(Which I always want to spell judgement, by the way)
One of my first bibles had a color code. Grace was red, holiness was yellow, sin was gray, and judgment was blue. Or something like that. I remember reading the bible and skipping over the gray and blue bits…who wants to read about sin, or judgment for that matter?
As I get to know the character of God in my fellowship with him though, I find that judgment is becoming less of a scary word for me. In fact, I’ll even venture to say that it has a positive connotation in my life. Psalm 147 talks about God’s faithfulness towards Israel, and how blessed Israel is in comparison to other nations, because God has shown them His judgements:
He hath not dealt so with any nation and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.
How can something like God’s judgment be a blessing?
When I thought about it it occurred to me that the very name of Jesus means ‘redeemer, or saviour’, and this is what Jesus is all about. In John 5:22 Jesus tells the pharisees that the Father has committed all judgment to the Son, yet in another passage he says he did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it.
So, if Jesus is all about saving the world, where does his judgment fit in? I believe that the judgment of God ‘saves’ us in the sense that it shows us what we need to do to become more like Jesus.
The cry of David in Psalm 139 is a call for judgment:
Psa 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
It is interesting that this cry of David comes at the end of the one Psalm that tells us about how precious we are in God’s sight. We need to know that God loves us and that his intentions towards us are good, before we can really trust in his judgments.
God’s judgment in our lives is a precious and needed thing. Some things I have learned about judgment:
- It is something to be desired. (Psa 119:20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times, Psa 147:19 )
- It brings joy (Psa 48:11)
- His judgments are good (Psa 119:39)
- It is a source of hope and comfort (Psa 119:43, Psa 119:52)
- It teaches us (Psa 119:102)
- It quickens us and helps us (Psa 119:155 and 156, Psa 119:175)
- The fruit of God’s judgments in our lives is righteousness. (Isa 26:9 )
Where do we go to find his judgments? I believe they are found in his word:
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
It is when we allow God to speak to us and change us through his Word that we will be changed into his glorious bride. Hosea speaks about how God will betroth his bride to himself. Judgment is one of the things he will use in our lives:
Hos 2:19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.
I am not trying to put a trip on anybody with these words. The word of God is all about grace, and his judgment towards us is always accompanied by his mercy and the grace that enables us to change. If you look up the words judgment and mercy you’ll see that those words are used together numerous times in the bible. Mercy comes first – the bible says that mercy rejoices over judgment.
But for those of us who know the Lord, that He is a kind, merciful, compassionate savior, and that he is for us and not against us, it is a sad thing to reject the judgment of God in our lives. It really boils down to this: Are we willing to change, or do we want to stay where we are?