Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Is there Such a Thing as Righteous Judgment?

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.

Likely by now everyone knows the names of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.  My wife and I had to quit watching the major news channels because of the way that George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin were being tried by the media.  The news organizations weren’t just reporting the news, they were editorializing and making the news.  When George Zimmerman was acquitted (he was not found innocent) then everyone and their Uncle Dudley decided that they knew more about the case than the jurors did, and the trial has effectively continued through commentators and news organizations. 

I thank God that we have the system we have when it comes to criminal trials, but it is for certain that a lynching mentality still exits in this country.  We are protected by a legal system that says that we are innocent unless proven guilty beyond a REASONABLE doubt.  Is this a “righteous” system?    Probably not.  Is there a better system provided by earthly governments?  No!  And even under this system current forensic techniques on evidence that is available from older trials has now proven that many innocent people have been found guilty.  Even though we personally may not agree with the verdict in the Martin/Zimmerman case, we have to recognize that a jury that heard all the evidence spoke.  And they felt that the prosecution had not proved Zimmerman guilty beyond a REASONABLE doubt.  Do we understand that the legal system that spoke here, might one day be the legal system that protects us and our families from lynchings and mob rule?  I did watch enough of the trial to be able to say that I thought the judge was superb.  In this case, she didn’t decide guilt or innocence, but she did guide the trial and she did try to maintain order and keep the trial fair. 

Judging in the Bible was not by jurors, it was by Kings or appointed judges or elders.  The only righteous verdict that I can remember being recorded in the Bible was when Solomon used common sense to decide who was the mother of a living baby when two women were claiming him.  One of their babies had died by being unintentionally suffocated in the night by a mother who carelessly laid on the child (1 Kings 3:19).  Obviously some of the judges appointed by Moses and other judges in the Bible must have made good decisions, but generally the Biblical record shows that judges did not judge righteously.  Joseph, Daniel and Daniel’s three friends all come immediately to mind as having been judged unrighteously.  The worst trials of all were the ones held by a mob wanting to crucify the Lord.  They didn’t care about guilt or innocence, the religious leaders just wanted to “lynch” the Lord legally.

But there is one judge who judges righteously.  He is the Judge of all the earth (Genesis 18:25).  He is not going to be swayed by public opinion and He is keeping detailed records.  He will not accept bribes.  He will not be prejudiced.  He will not show partiality or favoritism.   The unbelievers who meet Him after death, will find out that God is not going to reward their good works but He is going to condemn them for their sins.  That judgment takes place at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15).  For the believer the situation is different.  The Lord provided a substitionary sacrifice that would satisfy God’s righteousness when the Lord died for our sins.  The Lord once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18).  John tells us that "He who believes in Him is not condemned (or judged); but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18).”

Some argue that it isn’t right for God to let sinners go righteously free and that His judgment is unjust as well.  But God has found a way to satisfy the righteous requirements of the law while still providing a way of escape from deserved judgment for guilty sinners.  This is called grace.  It is a concept that is not found in our criminal justice system. 

I am glad for the “righteous judge” who has found us all guilty  (Romans 3:19) and has still found a way to make believing sinners righteous (Romans 3:22-24). 

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of July 21, 2013

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