The Names of God


Judge of all

" Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”   Genesis 18:25

“The Lord reigns.... He shall judge the peoples righteously.” Psalm 96:10

Four thousand years ago, Abraham caught a glimpse of  God's anger toward Sodom and Gomorrah.  Alarmed, he told the  almighty Creator of the universe, “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked." Then, daring to question God's character, he added, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25

The answer, of course, is "YES!" God will always "do right!"  His ways are always consistent with His own holy and righteous character. No matter how much we -- His shortsighted, rebellious creatures -- challenge His ways, doubt His kindness and ignore His Word, He continues to be our wise and gracious Judge, "slow to anger and great in mercy." Psalm 145:8  

In fact, the wonders of His "right" judgments far exceed our limited understanding.  Ever since the fall,  His people have tended to judge both God and others from their own dim and distorted perspective. We want a  permissive God, so we interpret His mercy as license. We want Him to help us gratify our own desires, so we twist His guidelines into a blueprint for worldly success. Choosing our own ways, we blind ourselves to His.

The sad old picture of Israel -- "Everyone did what was right in their own eyes " --  could  as easily describe people today.  Now as then, we forget that God, not we,  sets the standard for right and wrong.  And we had better listen to Him rather than to our feelings or likeminded peers.

For "the Lord is our Lawgiver" as well as our Judge. [Isaiah 33:22]  His moral law (the unchanging standard of His Word by which He judges all things) is not like man's shifting ordinances.   Though He shows compassion and mercy to all who humbly repent and seek Him -- and though He  is forbearing (patiently delaying His judgment) toward the "wicked", this  mighty Lawgiver will eventually punish the proud and the presumptuous who mock His ways and minimize His Word. 

"What right have you to declare My statutes...  seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you?" He asks those who reject His law yet count on His goodness. Then He points to their lawless acts and speaks this warning, "These things you have done, and I kept silent; You thought that I was altogether like you, but I will rebuke you."  Psalm 50:16-17, 21 

We ought to fear His rebuke, but we rarely do.  Instead our natural inclination is to justify sin and complain when He corrects us. We just don't see ourselves as He does!  We rationalize our own rebellion, but judge our neighbors for their offenses.  We apply the last half of  Romans 1 -- the downward slide toward depravity -- to the unbelievers in our midst,  and see ourselves as "good enough"  by comparison.

But God doesn't see it that way.  If we belong to Him and are filled with His Spirit, He calls us to a far higher standard. In Romans 2, He asks us,

 "... do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things [referring to the list of sins in Romans 1], and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?"  Romans 2:3-4

How could we be "doing the same"?  We don't murder, steal, envy or commit adultery, do we?

Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5.  If I have nurtured anger in my heart or lust in my imagination, I, as a Christian saved by His grace, have broken His law and am "in danger of the judgment."  For example:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28

If I ignore this principle or minimize the seriousness of my sins (for which my Lord died), I have "despised the riches of His goodness." I have walked by my own feeble sight and failed to see the huge gap between His absolute perfection and the depraved patterns of my own human nature -- a gap that ought to highlight His patience and bring me to my knees in repentance, gratitude and genuine godly fear of the punishment I deserve.

I  don't want to "despise the riches of His goodness" by denying my own frailties and desperate need for the cross. I don't dare ignore my daily need for the cleansing of His blood, for His wise disciplines and for His renewing Life within me.  Prone to wander off His holy path, I cannot afford to ignore His warnings: 

“ not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28

 " Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!" James 5:8-9

“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you.... For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:37-39

"For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment." James 2:13

I dread the thought of stepping outside His shelter of mercy. I know how easily I forget the debt of sin He has forgiven me and, like the foolish debtor in the familiar parable, hold someone else accountable to a far smaller offense.  [Matthew 18:21-35] So I pray that my Lord will continually remind me to be patient, merciful and quick to forgive.  He has said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”-- and I don't want to get in His way.  It's wonderful to walk in fellowship with Him, but "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Hebrews 10:30-31

David, God's beloved under-shepherd and king, understood that well. Convicted and brokenhearted he prayed,

"Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge." 
Psalm 51:1-4

God doesn't make mistakes. Our Judge hears our every thought and sees all our deeds. He knows the intentions of our hearts far better than we do. He watches us day and night. He doesn't miss a step and He grieves when our actions bring shame to His name.

According to His righteous law, we deserve death! Yet, when we humble ourselves before Him in repentance,  our merciful Judge looks beyond our sins to the cross where Christ died in our place,  paid our debt and fulfilled God's divine law.  What an amazing exchange: our sinful life for His righteous Life!  Should we not daily live for Him and let Him use our lives to touch others with His love?

And shall we not, like Paul, press on "toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus?" Philippians 3:14   Because this devoted apostle had persevered in faith and obedience, he could face the end of his earthly life with absolute confidence in our righteous Judge. And more than anything on earth, Paul wanted God's saving ministry to continue through His other faithful disciples. So he left them with this wise counsel and heavenly hope:

" I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

     "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
      " For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."
2 Timothy 4:1-8

I thank God for opening my eyes to His goodness! Apart from His grace, I wouldn't "love His appearing." Most people either dread or deny that great moment -- with good reason. Whether they believe it or not, all will be resurrected and judged for their deeds in this life -- some to eternal life with Christ, others to eternal hell. For all must "give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead."  [1 Peter 4:5]  The key questions are:

1. Do you believe in the saving work of Jesus Christ?

2. Do your deeds show His life working in and through you?

If the answers written in God's heavenly record are "Yes!" our Redeemer has paid the penalty for sin, and you are free from the judgment of the law. You belong to the family of God forever! But if the answer is  "no," this scene follows: 

"I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.   The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. ... This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."  Revelation 20:11-15

Look again at those whose names are written in  God's Book of Life. If you are among them,  you are standing at the brink of the most exciting moment in all of your eternal life:

" For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

 “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come." Revelation 19:6-7

Until that glorious day, we can sing with David,

"Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
And let them say among the nations, 'The Lord reigns.'...
Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the Lord
For He is coming to judge the earth.
 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! "
1 Chronicles 16:31-34

Precious Lord, the all-wise Judge of all,

       We deserve death, not mercy; punishment, not peace. Yet you have reached down to us in love. You took the punishment we deserved, and  you canceled the debt of judgment against us. No earthly words can express our thankfulness for your amazing grace. But we choose to humble ourselves before you, fully aware that in ourselves we are totally unworthy of such love. So we bow before you in confession and repentance for all our foolish acts of rebellion against your ways and your eternal law -- be these sins intentional, presumptuous, unintentional or hidden to all but your all-knowing sight.

     Thank you for grace to stand before you washed in the blood of Jesus and filled with Your righteous life. Help us to walk moment by moment in the light of the eternal gift we have in Jesus Christ, our very life.

References:  Eternity

Deuteronomy 32:36, 39;  1 Samuel 2:25, 24:15-16;  1 Chronicles 16:29-34; 

2 Chronicles 20:12-13;  Psalm 7:10-14,  9:7-10, 75:7,  94:1-5,  96:10-13,  98:9;

Ecclesiastes 3:17;  Isaiah 2:3-4,  11:3-4,  51:5-8;   Jeremiah 11:20;   Ezekiel 7:3-4;
John 12:47-49;  Acts 10:42-43;  Romans 2:1-10,  2:16,  14:101;

1 Corinthians 4:3-5, 5:11-13;   Hebrews 12:22-29;   James 4:7-12,  5:9-12;  

Revelation 6:9-11,  14:7,  17:1,  18:10,  20:4-6.

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