Author: Ron Graham
Five Faulty Facts
—About the Judgment
There's really no such thing as a “faulty fact” since a fact by definition is true. However, sometimes things are presented as fact or taken for granted as fact, when those things are not true. So we will call them “faulty facts” for simplicity’s sake.
This lesson has five of them. Some folk deny that there is going to be a future Judgment Day. Others say that there will be a judgment day but not for the saved, not for Christians. Among the arguments made to support these teachings, you may hear one or more of the following faulty facts.
1 Faulty Fact: “The judged are already all found guilty”
Those who believe in God's Son will not be judged, and those who don't believe have been judged already. Jesus clearly stated this. It contradicts Jesus to say that the judgment is still future and believers will be judged in that judgment.
- Jesus said, "He who believes in the Son is not judged. He who does not believe has been judged already." John 3:18-21
- "He who hears my word and believes... has eternal life and does not come into judgment..." John 5:24
This argument seems quite compelling if you take into account only the negative side of judgment, namely to condemn and pass sentence.
However, there is a positive side of judgment which is to pronounce guiltless and to make an award for righteousness. When you take your cat to a cat show, you take it to be judged. But in that judgment you are looking for your cat to win an award. You are not expecting it to be condemned and put down! When Christians go through the judgment, they don't expect to go to hell. Christians will not be judged in the sense that they will be condemned or have sentence of punishment passed on them.
The passages used in the argument are referring only to the negative side of judgment. Nonchristians are "judged already" in the sense that they are in a state of condemnation because they haven't come to Christ for forgiveness. They are unprepared for the day of judgment. The outcome of their judgment is a foregone conclusion.
That's all Jesus meant. Of course, people can change this unhappy situation by believing and obeying the gospel. Then they will not be judged in the negative sense of judgment. They will, however, be judged righteous and awarded their crown of life by the righteous judge.
The following scripture chain shows that not all judgment is negative. Not all judgment is condemnation like Jesus was talking about. Judgment can be positive, declaring innocence, mercy, and reward. This is how the Christian will be judged.
- Pilate "decided to release" Jesus. That was a judgment (Acts 3:13).
- A judge can determine that someone is acting rightly (Acts 4:19).
- Christians are not under condemnation so in the judgment they will, by grace through faith, be pronounced righteous and not guilty, whereas others will be pronounced guilty and not righteous (Romans 8:1).
- It is a judgment to "be merciful to their iniquities" (Hebrews 8:12).
- To be presented before God "holy and blameless" is to be judged by God (Colossians 1:21-23).
- The judgment will both expose wickedness and award praise for righteousness (1Corinthians 4:5).
- The Lord will judge his people either as fallen or faithful (Hebrews 10:26-39).
- Paul said, "There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day..." (2Timothy 4:7-8).
2 Faulty Fact: “The outcome of judgment is uncertain”
When you stand before a judge, you cannot be certain what the pronouncement will be, and since Christians have a blessed assurance, without even one percent doubt, they cannot be in any uncertain position, therefore they won't undergo judgment.
If you are perfectly innocent, if the judge and the law are perfectly just, and if you have a perfect witness to bear you testimony, of course you can know without doubt the outcome of being judged.
That might not be possible in any earthly court, but it is most certainly so in the court of Heaven. If not, why not? Hasn't Jesus made us perfectly blameless? Isn't he the perfectly just judge and our perfect advocate to testify on our behalf? No wonder the Bible says we have confidence in the day of judgment! Notice that it does not say that our confidence excludes us from judgment. We will undergo judgment but we have complete confidence in the outcome —there's no shadow of uncertainty.
- "...we have confidence in the day of judgment..." (1John 4:17).
- "...full assurance of faith..." (Hebrews 10:22).
- "...confidence which has great reward." (Hebrews 10:35).
- "...perfect love casts out fear..." (1John 4:18).
3 Faulty Fact: “Christ cannot judge his peers”
All Christians have become like Christ and his peers. If he doesn't to be judged, then neither do they..
- "As he is, so also are we in this world" (1John 4:17).
- Jesus was "made like his brethren in all things" and is "not ashamed to call them brethren" who are sanctified in him (Hebrews 2:11,17).
His being our peer qualifies him all the more to judge us justly. But notice also that the full statement is: "As he is so are we in this world" We are still in this world and we are not yet in every sense like him, for "we shall be like him" when we "see him just as he is".
While he is "not ashamed to call them brethren", Christians are not like him in every way. He is, after all, not only human but also God. And he was sinless. Whilst there is a sense in which we are "as he is" (on God’s side).
There is also a sense in which we are not yet like him but "shall be like him" (glorified immortals). And there is, furthermore, a sense in which we can never be as he is (equal with God).
We must remember too, that our right standing with God depends upon us clothing ourselves with Christ who died for us. The reason he became like us was so that we could become like him. It is a privilege to be called one of Christ's brethren, one of his peers. This does not prevent Christ from judging us. Rather it qualifies him all the more to do so.
- "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God... each one of us shall give an account of himself to God" (Romans 14:10-12).
- "He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in him" (2Corinthians 5:21).
- God chose us in Christ "that we should be holy and blameless before him" (Ephesians 1:4).
- "All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" (Galatians 3:26-27).
4 Faulty Fact: “Christ will resign as judge”
Jesus is going to put his authority down, so he will not have the authority to act as Judge.
- "...when he delivers the kingdom to God, when he has put down all rule and authority and power" (1Corinthians 15:24 KJV).
It is not his own authority, but the authority of his enemies that he will "put down". Christ will not relinquish his authority. On the contrary, he will exercise it in abolishing the authority of his enemies. He is King of kings and Lord of lords and every knee will bow to him.
- To "put down all rule and authority and power" means to "put all his enemies under his feet" (1Corinthians 15:24-26).
- Every knee shall bow to Jesus (Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10).
- He is "King of kings and Lord of lords" (1Timothy 6:14-15).
5 Faulty Fact: “Judgment excludes grace”
Judgment will be of works and therefore judgment is contrary to grace.
Good works are not contrary to God's grace in any way. In fact it is the grace of God which teaches us to do good works. We are not forgiven of our good works nor are they forgotten like our sins. Therefore our good works are still held to our account.
When we are judged, our good works are recognised, but our sins are not held against us because they have been washed away by the blood of Christ. Is that not a judgment based on grace? So God can judge us by our works according to his grace, not contrary to it.
- God will "render to every man according to his works" (Romans 2:6,16).
- "If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace" (Romans 11:6).
- "As you have always obeyed... work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).
- The grace of God teaches us to be zealous of good works (Titus 2: 11-15).
- "So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty... faith without works is dead... a man is justified by works and not by faith only" (James 2:12-26).