Bible study lesson 15 - Judgment part 1 - Why a Judgment?
Purpose: To show that the Judgment is to vindicate the character of God. In the Judgment, God is really on trial, not us.
Theme: God's love will be clearly seen through the Judgment.
Bible verses to read:
- Hebrews 9:27
- Romans 3:23
- Romans 6:23
- John 3:16
- Hebrews 10:38-39
- Psalms 139:1-4
- Matthew 10:30
- Genesis 3:8-11
- Genesis 4:9-10
- Genesis 6:5
- Genesis 11:5
- Genesis 18:19-21
- Jude 7
- James 2:10-12
- Hebres 4:13
- John 10:27-28
- Revelation 12:10
- Genesis 3:4-5
- Ephesians 3:10
- 1 Peter 1:2
- Job chapters 1 and 2
- Revelation 22:11
Many people have the notion that Judgment Day is the day God wrathfully punishes sinners for all the wrong-doing in their lives. However, according to the Bible there is more to the day of Judgment than that. In reality, God's character is on trial, not us. The Judgment is a chance for God to clear His name to the entire universe.
Let's turn to Hebrews 9:27.
- According to this verse, can you escape the Judgment of God in death?
- Answer (highlight to read): No
The Judgment of God is so important and serious that even death cannot excuse you. The Bible says that dead people are resurrected to meet their appointment.
Why a Judgment?
A Judgment is an investigation of a case to reach a verdict/decision.
Let's turn to Romans 3:23.
- According to this verse, how many of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?
- Answer: All of us
We are all guilty of sin.
Let's turn to Romans 6:23.
- According to this verse, what is the consequence of sin?
- Answer: Death
The wages of sin is death, and we are all guilty of sin.
Let's turn to John 3:16.
- According to this verse, is it possible for us to be saved?
- Answer: Yes, if we believe on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Although we are guilty of sin, we have all been given an invitation to be vindicated.
Let's turn to Hebrews 10:38-39.
- According to these verses, is it possible to lose our salvation, if we so choose?
- Answer: Yes
The Bible does not teach "once saved, always saved." It is possible to be saved, but we can also fall back to perdition and therefore become lost because of our choices.
God treasures freedom of choice very highly. The power of choice remains with the believer, both before and after coming to Jesus. There is an "undo" button, and you can press it any time you want.
At some point, there has to be closure in our lives in order to see who has continued to be covered by the blood of Jesus and who has deactivated their salvation. Therefore, there has to be a judgment.
Why does there need to be a determination of the conditions of being saved or being lost for everyone? Doesn't God know everything? If God knows everything, then why investigate?
Let's turn to Psalms 139:1-4.
- According to these verses, what does God know?
- Answer: God knows everything.
Let's turn to Matthew 10:30.
- According to this verse, does God know everything?
- Answer: Yes, even down to the number of hairs on your head.
In order to understand God's judgment at the end of time, we have to look at God's judgment in the beginning. God makes Himself predictable. That is why there are so many stories in the Bible. God has been recording how He interacts with people, so that we can see how He will interact with us.
Pattern of judgment
Let's turn to Genesis 3:8-11.
- According to these verses, did God know where Adam and Eve were hiding before He called out to them?
- Answer: Yes
Why is God asking questions to which He knows the answers to?
Let's pretend there is a father who told his son not to eat any cookies before dinner. The son nods and then leaves the kitchen to go out and play. Half an hour later, the father hears a crash in the kitchen while he is paying bills in the den. When the father gets to the kitchen, he sees the cookie jar shattered on the floor, a stool by the table, and his son with cookie crumbs and chocolate stains on his face and hands. The father sternly looks at his son and asked him, "Son, what happened here?"
In this scenario, the father already knows his son broke the cookie jar by accident while trying to eat some cookies. The father's questioning helps his son to understand why he is going to get punished.
In the same way, God investigates before He takes action. This is not for His benefit, but for the benefit of others.
Let's turn to Genesis 4:9-10.
- According to these verses, did God know Cain killed Abel?
- Answer: Yes
Did God know? Of course He did. God is investigating for the benefit of Cain.
Let's turn to Genesis 6:5.
- According to this verse, how did God know the wickedness of man was great in the earth?
- Answer: He saw it.
"And God saw..," - God was taking a visual inventory of what was going on here on earth. It shows that before God does anything, He gets clear information first and acts fairly.
Let's turn to Genesis 11:5.
- According to this verse, what did God do?
- Answer: God came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
This passage shows a God who comes down to our level. He comes to get information first before making a judgment.
Let's turn to Genesis 18:19-21,
- According to these verses, why did God come down to Sodom and Gomorrah?
- Answer: God came down to Sodom and Gomorrah to investigate the great outcry against them and the grave sins they have committed.
God took on human characteristics and went the extra mile to illustrate that He investigates first before He acts. Jesus becoming a human being is the ultimate example of God coming down to our level to understand what we are going through.
