There has been a lot of talk concerning Jesus returning in the future to judge every person for their sins. As if Jesus is going to literally descend on a white horse with a Sword emitting from his mouth, slaying everyone who doesn’t follow him.
God forbid he did return while there are perhaps millions of impoverished people in Africa, who haven’t even heard his Name. It would be truly tragic if they had to endure not only “hell on earth” but be killed personally by Jesus, only to experience “hell in the afterlife”…
But we know that’s not the Good News we call the Gospel.
Here it is very briefly and simply. Ask the Lord for wisdom and he will guide you into the Truth ~ Jesus has already judged sin once and for all. Not your actions. Not my actions. Jesus judged Sin, “the spirit” of sin. Sin…”the entity”. Sin personified.
Both Jesus and Paul spoke of this. Jesus in John 3, 12 and 16. Paul in Romans 5 -8. These will be the main texts that I quote from to articulate this Truth. I trust you will not take my word for it but do your own research…prayerfully and in the Scriptures. Proverbs 2 says (in summary) that if anyone seeks God’s Wisdom and Insight more than anything else has to offer, God will give them wisdom. Wisdom to know God’s righteousness and Judgement. To know God and understand the fear of the Lord.
Do that. Continue doing that. Never stop doing that. (By the way: Wisdom, Insight, Fear of the Lord, and the Knowledge of God are 5 of the 7 main aspects of the 7-fold Holy Spirit as described in Zechariah 3 & 4, Isaiah 11:1-3 and Revelation 5. So that’s a pretty good thing to focus on!)
THE JUDGEMENT OF SIN ACCORDING TO ROMANS
Paul spoke often about how the Law condemned and the Gospel justified. It’s the 2 sided face of judgement. Condemnation and justification. Because Judgement is not always negative. If you are declared guilty in Court, you face condemnation. If you are on the winning end, you receive justice (justification). In the Hebrew and Greek, this word for justice is most usually “Righteousness”.
The Law was unable to reveal Righteousness but it perfectly revealed Condemnation. This is actually one of Paul’s main points in Galatians and Romans. (Rom.1:16,17 & 3:19-21 & 7:6,7 & Galatians 2:16-21 & 3:19-24)
Consider how simply he stated it in 2 Corinthians 3 ~ God…“also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.”
Law? Ministry of Death and Condemnation. The “Negative side” of Judgement.
Gospel? Ministry of Life and Righteousness! The “Positive side” of Judgement.
Condemnation versus justification.
Which do you think Jesus gave? We will get there…but first on to Paul.
In Romans 3, Paul wrote about how everyone was guilty **under the Law** because everyone had the Law written on their heart but disobeyed it. He said “23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Paul began a very long contrast between Sin, the Law, Condemnation and Righteousness, The Gospel and Reconciliation. All who have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory have been justified freely by God’s gracious gift! Yes, they must receive that gift (see 5:17) but from God’s perspective, the Gift of righteousness has been given. The gift or righteousness is none other than Jesus Christ of course, whom God gave to the world. (John 3:16 and 1 Cor.1:30)
Then in Romans 5, Paul spoke of the contrast between Condemnation and Righteousness. Remember, these are 2 sides of Judgement.~ ”
17For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”
This gift of righteousness must be received (subjectively) but objectively it has been given. From God’s perspective, it is finished. From man’s perspective, it needs to be believed and received. What God has given us must be taken and applied. But notice that just as Adam brought condemnation to all, Jesus brought justification to all. Notice that Death reigned through Adam so that we can reign in life through Jesus. This idea of death reigning carries along with the end of the chapter and what Jesus said about the Judgement, which I will mention later.
Rom.5:21b “as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Who or what reigned until The Resurrection? Sin reigned in Death. Sin was king. Sin was in charge. Of who? Humanity. I believe Paul’s point is that Sin was like a spirit that ruled over the world. Everyone was under the power and authority of sin! This is exactly what Paul continued to say in Romans 6 and 7 when he talks about how we were all slaves to sin (6:6 &6:16,17, 20-22)
Originally from Adam to Moses, Death reigned. (5:14) From Moses to Jesus’ Cross sin reigned in death. But now sin no longer reigns! Why? Because the Law of Condemnation/Judgement has been accomplished. How? Let’s wrap up Paul’ words in Romans 8:3
“3For the Law being powerless in that it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent His Son in likeness of sin of flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh”
This is how Jesus revealed both the Justice and Condemnation of God! Jesus condemned sin in his flesh on the Cross. Paul brilliantly wrapped up what he started way back in Romans 1 (albeit the long way) and he brought both the legal condemnation of Judgement and the merciful justification of Judgement together in Jesus’ Cross. When Jesus reconciled the world to God by declaring Our Father’s perfect will of “forgive them” for all mankind, he simultaneously condemned sin once and for all. The evil spirit of sin was shown to be the killer, the one who worked in humans and defied the desire to do good that God had written on everyone’s heart. This is what Paul said in Romans 7 when he described his Pre-Cross condition and personified Sin as an active, living being inside him. Remember…sin was king!
But this is not the current state of the believer. It is past tense, because Paul said Jesus Christ set him free and still gave him victory a few verse later (7:25 & 8:1-3)
JESUS JUDGED SIN ACCORDING TO JOHN
Many people don’t realize that John spoke the most about Judgement. John used so much “courtroom” language like “Judge”, “condemn” ,”testimony” or “witness” because John revealed Jesus, the righteous Judge more than anyone of the Synoptics.
