Tag Archives: Judgment

God’s Standard of Judgment

“Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:19-24, ESV)

When considering the way God judges and views mankind, there are different viewpoints man professes. Some hold that we have sin that is handed down to each generation because of the first man. Some say that most everyone is going to be saved no matter what they do because God loves everyone. But what does God say?

Here, through Ezekiel, God tells Israel that each person will be judged on one set of criteria: was that man/woman righteous before God? The sins of the father will not be placed upon the head of the child, nor will the sins of the child be placed on the father. Each person is held accountable for their own life and actions.

These are the same principles taught in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 5:10; Colossians 3:24-25). Nobody is going to be perfect in their own actions, that is readily stated here in Ezekiel. But when we strive for righteousness in everything we do and obey the commands God has laid before us, we are forgiven our trespasses. However, God is also clear that if we leave the path of righteousness and follow wickedness, none of our prior righteous deeds will save us while we follow that path.

Are you seeking righteousness before God? Your family and friends cannot save you, that choice is yours alone; for you will be judged based upon the choices you make in your life, not what anyone else has or has not done.

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Seeing Psalm 1 through the Right Lens

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psalm 1, ESV)

The contrast made in this short psalm is quite distinct. Sadly, the world often cannot see the points that are being made. They see an unrighteous man who becomes rich, a scoffer who has no worries, a lazy man who is able to live comfortably off of the generosity of others and they perceive that the psalmist was wrong.

The problem is that they are looking at this psalm through the wrong lens. Instead of looking at it through the lens of present day-to-day life, it must be seen through the lens of final judgment and eternity. In eternity, the righteous man of verses 1-3 will truly prosper. While that prosperity will be seen in many ways in physical life (physical possessions being the least of those ways), it will ultimately be seen in eternity. Equally, while the unrighteous may seem to get everything they want on this Earth, in eternity they will lose it all.

Remember the importance of seeing things through the right lens, for it is the only way we can keep our focus on Christ as we should. The final phrase of the psalm is the most important: “the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

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What Jesus said about Hypocrisy

“In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” (Luke 12:1-5, ESV)

We hear a lot from people regarding religion and hypocrisy. It is true that there are those who are religious people who are hypocrites. There are also a lot of non-religious people who are hypocrites. While the definition of a hypocrite is often far too broad, the word means: to present one face when you really wear another.

Jesus talks about the need to understand that, no matter what face we show to those around us, God knows our true face. God knows the one we show in the dark when we think nobody else can see. He knows the things that we say behind people’s backs that are the opposite of what we politely say to their faces. He will judge us for those things; nothing will remain secret.

We must work diligently in our lives to ensure that we are truly the people of God that we want others to think we are. Masks will not work, neither will lies and deception. They will not fool God. The only way we will succeed before God is to genuinely be what God desires in his servants. Anything less will fail.

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Our Destiny

It is common, in American society today, for people to talk about various things being “destiny.” They might be referencing a particular event or person with which they feel they were meant to interact. However, most reference destiny from a purely secular perspective without any thought for Biblical perspective or enlightenment of what true destiny is.

Webster defines “destiny” as, “Something that is to happen or has happened to a particular person or thing: lot or fortune” or “The predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible course of events.” With both of these definitions the emphasis is upon events that are predetermined to occur in such a way that they cannot be avoided. The Bible speaks of two different areas of destiny for every person on the face of this earth, but they are often not the destinies most wish to consider.

It is the destiny of every person to die

From the time he is conceived, man moves steadily toward that destiny of death. In spite of all the medical advances of science, there is no way to avoid death. It comes to everyone, whether old or young. Solomon deals with the topic of death on a number of occasions in the book of Ecclesiastes. A couple of examples include, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die;” (3:1-2), and, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (12:7). The point of Solomon’s inspired musings on this topic is seen in his introduction of the book when he states, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (1:9). Death is a part of life. It is that toward which all men move every moment of life.

Understanding this destiny of man, it is difficult to comprehend why so many put off their preparations for this inevitable event. Not from the standpoint of physical preparations, but spiritual. Every day, the majority of the world goes through life with no treasures laid up in heaven (Mat. 6:19-21), and no hope for the future (Eph. 2:12). The importance of preparing for death could not be overstated.

It is the destiny of every person to stand before God in judgment

Though the number of people who seek in any way to prepare spiritually for death may be small, the number of people who are prepared to stand before God in judgment is even smaller. There are many who will stand before God on the day of judgment rejected by him for not fulfilling his commandments (Mat. 7:21-23).

Paul affirmed that all would appear before God to give an account of their deeds when he wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). Solomon resolved, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecc. 12:13-14). We are all destined to stand before God in judgment of our actions, but many have not even begun to consider the ramifications of that truth.

There truly are destinies in place for every person. They cannot be altered or avoided and mankind must be prepared for them. They are not found in the ways many profess, nevertheless the question remains: are you prepared to meet your destiny?

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