It is said throughout the gospels that Jesus came teaching and preaching the Kingdom of God and much of His teachings was on the subject of Judgment. Jesus said in Matt. 7:1 (NKJV)
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Also in John 7:24 (NKJV)
"Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."
In our search for a clear understanding of the heart of God, we must come to a true understanding of the judgment that Jesus was talking about and find out what His views are concerning judgment. The judgment that we have been taught in traditional Christianity has given us a false concept of God. One of these false concepts is this: "There is going to come a day when God is going to pour out His vengeance, wrath and anger upon humanity because of their rejection of Him, and disobedience to Him. That God is so angry at mankind that He is going to pour out horrible tortures upon them and then send them to a fiery torment where they will be tortured in unending agony throughout all of eternity."
We have been taught this concept mainly due to two things: Mistranslation of God's Word and natural understanding, rather than spiritual interpretation of His word. A natural, carnal understanding of the Word has caused almost all the conflicts between believers. You can have a natural understanding of the Bible and still not understand what God's will and motives are. Paul said in 1 Cor. 2:13-15 (NIV)
"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes
judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:"
Spiritual understanding of the Word only comes through seeking God intimately and spending much time in His presence. The man who wants to lean to his natural wisdom and understanding to interpret the Word of God will never be able to understand God's plan and purposes. The plan of God is hidden from the natural, carnal mind of man. Natural man can only understand with his natural mind and make natural understand try to fit spiritual understanding which is an impossibility.
To be able to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, you must have a heart that is seeking only God and His truth. I want to show you that God's judgment is just and righteous, not vengeful and hateful. Isaiah 26:9 says (NKJV),
"With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."
Psalms 82:8 says (NIV),
"Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance."
You can see from the above verses that judgment is a thing to be desired. When God judges the earth, all the people will learn righteousness and as a result He will inherit all nations because every knee will bow and confess His name. The judgments of God are to be taken very seriously because what we sow we will reap.
We are most fortunate in these days to have the prophetic voices of the prophets proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom of God. However, we must be careful how we hear these prophetic voices. Jesus said in Mark 4:24 (NKJV),
"Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given."
If we neglect the prophetic voices today we will not escape the judgment and the reward of our disobedience.
There are three basic ways that God judges us. First, for past sins.
Paul said in Romans 8:3-4 (NKJV),
"For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."
Also in 1 Peter 3:18 (NIV)
" For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,"
Paul said in 2 Cor. 5:17-21 (NIV),
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
It is very clear by these verses that God is not imputing sin to us, which means He is not holding us accountable. In Christ, we are made the righteousness of God. Peter said in 1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV),
"Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed."
John 1:29 says (NIV),
" The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
Ask most Christians if God has taken away the sins of the World and they will tell you, "No; just those who receive Him!" Yet, 1 John 2:2 says (NIV),
" My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."
Now, did He do this or not??? This is a question that all of us must face and answer and become convinced of. Paul said in Romans 3:23 (NKJV),
"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
Verse 23, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", is normally quoted by itself in many sermons but should never be quoted as such because to do so is to lift it out of context. Because verse 24 goes on to say that all who sinned have been freely justified by His grace. But if we quote it all together it takes away most Christians view of heaven and hell.
John 19:30 says (NKJV),
"So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit."
The word 'finished' means the debt has been paid. Strong's #5055: teleo (tel-ehÆ-o); from 5056; to end, i.e. complete, execute, conclude, discharge (a debt): accomplish, make an end, expire, fill up, finish, go over, pay, perform. As Jesus was dying, with His last breath, He said, "The debt has been paid!!!
Paul talks about the carnal, fleshly nature that we were born with in Romans chapter 7 . This is the debt that was paid in full by our Lord!! Even though God is not condemning us for our carnality, He is judging us. A better word for judgment is "correction", because the word 'judgment' has a harsh meaning to it today. Because of the teachings of the past most Christians have a view of God's judgment as a terrible wrath and angry manifestation.
Correction, however, doesn't sound so harsh; it is, but it doesn't make us think of anger and wrath. Because God loves us and wants us to be transformed into His likeness and image, He brings chastisement upon us. We have been taught in the past that the penalty for sin and unrepentance is eternal torment. If that is true then Jesus could not have possibly paid the price for sin because He would have to be eternally tormented.
Don't you see that there is something drastically wrong with the concepts we have received from the Word due to translation errors. When Jesus said, "The debt has been paid," it was like a divine eraser that erased the sin of the world. The world desperately needs to hear this good news of the gospel! They are not going to be judged because of the nature they received from Adam!!!
We have been taught that God is a vengeful God and that because some have lived many years in disobedience and have rejected God, He is going to pour out His vengeful wrath upon His creation. It is true that God is going to pour out His wrath , but His wrath is for correction and reproof and is not vindictive. The pouring out of His wrath is to destroy sin in our lives.
We are taught that because man has inherited this antichrist nature, and because he does what his nature dictates, that God will torture him forever in unending torment. This ungodly message, more than anything else, has been responsible for the distorted image most have of our Father God. It makes the cross of none effect for those who do not have the will power to change so accept the religious traditions of modern day Pharisees.
God does not condemn you for acting out of your human life. It is natural for you to live from the life that Adam gave to you. God is judging you and will continue to judge you, not because of you living by the life that you inherited from Adam, but because He loves you and His judgment and correction is to get you to turn to Him. Those of us who have turned to Him are Judged as Sons.
John said in 1 John 3:2-3 (NKJV)
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
Paul said in 1 Cor. 11:31-32 (NKJV),
"For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world."
To judge yourself means simply to be transparent. Don't try to hide and cover yourself up from God and others. We must learn to be honest and transparent before God and man. The writer of the book of Hebrews said in Heb. 12:5-11 (NIV),
"And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Did your earthly father ever discipline you? John said in 1 John 3:2 (NKJV)
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed
what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
When you look at me, I still reflect so much of my carnal nature. The things of God that are deposited in my spirit are being manifest in my to my soul and have yet to be clearly manifest in my body. God is doing a work in me (and in you), and one day we shall see each other as we really are; like Him. And all of this is happening because of His judgments and corrections.
We are children of God right now because Jesus paid the price to redeem us. Even though we have the knowledge of our position in Christ, we must grow up to become sons in both character and in nature. This is one reason why we are judged. If we really understood what judgment was for we would go to God daily for His correction. Most Christians, because they do not understand judgment, think that the devil is their problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. I will boldly tell you that the devil is not your problem.
We have been so blinded by some of the religious teaching we have had. The thing that is causing our problems is right between our ears. It is called the mind. Carnal nature and carnal thinking is our problem. The devil does exactly what he was created to do. To be a tool in the hand of the Lord that He will use to perfect His saints. The only power that the devil has over you is in your unrenewed mind. Once your mind begins to be renewed in the things of God, you will find that the devil is not the problem.
Christians for years have blamed their problems on the devil outside of them, instead of taking responsibility for their actions. God doesn't correct you, thinking that you're going to whip yourself into line with your carnal nature. The judgment is to get you to turn to Him, and then from His Spirit within you, you will find the strength to live for Him. When you learn to turn to Him instead of trying to get your natural carnal life to live godly, His Spirit begins to operate in you to infiltrate all the areas of your life that need transformation. This judgment has nothing to do with the natural man learning obedience. Yes, you must learn obedience, but your obedience must come from the new creation man created in Christ Jesus.