Sometimes you just stumble over something quite profound. In this case I was listening to a teaching by Bruce Wauchope. I would really recommend checking him out here. He has done the hard work of looking through history and mythology and doctrines and theories to show us “how we got here.” In this teaching he was “reframing” our understanding based on “no separation” and how that fits into concepts like “judgment.” If you have been following these posts for any length of time you know that our union and inclusion is the good news that Jesus revealed in His life, death and resurrection. So when you see “Christ in you the hope of glory” and “I am in my father and you are in me and I am in you” and “we are one” and “the spirit of Christ is one with our spirit” and “God was in Christ reconciling the WHOLE world”…well you have to think differently. Jesus called this new way of thinking “repentance.” We have to change our minds or at least agree to let Him transform us by the renewing of our minds. Then we can “see” what we couldn’t “see” before. Our eyes are opened to a Kingdom of Heaven reality within us. We stop waiting for a rescue mission and instead live our eternal life of knowing our Father now, here, in this present moment.
Wow that was a mouthful. In this teaching by Bruce there was a comment in the group that was barely audible on the recording. Bruce had mentioned this verse:
Heb 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, (ESV)
I’ve talked about that verse and the concept of “Godly Judgment” in a number of posts like this one. Check out a discussion on this specific verse in “Him catching us.” But for this post how about a new way of seeing judgment on our side of the equation? God’s judgment is always for us. God’s judgment is restorative NOT retributive. If He was to judge us in a retributive way I think all the Earth would have been wiped out after WE killed Him on a cross. Oh by the way…that is the point of the cross. We kill God and God forgives us. That should bring a shocking revelation of the true nature and character of our loving Father. He is waiting on the road for us. He is pleading with us to come into the party. He restores us to the family. He has no need for punishment. That would be pointless. We bring plenty of “wrath” upon ourselves by our choices in this life. We bring ourselves into “crises” all the time, don’t we?
So in the recording by Bruce the comment was “So Bruce you mean judgment like a crisis?” What!?!?! You have to be kidding….
OK, for all those who don’t have the Greek New Testament memorized…. Check out this Greek word we translate as Judgment:
krísis – judging, judgment, decision, sentence; generally: divine judgment; accusation
Oh yeah, I don’t have the Greek memorized either but as soon as I hear the comment on the recording this word jumped into my brain from previous “study.” He said “crisis” and I saw the Greek word “krisis.” Here is the English definition of crisis and the etymology (where the word comes from):
crisis: A time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. A time when a difficult or important decision must be made. The turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death. Late Middle English (denoting the turning point of a disease): medical Latin, from Greek krisis ‘decision,’ from krinein ‘decide.’ The general sense ‘decisive point’ dates from the early 17th century.
I hope you are “seeing” this.
Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “crisis of faith?” If it is used in a religious context the connotation is the opposite of what God intended. It can be used to imply “you don’t have enough faith so that is why your circumstance sucks or you aren’t healed” or whatever. Not Jesus. We can have a “crisis of faith” in the right context like when bad stuff or good stuff happens what do I think about God? When I read my Bible every day and didn’t miss a single church service for 30 years and I got cancer…. what do I think about God? When I haven’t lived a “good life” and have committed all kinds of “sins” and I win the lottery….what do I think about God (or what do others watching this happen think about God)? God is good in both the good and the bad. God is love always. My circumstance should have no bearing on my “faith” in Him. It is His righteousness (His good and patient and kind and loving and secure and assured and restorative relationship towards me) that is my faith. He is that good even when I am not.
So when the crisis arises what will I do? Will I blame God? Will I declare “God is punishing me?” Will I ask the faithless question “if God is so good then why???” Will I challenge His nature by asking “If God is love then???” Will I settle with Diablo inspired accusatory religion and say “God is bringing His wrath on them (or me) because they have been bad?” Really? Come on. Our crisis of faith is knowing who our Father is and who we are as His kids even when we are good or bad. Will we believe in the Abba that Jesus reveals even when it doesn’t “go our way?” Will we believe in our loving Father even when “stuff happens?” Will be believe in a good good God when the “world is going to ____ and we don’t like it?”
That is what I think verses like Heb 9:27 are all about. What the writer of Hebrews is describing is when we die all the veils will be removed and we will see our good good Father as He really is. We will see Jesus in all His beauty. We will see absolute forgiveness with no strings attached. We will see total restoration and acceptance and assurance. We will see a God who has never been offended by any of us, ever and loves and includes all of His kids, every single one of His children (all of humanity) without any conditions. We will be presented with this truth and it will bring a crisis. Will we let Him love us and accept us, all of us, or will we insist on our form of judgment and exclusion and conditions?
This “judgment crisis” thing works in other places too, like “the day of judgment.” Substitute “crisis” for “judgment” and you get “the day of crisis.” Here is an example where I made the change. What do you think?
Matt 11:22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of crisis for Tyre and Sidon than for you. (LLT)
…Jesus has done all these amazing things and the people hadn’t changed their minds. They still wanted their version of “judgment.” They were calling Jesus a glutton and drunkard and friend of tax collectors and sinners. They were rejecting God because He wasn’t like the messiah they expected. He loved everyone and rejected no one. Jesus is telling them that when the crisis comes (in this case maybe 70 AD) it will hard since they are still stuck believing in an angry, retributive-justice, Diablo (slanderous) God.
Here is another crisis…
1 John 4:17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of crisis, because as he is so also are we in this world. (LLT)
Now that should be pretty clear. When the stuff happens and it hits the fan and things are crumbling around us…which does happen…will we cling to the truth that we are God’s kids and He loves us unconditionally and He is not “bringing punishment” on us? Will we? Jesus tells us it rains on the just and the unjust. Come on.
The Heavenly Kingdom reality is within us. We have all the fullness of the Godhead in us. We are filled with the same glory as Jesus. We are more solid and real on the inside than the reality around us. We can never be forsaken or left or abandoned or rejected, ever. If Christ is for us then what or who could be against us? This is our Heavenly reality. This is the nature of our Abba. When the crisis arises, when the judgment comes, what will we believe? Will we have faith in Jesus or will we fall back into religion? Will we trust God or will we bring our burnt offerings to Molech? I don’t mean to be harsh but this is the “real crisis.” Will we believe in Jesus and the Abba He reveals or fall back into Adam? That is our real judgment crisis.