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Judge or Advocate?

( [email protected] ) Feb 26, 2009 02:33 PM EST

John 5:22 NIV

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.

Picture this scene: A courtroom somewhere in America. The air is alive with tension as the defendant, who is guilty as sin, stands before the Judge for his verdict. Without hesitating, the judge says, "Not guilty," slamming his gavel down with a boom. The defendant leaps for joy and says, "I KNEW I was going to get off!!" Doesn't really present a pretty picture, does it? Or does it.....

That's the same scene that you and I will replay when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ. We will stand there, guilty as sin, waiting for His verdict. His incredible voice, pouring like a river of warm love over us, will - without hesitation - say, "Not guilty." And you and I will leap for joy, saying, "I KNEW I had been forgiven!"

It's hard for us to think of judgment that way, isn't it? Judgment, to us, is more akin to the scene that will occur at the Great White Throne - the judgment seat of God, where He will reign at the judgment of the damned. The passage is brief, but it is a deeply terrifying scene to consider. Let's look at that scene, as found in Revelation 20:11-15 NIV:

11"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

(Note that in verse 12, the book of life is distinguished as separate from the "books". No one in line at the Great White Throne will find his or her name written in the book of life. Conversely, no one whose name is written in the book of life will stand before the Great White Throne.)

That's a rough scene, isn't it? But that's one line the believers in Jesus will get to pass by. Why? Because Jesus is counsel for your defense! He's not the prosecuting attorney sent to trip you up and throw you into hell. Although Jesus states here that all judgment has been entrusted to Him, for those who love Him, He has already written our verdict on the cross with His blood. And today, He sits on the Mercy Seat at the right hand of the Father, constantly pleading our case.

Does this mean that we have a license to sin? NO! As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." We are responsible for the things we do, and if we love Him, we will live our lives in ways that will please Him, and we will do the "good works" He has prepared in advance for us to do for His glory. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

What this does mean is that you and I are free - free from the bondage of the law, free from sin and death.

Spend some time today thinking about what a precious gift He gave you, bought and paid for with His blood at Calvary, and how blessed you are to be able to enjoy His advocacy now, and to be able to await His judgment.

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