The Judge of Life

KEY VERSE: “I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.” —John 8:18


A JUDGE’S duty requires more than simply the rendering of a verdict. Its preeminent requirement is that he first conduct a fair and just examination of all the facts concerning those who are on trial, and then to render a true and honest judgment of his findings. Jehovah God is “the Judge of all the earth.” (Gen. 18:25) And Jehovah is a God of love, mercy, compassion, and justice. (Ps. 7:9; 19:7-11; Isa. 45:21; I John 4:8) His first act of judgment took place in the Garden of Eden, when the whole human race, as represented in Adam, its head, stood on trial before God. His verdict was Guilty, and the penalty inflicted on the human race was death. The Apostle Paul explains this act of disobedience by father Adam and the far-flung effects of this judgment in a few words. He says, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom. 5:12) The result of the judgment upon the human race is plain for all to see, for all the world continues to this day to go down to the grave in death.

The only members of the human race who have in any sense escaped from this sentence of death are the fully consecrated, spirit-begotten, justified believers in the merit of Jesus’ shed blood as covering their sins. These, because of their faith, are looked upon by the Heavenly Father as righteous. Calling our attention to the scriptural example of justification by faith, Paul tells us Abraham’s faith was counted, reckoned, or imputed to him for righteousness. (Rom. 4:3,9,11) Drawing on the same Old Testament picture, James says that Abraham’s faith gained him friendship with God. He writes, “Abraham believed God, and it [his faith] was imputed to him for righteousness; and he was called the Friend of God.” (James 2:23) And Paul sums up his own argument on this point by saying of Abraham’s faith, “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it [righteousness] was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” (Rom. 4:23-25) These justified believers of this Gospel Age are counted by God as his sons, and they are now running for the great prize of the high calling. (Phil. 3:14) The Apostle John writes, “Behold [consider, examine, indeed—marvel at], what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: … Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that … we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:1,2) These shall live and reign with Christ for a thousand years in his coming kingdom wherein dwelleth righteousness.—Rev. 20:4-6; II Pet. 3:13

But to gain that glorious prize requires faithfulness and sacrifice unto death! It is only to those who are faithful to their covenant by sacrifice that Jesus promised to give the crown of life. (Ps. 50:5; Rev. 2:10) This present Gospel Age is the day of judgment for Jesus’ footstep followers. These are now on trial for the highest form of life in the universe—immortality. But let us never forget that it is possible to lose the prize! Paul says, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with … [Christ] we shall also live with him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with him; [but] if we deny him, he also will deny us.” (II Tim. 2:11,12) Again, Paul cautions us, “If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” Therefore, Paul urges us to “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised.)” And how glad we are that he reminds us it is “The Lord God [who] shall judge his people!”—Heb. 10:23,26,30; I Pet. 4:17

But after the church, the bride of Christ, has finished her course, there is to be yet another day of judgment—this time for all the remainder of the world of mankind. The inspired apostle tells us that “God … hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man [Jesus] whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” This coming day of judgment will last a thousand years. All who obey the laws of Christ’s kingdom then to be in operation will live forever. What a glorious prospect our loving Heavenly Father holds out to a suffering world of mankind!—Acts 17:31; Rev. 20:6; John 5:25; Acts 3:19-21; Matt. 25:31-46

Dawn Bible Students Association
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