Is God A Judge? What Is God’s Judgment? Who Gets Judged?

What is God’s judgment and who gets judged?

Many Christians believe God’s judgment happens when He comes back. He will separate the goats from the sheep. God will get those nasty evil people who refused to repent and ask Jesus into their lives.

My goodness what a vindictive and punitive mindset to have about God who loved the world!

Scary judgment versus True judgment

Judgment is a confusing and scary topic. Religion makes it so.

If we do not understand His judgment through His everlasting lovingkindness, then it will continue to be intimidating, unsettling, and fearful.

Understanding of true judgment comes when we recognize that everyone is made in the image of God, God does not make bad reflections, and He sent His Son to restore this truth.

Is God A Judge?

Does God judge?

Sadly religious Christianity preaches that God is a judge – meaning, someday He will deal with all this sin in the world and all those sinners. He will pound the gavel and declare “guilty” or “innocent”.

Really?

What do we do with the following scriptures that negate this religious vindictive punitive mindset?

  • God didn’t send His Son to judge the world, but that the world be saved through Jesus. (Jn 3:17)
  • The Father judges no one (nothing) but gave all judgment to the Son. (Jn 5:22)
  • I can do nothing of Myself. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (Jn 5:30)
  • You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. (Jn 8:15)
  • …I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. (Jn 12:47)
  • God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them. (2Cor 5:19)
  • While we were sinners, Christ died for us and justified us by His blood and saved us. (Rom 5:8,9)
  • When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through His Son’s death, and since reconciled we are saved. (Rom 5:10)
  • Through one man’s offense judgment resulted, so through one Man’s righteous act resulted justification (GR. acquittal, absolution, approval) to all. (Rom5:18)

Sure looks like God is a non-judge Judge! Or His definition of judging is certainly different than ours.

Example of non-Judge judging

When Jesus said, “you judge according to the flesh, I judge no one”, He was speaking to those judging the woman caught in adultery. The self-righteous wanted to stone her to death, because the law commanded it.

But, Jesus had no words of condemnation. He came to fulfill (perfect) the law. Its perfection meant He spoke to her true identity. When He said ‘go and sin no more’, He didn’t mean do not commit adultery ever again. Jesus was exposing her emptiness and speaking of her true identity.

Sin (hamartia) means to have no share, to have no part, to be without, to be empty, to have no substance, to miss the mark.

Our mark, our identity, our part, our origin is God and He made us to enjoy and reflect His fullness of goodness. When we do things that don’t reflect Him we are without substance, without share. We are left empty as are others affected by our lack.

Jesus did not judge her actions, He spoke to her true being and for her “to be” so!

Meaning of Judge and Judgment

judge (krínō) – I judge, decide, to separate, distinguish, think good

judgment (krísis) – a decision, a judgment, divine judgment

Now, isn’t it interesting that ‘judge’ also means ‘think good’?

If “God is good and all the time God is good.”, then why wouldn’t His judgment be to ‘think good’ of all of us? Certainly something to think about.

Dig In

  • We tend to see judgment as a negative thing. We hope to escape God’s judgment because we believe it will be fierce. How quick we are to gloss over – God did not come to judge, but to save the whole wide world!
  • God’s judgment is reconciliation, restoration, salvation. The Greek word for salvation means deliverance, preservation, healing, wholeness. God is not against man, He is for man – His wondrous reflection. We have believed lies about ourselves. God’s judgment dealt a death blow to those lies and falsehoods. One day He is coming to make it very clear who we all really are, in the meantime He is bringing this truth here and now. Yay!
  • If we understood what His judgement really means, then exceeding joy would be our confidence and perspective. One big result – we would judge with a “righteous judgment” – just like His.
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2 responses to “Is God A Judge? What Is God’s Judgment? Who Gets Judged?

  1. That is the point of repentance. I do not deny that Jesus meant for the woman to receive his mercy So, she is forgiven, but she must now remain free of the sin of adultery. Remaining free from jusdgement depends on her being truly repentant. She must go and sin no more. Repentance is that turning away from a sinful life and walking in the ways of God.

    • Thank you for your comment Neavei. Certainly stirred up some thoughts. Here goes!

