In a number of posts now I have talked about how God is all about relationship. In “Spoons and Steaks” and “More steak please” we saw how the law is not a means for justification because the law is the wrong tool and justification is relational not behavioral. Simply said the law is the wrong utensil for a relationship with God. In the mediation posts hopefully you saw how Jesus is interceding from God to us. We need to see the love of God. We need to know how secure we are in His love. This is what Jesus does through the Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus does as the mercy-seat. This is what Jesus does as the revelation of God’s true nature. His nature hasn’t changed since He is steadfast love. He has always pursued us and shown favor towards us but sometimes only one sees His favor like Noah. Even the blood of Jesus is a wedding ring of covenant not an angry God appeasement. In the last post Godly Justice was revealed. He is in the restoring business not the retribution business. Are you ready for more? OK this one is really going to stretch you.
How about JUDGMENT…dah dah dah…insert Darth Vader music here…
It is actually comical how our fallen human nature fueled by the spirit of religion will have us running for the bushes yet again when we hear the word judgment. I say no more hiding. How about we rush into His judging arms? Yes I want His judgment. Think I am crazy yet? OK how about this first mention of judgment?
Gen 16:5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” (ESV)
I’ll save you all the Greek (in this case Hebrew) and just say the word means to judge but not like how we think. Other descriptors include decide and argue or plead a case. Remember the story? God had promised Sarai and Abram a child and they were childless and really old. Sarai later even laughs when God said she would have a child. Abram believed and it was the basis for his right relationship with God. Abram trusted God and understood God’s nature. He saw God as Jesus way before Jesus was a man. Abram had a revelation of God’s love, mercy and grace. Now years before the promise came Sarai and Abram thought they would “help God” by making Sarai’s servant Hagar a “surrogate” mom. You don’t see Abram arguing much (typical guy right?) but when the child Ishmael is born Hagar and Sarai aren’t getting along. Imagine that… a feud between two women over the same husband when one has been blessed with a child and the other is barren. Boggles your mind right? So in this verse above Sarai is “letting Abram have it.”
How does God “judge” between Abram and Sarai? They have a child of their own Isaac who becomes the first in a line that leads to Jesus. He was the father of the father of the Nation of Israel. God loved Sarai and Abram all the way into conceiving a child. Abram was around 100 years old and Sarai 90 or so. They were way way to old for the plumbing to work (if you know what I mean). So God “brought judgment” on them and they had a child. Funny thing is that story reveals exactly what God’s judgment looks like.
Later God tells Moses to appoint Judges. Moses just doesn’t have the capacity to settle all the arguments between the people. He desperately needs some help. God says to pick some judges and He would be with them all. He even says that the Spirit that was on Moses would be spread over the Judges so they could discern with divine wisdom like Moses. They weren’t “calling down fire from Heaven” like Elijah. They were settling disputes. They were hearing people plead their case. It was a process to find a divine solution to a problem or injustice between two people. Remember in the last post that Godly Justice is God fixing stuff. He isn’t looking for tit and tats. He is stepping in and repairing what was broken, healing what was sick, comforting those that hurt and bringing provision to those without. He rescues those that need to be rescued. He rights wrongs between man and man. And remember God’s right is always based on relationship not some cosmic morality code. Our fallen nature desperately wants a karma justice. Our fallen nature wants the offender punished, crushed, obliterated with as much suffering as possible. That is a fallen human crying out from the blood of Abel. Instead we have the blood of Jesus. God always makes it right as only a perfect loving and good God will do. That is His judgment.
I know I know…we have been taught over and over something very different. We have been told that this life is a cosmic test based on that non-existent cosmic moral code. We have been told that our performance will determine or destination. We have been told our bad choices will bring certain eternal pain and agony. Sorry to disappoint some but Godly Judgment is God setting right what is wrong for mankind. We can’t “wrong” God. Really, He has everything. He isn’t in the evaluation business. What purpose would be served to evaluate the very ones that He knows everything about and created anyway. He is in the relationship business. He sets things right for us. When the devil is kicking our butts…here He comes with judgment. When the enemy is lying to us over and over about an angry God…here He comes with judgment. When we have been oppressed and hurt and abandoned and offended…here He comes with judgment. It will likely look like a miracle child from an old couple instead of a sledge-hammer but it is still Judgment.
OK, try this illustration: What if Jesus asked teenaged Tina to bake a cake? How would it go? Would Jesus give her the cook book and say see you later only to show up and “judge” the quality of the cake? What if Tina doesn’t know how to cook? What if Tina burned herself when she was little and is afraid to cook? What if all Tina knows about a kitchen is it is the place where her mom was drunk all the time? What if Tina cooked a cake before and her dad chucked it in the trash? Come on, can you see it? What would Jesus do? He would bring justice and judgment. He would be right there with her the whole time. He would hold her hand when she cried. He would stroke her hair when she stressed. He would tell her how much He loved her when she doubted. He would help her stir and measure everything for her. He would tell her stories about His Father. He would sing her songs about Heaven. He would show her how to make the best cake ever. Then they would celebrate and eat the whole thing while laughing. All those old hurts He would heal. In all those old memories He would restore peace. For all those who caused her pain He would bring His forgiveness. She would be set free. She would be loved. She would know how valuable she is to Jesus. The cake is just a backdrop. Cooking is just fun with Jesus. There isn’t a test. There are only lots and lots of joy filled cake baking moments.
Making a cake is just human life. Why do we feel compelled to believe that God is evaluating our cake baking ability? He died for us. Maybe I should say it again. He died for us. Come on He died for us. If that doesn’t prove His intentions, what does? He gives us His eternal life which is Him in us while we bake cakes.
Jesus said He didn’t come to judge the world but we would be judged by His words (logos, manifest nature expressed). I want to challenge you that this “judgment” He speaks of is our willingness to believe in who He (JESUS, GOD, HOLY SPIRIT) is. Not believe in who we “think” He is but who He really is. That is why Jesus came. We get to see Him as His life and death and life again. That Jesus is our God. That Jesus brings His judgment and justice to the Earth. Praise God for Jesus. Imagine a world where we thought we were supposed to do it all by ourselves. Imagine a world where all we had was us. Imagine a world where we were required to bake cakes for the final home economics exam. What would that look like? Weeping and gnashing of teeth is what Jesus calls it. Listen, you need His justice and judgment. You need His relationship. You need His love. You need His power in you and on you and through you.
So I say bring on the Godly Judgment. I’m ready how about you? I love it when Jesus shows up. It is really awesome. It is really exciting. It is really fun. It is one big cake eating feast!