SPECIAL TOPIC: JUDGMENT IN THE NT

Judgment is certain (cf.  Matt. 12:36; Heb. 9:27; 10:27; 2 Pet. 2:4,9; 3:7).

A. The one who judges is

1. God (cf. Rom. 2:2-3; 14:10,12; 1 Pet. 1:17; 2:23; Rev. 20:11-15)

2. Christ (cf. John 9:39; Matt. 16:27; 25:31-46; Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1)

3. the Father through the Son (cf. John 5:22-27; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:16)

Judgment is an unpleasant subject, but a recurrent theme in the Bible. It is based on several bedrock biblical truths.

1. This is a moral universe created by an ethical God (we reap what we sow, cf. Gal. 6:7).

2. Humanity is fallen; we have rebelled.

3. This is not the world God intended it to be.

4. All conscious creations (angels and humans) will give an accounting to their Creator for the gift of life. We are stewards.

5. Eternity will be permanently determined by our actions and choices made in this life.

B. Should Christians judge one another?  This issue must be dealt with in two ways.

1. believers are admonished not to judge one another (cf. Matt. 7:1-5; Luke 6:37,42; Rom. 2:1-11; James 4:11-12)

2. believers are admonished to evaluate leaders (cf. Matt. 7:6,15-16; 1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:21; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; and 1 John 4:1-6)

Some criteria for proper evaluation may be helpful.

1. evaluation should be for the purpose of affirmation (cf. 1 John 4:1 – "test" with a view toward approval; see Special Topic: Testing [peirazō and dokimazō])

2. evaluation should be done in humility and gentleness (cf. Gal. 6:1)

3. evaluation must not focus on personal preference issues (cf. Rom. 14:1-23; 1 Cor. 8:1-13; 10:23-33)

4. evaluation should identify those leaders who have "no handle for criticism" from within the church or the community (cf. 1 Timothy 3).

 

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