God investigates before acting in judgment to inspire confidence in His leadership and fairness. Why then, is God so desperate to inspire confidence in His leadership and kindness?
3 Phases of Judgment
- Investigative (Pre-advent)
- Millennial- God presses pause while we look at books. We will end up deciding what God decided now we know what He knew.
- Executive – hell fire and final end to sin
3 Participants in Judgment
- Judge (John 5:22) - Jesus
- Lawyer (1 John 2:1) - Jesus
- Witness (Revelation 3:14) - Jesus
If you flunk at the Judgment it is only because you really wanted to flunk. The odds are stacked in our favor!
Standard in Judgment
Let's turn to James 2:10-12.
- According to these verse, what is the standard in Judgment?
- Answer: The 10 Commandments
We are judged by God's moral law - the 10 Commandments.
Let's turn to Hebrews 4:13.
- According to this verse, is there anything we can hide from God in the Judgment?
- Answer: No
It is not works that will be judged. Our outward actions are not the only things that will be taken into account. It is also our thoughts, matters of the heart, matters of the conscience, and our motives.
You might be asking yourself at this point, "What about the concept of 'once saved, always saved'?"
Let's turn to John 10:27-28.
- According to these verses, what do God's sheep do when they hear His voice?
- Answer: They follow Him.
The people in verse 28 can only be the people who live in verse 27...this only applies to those who are following God in the present tense. If you are not doing what God's voice is saying, then you are not His sheep, and these verses do not apply to you. If you read 2 Peter 2:20-22, you will see that the Apostle Peter is talking about people who were once saved, but are not anymore.
Let's turn to Revelation 12:10.
- According to this verse, who is the accuser accusing?
- Answer: The accuser is accusing God's people.
Not only does Satan accuse God's people, but he is accusing God in reality. By accusing us, he is accusing God. The Judgment is to vindicate God.
Let's turn to Genesis 3:4-5.
- According to these verses, what lie did Satan tell Eve?
- Answer: He told Eve that she would not die if she ate fruit from the tree God had forbidden them to eat.
In Genesis 3, remember what Satan said - "you shall not surely die." Satan is making God out to be a liar, that His warnings are meaningless, that God is keeping good things from you, and that essentially, disobedience will lead to happiness.
When Eve bit into the fruit, she basically was saying:
- God is a liar
- His warnings are meaningless
- He is keeping good things from us
- In disobeying Him, we will be happier
Satan's accusation strikes at the very character of God. The world is a stage and God is on a mission to vindicate His character in light of the accusations made at Eden. The issue of God's fairness is central to the great controversy between God and Satan.
Let's turn to Ephesians 3:10.
- According to this verse, who is God trying to make known His character to?
- Answer: To the principalities and powers in heavenly places.
Let's turn to 1 Peter 1:12.
- According to this verse, through whom was God using to reveal His character.
- Answer: God's people in the church.
The whole universe is involved in what is happening in our lives. Everyone is watching the tiny speck that is the earth. We are the focus of the entire universe. The entire universe is watching us because through our race, God is revealing His character to the entire universe. God is using our lives to teach angels about Himself!
The Judgment is massive because it is the great God of the universe Who is on trial because of the lies about Him. God needs our help! God's answer to the accusations of Satan, is to point to a human being! God is relying on us to vindicate His character.
Does it make sense that there is an investigation now? It is for the benefit of the angels and all the other unfallen beings out there who are going to be worried that God is trying to bring home creatures full of disease who hung their King upon a cross.
DOES IT MAKE SENSE THAT THERE IS AN INVESTIGATION NOW?
It is for the angels and all other unfallen beings because they are going to be worried that God is trying to bring home creatures full of the disease that hung their King upon a cross.
In the Judgment God is desperately looking for an excuse to take you to heaven and to show heaven that you are safe to bring home. The Judgment is not God choosing who will be saved or lost, but rather, it is God's way of recognizing those who have themselves chosen to be saved or lost.
God allows us to determine our destiny. All He does is acknowledge what we have decided. The scariest thing about the Judgment is that God will respect your decision. There are people out there who are falling away, but yet still have breath. Why? It is because God has not recognized their decision yet. It is not God's future decision that we need to fear; it is our own decisions we need to fear, the ones that we are making right now.
Let's turn to Revelation 22:11.
- According to this verse, what does God say about the unjust and the righteous.
- Answer: God says let the unjust be unjust still, and let the righteous be righteous still.
The key word in this verse is "let." God is not going to decide anything at the Judgment. He is just going to say, "Let it be!" Stop worrying about what God is going to do with you, bur rather, worry about what you are doing with yourself. CS Lewis once said that in the end there will be two classes of people. There will be those who say to God, "Your will be done" and there are those to whom God says, "your will be done."
My friend, which class do you want to be in?