THE EMBARRASSMENT OF JUDGEMENT
(IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK)
1. The certainty of judgement is assumed – even emphasized – throughout the scriptures. Perhaps the most fundamental truth is: “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12).
2. Among people who are most aware of the emphasis, there is a soberness at the thought of judgement, but not a neurosis over it.
3. The aim of this study is to help us understand how there can be that healthy balance of realism and humility.
1. What’s No Surprise
a. It’s no shocking discovery that God would be able to know the most personal and private things about each one of us and our actions.
i. Hebrews 4:13 – “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
ii. 1 Corinthians 4:5 – “Therefore do not pronounce judgement before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.”
b. Neither does it come as a humiliating surprise that God will judge us according to what we have actually done.
i. Ecclesiastes 12:14 – “For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
ii. Romans 2:6, 11 – “He will render to each one according to his works.....For God shows no partiality.”
iii. 2 Corinthians 5:10 – “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
2. What May Be Embarrassing
a. “I’ve been in the Lord’s chair!”
i. Luke 14:8, 9 – “...do not sit down in the place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.”
ii. James 4:12 – “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”
iii. Romans 14:9 – “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living.” (cf. Acts 17:31)
b. “Others have done a lot of good!”
i. Luke 22:27 – “For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.”
ii. Romans 12:4 – “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function...”
iii. James 2:12, 13 – “So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgement is about mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.”
c. “My excuses have been awfully flimsy!”
i. Luke 14:18 – “But they all alike began to make excuses....I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it....I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I must go to examine them....I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come...”
ii. Jeremiah 17:9, 10 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
iii. Hebrews 11 may be thought through from this angle.
(1) When I say, “They didn’t treat me right!” – Abel will be there.
(2) When I exclaim, “No one has ever done it!” or “But everybody will make fun of me!” – Noah will be there.
(3) When I claim, “It’s too far!” or “That costs too much to make sense!” – Abraham will be there.
(4) When I object, “It’s taking too long!” or “But nothing ever happens!” – Sarah will be there.
(5) When I insist, “But it’s not fair!” or “It’s not worth it!” – Moses will be there.
1. There is in this line of thought one of the most lovely aspects of what is offered to us through the gospel.
a. Genesis 3:7, 21 – “...And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths....And the LORD God made for Adam and his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”
b. Zechariah 3:1,3, 4 – “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him....Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ And to hem he said, ‘Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.’”
c. Galatians 3:27 – “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
2. It’s as we sang this morning:
“When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee with unsinning heart –
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.”