But we need to understand who or what exactly Jesus said he was judging and was not judging. We know that Jesus did not condemn the adulterous woman (unlike the Law’s requirement) just as He said in John 8. But did you realize that Jesus said the Father judges no one and had given all judgement to the Son. (John 5:22)
Jesus also said that he judged no one, so it’s not that the Father simply deferred condemnation for humanity to Jesus .(John 8:15)
We need to be sure that we properly hear this message. Jesus wasn’t saying Judgement was delayed. As if, Jesus was given the right to judge but he wouldn’t judge right away…No. Jesus actually said the exact opposite. Jesus said he had already come into the world “for judgement” but that judgement would be unlike any kind of judgement the world had ever known….(John 9:39)
Actually, he went as far as to say that he would not judge the unbelieving Jews who would later kill him at the last day! (John 12:47)
I hope you appreciate that these verses were given in order 🙂 Seriously though, up until now it was pretty straight thru. Now it’s about to jump around because I need to shape this judgement of Jesus for us.
If Jesus wasn’t judging/condemning people, how is he the Just Judge?
Immediately before Jesus went to the Cross, he announced the Judgement of the Ruler of the world. If you recall, Paul said that sin reigned. So Jesus was about to judge Sin. Not people’s actions. The evil and dark force or spirit that compelled people to sin. The Deception of unrighteousness as Paul called it. Evil personified. Was it the devil? I don’t know. Perhaps it was the wickedness that motivated satan….I really don’t know. But the point is that Jesus was about to condemn sin and Jesus revealed that this is how the righteous Judgement of God works.
John 12 ~ ” 44And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45“He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 46“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. 47“If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”
Jesus was declaring how the Father judges because he was revealing Our Father. The Father judged like a Light coming into the world. A world filled with darkness. Deception. Wickedness. Sin. This is the condemnation of the ruler of the world and not of the people of the world!
John 12:. 31“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
John 3 had already testified to this exact same idea.
We know that Jesus did not come to judge the world but to save it. We know that God sent his Son for this purpose and because of his great love for the entire world (John 3:16,17) but how hard to understand are the next few verses….?
3: 18“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “
I am convinced we need to know that the one who does not believe may be condemned but they are not condemned by God! Do not forget John 5:22, 8:12 and 12:47. God was not condemning anyone…ever! So they were already condemned but not by Our Father and not by Jesus. And don’t for a second think that God the Holy Spirit is condemning anyone either because the Holy Spirit does exactly like Father and Son. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
So this condemning judgement may be from external sources. Other people. But mostly it’s external voices. The law (which is written on every heart), people’s conscience…and most of all…the accuser of the Brethren. Satan condemns more than anyone else and he often does it through our knowledge of Scripture.
Continuing on in 3:
19“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
See, Jesus did indeed bring the Judgement into the world. Like a Light.
The Judgement is that many people actually hate the beautiful Light of Justice. Why? Because they are condemned by the very evil they do. They do not practice the Truth. They do not know the love of God and instead of receiving his love, which casts out all fear, they live in fear. They love darkness. They love their sins.
The Judgement is not **against them** though…It’s against sin. Sin ruled over people. Yes, people chose to embrace Sin but Paul made it very clear in Romans 7 that Sin was more powerful than people’s willpower.
Think of “Sin” like a spirit. Just as you can abide in God by abiding in love (1 John 4:16), you can abide in another spirit that is not God. This is where it gets interesting…Because God’s not Actively judging anyone because of sin. Jesus made that very clear. Recall John 5:22 “The Father judges no one…” and John 8:15 “I am not judging anyone…” God’s not judging people but he has judged Sin. In Jesus’ body, Jesus judged sin as an unfair, evil, wicked and lying ruler. Jesus condemned the sinfulness of Sin and justified the sinner.
If we choose sin, we choose to reject the free gift of righteousness (which is actually Jesus) and embrace the lie of condemnation, guilt, shame and darkness.
I think of it like The Judgement is a Fire. Since Love is God’s Presence that we can abide and dwell in, let’s think of Sin as the opposite abode. Sin is a “house” that we can choose to enter or even live in. The Judgement is God’s Fiery Zeal against Sin. God has condemned the house of sin. It’s burning with fire. We all know this. It’s obvious that sin is a dangerous hell on earth.
But we can still choose to enter. If we enter the condemned sin house, we experience Sin’s condemnation. It’s not judgement towards us. God isn’t actively judging anyone. But God has judged the house and his fire will consume anything that enters sins house.
This is the Judgement. It has come. I believe it continues forever. The Judgement is that The Light of Life has come into the world and people loved darkness and death rather than the glorious forgiveness, kindness, warmth and love of Our Father God. They are self-condemned. Condemned in their thoughts and conscience by the Law and condemned by evil spirits…but Our Father condemns no one.
How can we be so sure?
When Paul wrapped up his discourse on condemnation and justification in Romans 8, he quoted from Isaiah (as he very often did in Romans) and said ~ ” 31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies…”
Who is the “us”? The same us that God delivered Jesus over for. “Us all”. Who is for us all? God. Who justifies us all? God.
No one condemns us before the Father. Jesus died for humanity and therefore intercedes for humanity, just as Our Father ordained. Who can ever be separated from the love of God?