Understanding Judgment – Words of Grace Blog – August 18, 2023

Understanding Judgment – Words of Grace Blog – August 18, 2023

We are using the word “judgment” a lot these days. Isaiah describes God’s attitude and actions toward the sin of Judah and the nations in what can only be called judgment.

So, what are we to make of this word considering all that we have heard about how Christians won’t be judged with condemning judgment because they are forgiven by Christ?

The first thing to be said is that it is not true that judgment is for the Old Testament only, and that there is no judgment in the New Testament or for our day now that Jesus has died for our sins on the cross. The Apostle Peter wrote in the New Testament, “For it is time for judgment to begin in the house of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17). Judgment is an appropriate word to use today about Christians and the church.

Judgment will be a final, condemning reality for those who die without Christ. This is due to the sinfulness of humans. Christ died for our sins, in our place, that by faith in him we will be cleansed of sin and included in the eternal glory to come. You don’t have to be condemned for your sin. If you believe in Christ, you will not come into condemning judgment but will have life (John 5:24).

There is a current judgment that is happening to all people. For unbelievers, this judgment takes the form of exposing their sin, and of them being given over to further sin and its consequences. Without repentance and faith, the exposure of sin hardens the heart further. The fact that unbelievers continue in sin is not evidence that they are getting away with it, but that they are being judged by God (Romans 1). If you come to see that you are a sinner and separated from God, call out to him to be saved. Trust what Jesus did for you on the cross and become a Christian today.

For believers, judgment is designed to convict us of sin and lead us back to faithfulness to Christ through repentance. This kind of judgment is discipline. God disciplines his children because he loves us and wants to turn us back. Repentance is evidence that we belong to him and his Spirit lives in us. This judgment may reveal that some who once claimed to be Christians are not so because they do not experience conviction for their sin nor turn back to Christ. If you are a Christian, receive the discipline of the Lord. Respond to the truth of his word and the conviction of sin with confession. Walk in the ways of your heavenly Father and your Savior Jesus Christ.

As we read Isaiah and the message of judgment, remember that even today the Lord judges his people as discipline, not condemnation, because he desires that we come into the glory of his grace. Doing so will help us respond to the message in faith.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday.