Monday, May 20, 2013

Words of Comfort: Judgment Day


The Bible makes it clear that there will be a Day of Judgment. The Scriptures warn, “Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished” (Prov. 11:21). However, will the standard of judgment be the Ten Commandments, or something else? Some believe it be the words of Jesus that will judge mankind, based on John 12:48: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”

What words of Jesus will humanity be judged by? The Scriptures say the Lord would “magnify the law and make it honorable” (Isa. 42:21). This was the essence of the Messiah’s teaching ministry. The religious leaders had twisted and demeaned the Law so that its original intent was lost. But Jesus magnified it, showing that lust was adultery, that anger without cause violated its holy precepts, etc. He reminded them that not one jot or tittle of the Law would fail.

When Paul preached on Mars Hill, he warned the idolatrous Athenians, who had violated the First and Second Commandments, that God would judge the world “in righteousness.” The “righteousness” of which he spoke is the “righteousness of the law” (Rom. 8:4). Scripture tells us that the moral Law is the standard by which God will judge mankind: “For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law” (Rom. 2:12, emphasis added). James 2:12 also warns that the moral Law will be the standard of judgment: “So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.”

Those who may be tempted to say that the “law of liberty” isn’t the moral Law but “the law of Christ” should consider the context. The preceding verse tells us what James had in mind: “For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery’ [7th Commandment], also said, ‘Do not murder’ [8th Commandment]. Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law” (James 2:11).

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