says otherwise?

 

When the religious leaders challenged Jesus’ works and he revealed that he was the Son of God, they wanted to kill him because that equated him with God’s equal according to John 5:16-18.

19Jesus therefore answered them, “Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise. 20For the Father has affection for the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does. He will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires. 22For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son,23that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who doesn’t honor the Son doesn’t honor the Father who sent him.

It’s nice to know that God the Father is not judging anyone because the Father had given judgement to Jesus. But, remember that John 3 already declared that Jesus was not sent to judge the world but to save it! So even though Jesus has been given (by the Father) authority to judge, what did he do with it?

Read verse 21 again ~ 21For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires.

What if Jesus’ “judgement” was to give life to all? Not necessarily the same quality of life but some kind of life? Just hold on to that thought because the next few verses clarify ~

24“Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn’t come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

So those who heard and believed passed out of death into life. Sounds like a spiritual resurrection. Sounds like a person’s conversion. He seems to be talking about living people who heard and believed. What about the unbelievers? Who condemns them and what is their judgement?

Unfortunately, I don’t think he talks about them in the following verses. He then talks about the literally, physically dead people.

25Most certainly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead will hear the Son of God’s voice; and those who hear will live. 26For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself. 27He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man. 28Don’t marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, 29and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.

He went from talking about those who were physically living and hearing (present tense) to those who were physically dead and would hear (future tense). Notice that both good and evil are resurrected!

Who is the resurrection? Is Satan, The Accuser the resurrection?

No, Jesus is the Resurrection and the life! However, it’s not merely Resurrection that Jesus offered (because all would experience that!) but, the Resurrection of life! All Dead at that time would experience Resurrection but some would experience the Resurrection of Life and others the Resurrection of judgement.

30I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don’t seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me.”

Did Jesus just contradict what was revealed in John 3?

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 18He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” John 3

Impossible! It may seem that Jesus contradicted himself at a first glance but, if we remember that God’s will was for the world to be saved and not judged, we know that Jesus’ righteous judgement is not “condemnation” but salvation. Someone other than the Father or Jesus appears to be have been doing the condemning judging and Jesus was about to do the righteous judging!

Let’s not forget that Judgement (same word as justice) has 2 sides. Vindication for the righteous and condemnation for the unrighteous. So, we can’t always assume that judgement is negative.

But if Jesus was judging with mercy, who was accusing/condemning?

WHAT ABOUT CONDEMNATION?

Next verses in John 3~

19This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.

It sounds like the Judgement (same word as condemnation) was men choosing darkness and rejecting the Light. Men choosing the way of the Law and rejecting the Gospel. The judgement of man and the Law was without mercy but in the Gospel ~ Mercy triumphs over judgement!

Jesus is the Judgement of God but, it’s not a condemning judgement…it’s Mercy and forgiveness! It’s Light and not darkness but, they chose darkness.

Jesus confirms this in John 12. The setting is that the religious leaders had rejected Jesus for the last time before the Cross but, the Gentiles had come to Jerusalem to meet Jesus!

This is the end of the exclusive Jewish way of the Law and the Beginning of the inclusive Gospel to all Nations! Jesus immediately knew it was his time to go to the Cross.

John 12 ~31Now is the judgment of this world. Now the prince of this world will be cast out. 32And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

The Cross was the judgement of the world according to the Word in the flesh. Satan was cast out (Rev.12:10) and Jesus drew everyone to himself (2 Cor.5:19)

I believe that right now, too many mysterious parables in Matthew (written to the Jews in that generation) and misunderstood symbolic prophecies from Revelation are challenging this idea in people’s minds. But, these are Jesus’ words and not mine. We can’t build a theology on the complicated stories that were addressed, specifically to that generation almost 2,000 years ago.

We must build our theology on the plain words of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God in the flesh.

Jesus continues his “last minute warning to the religious leaders ~

44Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me, but in him who sent me. 45He who sees me sees him who sent me. 46I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in the darkness. 47If anyone listens to my sayings, and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him. For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. “

See. I told you that Jesus didn’t come to judge even the unbelievers. But get ready for a huge twist in the next verse!

48He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke, the same will judge him in the last day.”

Jesus is the Judge but, he isn’t the one judging! All of this was spoken before the Cross! Because the Judge was about to be judged by mankind under the Law so that God could judge mankind according to Mercy!

Jesus seemed to be saying what was said in John 3:17, John 8:50 and articulated in John 5 ~

John 5:39“You search the Scriptures (Moses/Law), because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me (Jesus is eternal life). 40Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life. 41I don’t receive glory from men.42But I know you, that you don’t have God’s love in yourselves. 43I have come in my Father’s name, and you don’t receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45“Don’t think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me. 47But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

The one who was currently judging that generation was Moses or literally, the Law.

Remember how many times Jesus warned that generation that “people” like “The men of Nineveh” and “The Queen of the South” would rise up (a resurrection term!) in the judgement and condemn them?

Because all of them were bound in the Law’s kind of judgement, which was without mercy. Moses and those Old Covenant “accusers” represented being judged according to the Law instead of the believers who were about to be judged by the Law of liberty! (James words, not mine ~ James 2:12

Why did we ever get the idea that God is the one condemning people?

Because of how much we listen to condemning thoughts and we think God is like us.

According to the words of Jesus ~ #1. The Father condemns no one (John 5:22) #2. Jesus condemns no one (John 3:17 & John 12:47)  #3. The Law condemns people (John 12:48)  #4. People condemn people (Matt.12:41,42) and finally #5. according to Paul in Romans 2:15, people condemn themselves.

14For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Yes, God is the Judge. But, what if his judgement is life and mercy? According to Paul, the Gentile (unbelievers at that time) could not only accuse themselves but also excuse themselves on the Day of Judgement!

I don’t even know what that means but, I believe it’s only because of faith in Jesus’ Atonement that anyone can have a clean conscience (Heb.10:22 & 9:14)

I realize this raises more questions than answers and is by no means a complete study. Hopefully, this encourages you to seek the Lord on your own regarding his Justice. Proverbs 2 promises that whoever seeks the Holy Spirit of Wisdom and insight more than anything this world has to offer will know his righteousness and justice.

In my opinion, there is nothing more important to believers than seeing God’s justice and righteousness through the lens of His unfailing love.

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