Judgment & Honour
ATP Blog 28
Judgment & Honour
John 5:22-23 “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent Him.”
Defining Judgment So many people love that verse that tells us to not judge, of course not really understanding what it means to judge. Later on in the same passage, the Bible tells us to judge (discern). So, what does this passage refer to when it talks of judgment? Judgment really has two aspects: discernment of right versus wrong, and condemnation for what is wrong. Being imperfect, we know that none of us is fit to be the judge over others. The judges that have been set before us are held to a high standard, and therefore given honour, but they too are human and imperfect. So, who is worthy to judge us? Looking through the Old Testament portion of the Bible, we see that God the Creator is the only worthy judge of mankind, and He does so well according to the standards He has set for us.
Perfect Judge We then come to the New Testament, where we are told ‘The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.’ The most perfect judge has handed off the responsibility of discernment and punishment to His Son. The big question is, Why? The answer comes in the previous verses, which we discussed last episode. “The Father loves the Son” (v20) We know that God loves the world … so much that He sent His Son (became a man to live among us) to die in our place, taking the punishment for our sins. “What [the Son] sees the Father do … the Son also does.” (v19) Jesus Christ came not only to take our punishment, but also to show us the Father, since He and the Father are one. This is that confusing concept called the Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit – all God, yet only one God). The point here is, that part of demonstrating the Father, is taking on the responsibility of judgment, which He has every right to for three reasons: it was given to Him by the Father, He perfectly met the standards, and He paid the penalty for all those who haven’t.
Honourable Judge We honour our judges for their position, even though they are imperfect, especially those who try hard to hold up good standards. How much more should we honour the righteous judge, Jesus Christ? “All should honour the Son just as they honour the Father.” (v23) Those who are genuine Christians know to honour God the Father; we must now learn to honour Jesus Christ, through whom salvation comes. The great condemnation is for those who chose to not honour Christ, since that means that you do not honour the Father!
Righteous Response So, what are we to do about all this? The point the passage made was that we must honour both God the Father, and Jesus Christ the Son, since you cannot separate the two. I believe another underlying point is that we must also recognize the opportunity God gives for salvation to all who believe, not just the ‘nice’ people. We must view all people, whether we like them or not, as people who need Jesus Christ, and who have the opportunity to receive the gift of salvation. This means that we have no right to condemn anyone for their sin, since that is the job of Jesus Christ the righteous judge. We help graciously point out God’s righteous standard … then help people learn how to attain it. Our responsibility is about reconciliation, not condemnation. The judgment we are to do is to discern between right and wrong, learning and teaching God’s perfect standards. Judgment in terms of punishment or reward is up to the righteous judge, appointed by God, Jesus Christ.