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Communion Meditations (2020)

 

On Judgment

Originally scheduled for August 23

It is a difficulty of the Christian life: our rule of conduct is the imitation of Christ, and therefore we are imitating what is already perfect. It is no surprise when our conduct falls short of the glory of God.

We may briefly examine today the difference between human judgment and divine judgment. Human judgment has its failings:

·         We have a tendency to be absolutely unmerciful towards other human beings, while being extremely lenient towards ourselves.

·         Perhaps out of a lack of confidence in our own authority to judge, we tend to be very legalistic in making our judgments. This is particularly true when you can cite a convenient Scripture — “2nd Hezekiah 3:16 clearly states…”

·         Appearances are very important in our judgment. No one wants to be seen as being “soft on crime,” for example. But it is easy to be merciful to the beautiful.

·         The standard of our righteous judgment — is our own! When we die, that standardize with us. The elderly among us will remember a day when their leadership condemned any number of things which now pass without notice.

Divine judgment starts with a very different objective. Divine judgment is a step towards mercy and grace. It is God’s will that no one should be lost in hell, and therefore he offers salvation to everyone who will accept it. That difference in objective changes the approach in judgment:

·         Judgment is based upon God’s eternal character. His character is that he loves his children and seeks their return to his fold. Therefore he tells the widow in John chapter 8 that he does not condemn her — but he also tells her to go and sin no more.

·         Appearances do not make much difference to God, for his way is much higher than ours. I am reminded that he told me that this is so — but he never told me that I would see how.

·         As his righteousness is eternal, his justice never changes.

Most of all, his judgment comes through his desires and objectives. He wants you to repent; confess and receive the grace of his salvation.

We see this at the cross most particularly. There is no mercy without justice; you see the justice when you remember that he is dying for our sins there. By his death he paid the price of our sins. By doing this once and for all he shows us that God wants all of us to come to salvation in Christ. He wants everyone to be saved.

Appearances? The cross was known to be a shameful death; Jesus despised the shame and accepted it for our sake. God’s judgment is shown to be done His way.

As you partake this morning remember that God has executed judgment upon Jesus on your behalf. He asks you to remember what he did; the bread, his body. The cup, his blood. Take it — seriously. He has shown you his justice so that you might receive his mercy. Therefore examine yourself. Repent what must be repented; confess what must be confessed. Receive again the mercy and grace of the Righteous God.

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