      If remaining free from judgment depends on being truly repentant, then who decides what is ‘truly repentant’? Is it measured by how many tears, how much guilt, how much regret? Is it measured by how much beating up of oneself happens? Who does the measuring? If God does, then when do we know He is satisfied with our remorse and groveling?

      From your perspective it appears the only way to prove we are ‘truly repentant’ is staying ‘clean’, that is not repeating the sin? If so, then it is up to us to ‘save’ ourselves in order to remain in God’s good graces. Therefore that makes God a conditional god, His love and acceptance depends on our actions. Who could ever be sure in a relationship with a god like that?

      I understand your take on repentance. It is the traditional religious teaching. Sadly the early church fathers put all kinds of conditions on salvation.

      A bit of history about that:

      The Greek word metanoia (to change one’s mind) became translated as ‘acts of penance’ and later as repentance (a repetition of penance). When scriptures were translated into Latin (382AD by Jerome), these doctrines of penance/repentance influenced the translation of the actual text.

      This mistranslation of metanoia in the Latin Vulgate has been pointed out numerous times. For example, in 1430, theologian Lorenzo Valla, highlighted this error. But the traditional doctrine of penance/repentance was deeply rooted in religious Christianity so his corrections were overruled.

      A little more on the meaning of metanoia – from two parts: meta (together with, change after being with) and noiéō (mind) – properly – think differently after, after a change of mind; literally – think differently afterwards.

      Here’s a great example of repentance: Peter had a radical mind shift after his open vision of being commanded to eat unclean animals. Peter finally grasped the revelation. God was showing him “not to call any man common or unclean (impure)”. (Acts 10:28) This was a huge paradigm shift for Peter! God was calling all men clean – Jew and Gentile. This went against all Peter had been taught and hence believed. But after being with God in that vision, there was a change of mind. Peter thought differently afterwards. Note it didn’t happen right away – he kept pondering the vision. (Acts 10:17) It wasn’t until Peter went to Cornelius’ house a couple of days later that he got what God was trying to say. (Acts 10:34)

      This fits with Francois du Toit’s further explanation of meta. Du Toit elaborates that the preposition meta implies influence. This is shown in the power of the gospel as it appeals to our conscience to ‘be together with’ God about our original design. Metanoia suggests a co-knowing with God, an intertwining of thought, an agreement with God about who I am. When this agreement happens, there is a changing of one’s mind which then lines up with God’s logos (Gr. logic, word, the name for Jesus – the Logos made flesh).

      I totally get the offense that grace-filled good news brings. Even understanding what repentance really meant brought a big shift for me. I had to work through all my struggles and objections when first hearing teachings that contradicted the traditions of religious Christianity that I had been taught for decades. But being open, study of scriptures and Greek meanings, began to reveal the fullness of Jesus’ incarnation, resurrection, death, ascension, and His mission to reveal the Father. A joy and wonder began to arise within me that could not be ignored.

      Additionally, it helps to remember a few keys about the Law. The law never dealt with sin, only exposed it. (Rom 3:20 5:13) The law was a tutor to lead us to Christ. The law showed us that only by Jesus’ faith are we justified. (Gal 3:23-25 Rom 3:30) The law had a lesser glory because it revealed to us we were never made to live by laws, but we were made for relationship and living His life through us. (2Cor 3:9,10)

      Truly the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life! Keeping laws and rules is not life-giving. If the woman caught in adultery had to make sure she never committed adultery again, then her focus would be on that and not on the life-giving flow of the Spirit’s fullness flowing through her. Better yet, having revelation of God’s utter unconditional acceptance and delight in us is finding a fullness that would cause (and enable) us to never want to stoop to such emptiness (sin/adultery) again.

      This woman encountered that kind of acceptance. When Jesus stooped to the ground He put Himself lower than everyone else. He humbly took on those accusatory words towards that woman. In kind on the cross He became sin. (Rom 8:3 Heb 9:26 Heb 10:10,14) When Jesus rose back up (same Greek word for resurrection) He declared no condemnation and innocence! (Rom 4:25) Oh the wonder of His grace for and truth about who we really are! Jesus and the Father truly reconciled and restored our true identity! (Col 1:19-22) To get that means repentance has truly happened!

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