Friday, July 1, 2011

Fundamental Teachings Part 24

Today we begin to wrap up our series on the fundamental teachings of the faith, with our continued discussion of the doctrine of eternal judgment, the last of the elementary principles which Paul lists in the first three verses of the sixth chapter of Hebrews.

I committed to doing this series for the simple reason that it is important for the body of Christ, it is important for us as believers to reacquaint ourselves with the fundamentals of the gospel, with the elementary teachings of God’s Word that we might know the foundation upon which we stand is stable, and secure, and above all that it is in Christ.

Very soon the manmade foundations upon which many stand will be shaken to their core, they will be brought to nothing more than rubble, so that only what is in Christ will remain, and what is tethered in God’s Holy Word will stand the test of the storms that will soon descend.

If any man claims to know God, yet does not know His word, then that man is a liar, and He does not know the one true God. As our knowledge of God’s word increases, our knowledge of God increases as well, because He reveals Himself through His word. We cannot hope to know God without knowing His word; we cannot hope to grow in God without growing in the knowledge of His word. These two things are symbiotic, and the sooner we realize we need to get into the Bible, read it, absorb it, live it, and know it, the sooner we will know God more fully and completely.

Now this may sound off topic, but it really isn’t because this entire series is about knowledge of God, and knowledge of His word. I want to just show one example wherein due to absence of knowledge, and absence of healthy doctrine, men even came to reject such fundamental teachings as the resurrection of the dead, and by association the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

In his first letter to the church of Corinth, Paul spends the entire fifteenth chapter defending both the facts of Christ’s resurrection as well as the importance of His resurrection. We all know the history of the church of Corinth, the selfsame people that Paul was writing to, we know that it was a church heavy laden with sin, and if anyone had the choice there wouldn’t be many hands raised if offered a pastoral position there. If you’ve ever taken the time to diligently study both first and second Corinthians, you will have realized that the reason for all the sin, the reason the church of Corinth was so removed from the truth of Christ, is the absence of healthy doctrine. This is the selfsame reason sin is so abundant in today’s modern day church, it is the selfsame reason why the church is powerless, it is the selfsame reason that the power of the Holy Spirit is not visible within the congregations of believers.

Although Paul had done his best to teach Christ, Him crucified and resurrected, others had come in after Paul’s departure and began to teach aberrant doctrine among which was the denial of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. We have the Word, yet men today do as those of old did, they bring in destructive teachings, or as Peter puts it destructive heresies, which confuse and alienate the children of God from the fullness of Him.

In his straightforward and sincere matter Paul the apostle of Christ, begins to dismantle every false teaching running rampant in the church of Corinth, reminding them that if we have taken His yoke, then we must walk the path He has set out for us, and not make our own path which will lead nowhere but to destruction.

It would be wise for many of today’s cutting edge, modernized churches to revisit the letters to the Corinthians, and see that there is but one way into the holy of holies, and that way is in the Christ, and through the Christ of the Bible. We cannot worship different christs, and hope to be welcome into the kingdom of the one true Christ. We cannot make our own path toward eternity and live with the expectation that it will lead to the same destination the narrow path of faith will. Our duty is to submit to the authority and will of God, being ever aware that His word is as a lamp unto our feet, showing us the way to a greater knowledge and greater fellowship with Him.

The reason for all this foolish doctrine we are seeing, the reason for all the deception in the church, the reason for all the sin, is that we have departed from the truth of God’s Holy word, we have departed from the path of righteousness, and no longer consider such things as the fundamental principles of Christ as necessary or even relevant for our day and age.

Due to time constraints, we will continue from where we left off in our discussion of eternal judgment, and one of the topics I wanted to discuss within the context of eternal judgment is the characteristics of God’s judgment.

The judgment of God will be a unique event, which will take place at a given moment pre-established by none other than God. God’s judgments will be eternal and irrevocable, with no possibility of an appeal. Once God passes sentence, it is done, and the possibility of His sentence being overturned is nonexistent. Unlike human courts, wherein men get to make appeals, God’s court already has all the evidence, it already knows the entire case from top to bottom, and when God passes sentence, it is always just and righteous.

God’s judgment will also be an external event. God has given man the necessary time to judge his inward parts, to judge his heart, He has given us a conscience which acts as a warning bell whenever we stray from God’s plan, and on that day He will judge mankind in righteousness.

The judgment of God will also be a visible event. Judge and accused will stand face to face, and for the unbeliever it will be for the first, and for the last time that this will occur. Yes, men will stand before God, with no possibility of hiding their hearts from Him, with no possibility of justifying their sins and refusal to repent, for God will know all, and see all.

The judgment of God will also be just and passed down on an individual basis. There is no such thing as collective salvation, and so there can be no such thing as collective judgment. Each individual will stand before God as an individual, each individual will be judged individually, and each one will be individually sentenced or rewarded. For the godless it will be a frightful day indeed, when they see the One they denied during their time on earth, when they will have no place to hide, no place to go, and no one to turn to for aid or comfort.

Another aspect of eternal judgment that I wanted to cover before our time expired, is who exactly will be the judge? We know that the Bible tells us God is the judge of all. This is plainly laid out in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 12:22-24, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of the sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”

Although God is the Judge of all, He will fulfill His work through Jesus. God the Father will delegate the judgment phase to God the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father.

John 5:22-23, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”

Now there are a few Bible passages that attribute the judgment to God the Father, but there are also biblical passages that tell us that the Father has committed all judgment to the Son. I want to go through a few of these passages, because we must understand and biblically so the complexity of both the judgment of God, and who the judge will be.

First, we will go through a couple passages that denote the fact that the Father is judge, and then through a few more passages that reveal the truth that the Father will commit all judgment to the Son.

1 Peter 1:17, “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves through the time of your sojourning here in fear.”

Romans 14:10, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”

So by these two passages, it is clear that God judges without partiality, and He has the complete authority to judge as He sees fit. As we continue through the word however, we see that God has given the authority to the Son.

Acts 17:30-31, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

2 Timothy 4:8, “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 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

So it is God the Father, who commits all judgment to God the Son that He might judge righteously. The Word also tells us that the angels and the saints will participate in some manner or fashion in the judgment of mankind.

Matthew 13:41-42, “The Son of man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

1 Corinthians 6:2, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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