2006-12-01 - Basic Beliefs
Part 10 - Based on the Apostles' Creed
"He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead." (From the Apostles' Creed)
It seems to me that too often we Christians tend to err on one side or the other. Either we preach the judgmental side of our Lord to the neglect of his mercy and forgiveness (I heard those sermons many times growing up - in several churches) - just an angry God waiting to pounce on the slightest sin we commit.
Or we go down the other road; some focus on Jesus' love for the outcast without wanting to admit that God does and will judge our sins. Jesus isn't just a "meek and mild" Savior; He is also our ultimate Judge.
To quote a cliche (but an apt one), He "loves the sinner but not the sin." Jesus didn't tell the adulterous woman to "go sleep with whoever you want to and I will forgive you." No. He forgave her, but he also told her "go and sin no more."
Not only did Christ judge sin when He was on Earth (i.e. the overturning of the moneychangers' table) - but He will in the final judgment as well. In His own words:
Matthew 25:40-46 (NIV) "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' 41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' 44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' 45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' 46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
It may not be pleasant to think about. Some of us long for it - as we see injustices every day. And some would rather pretend it isn't in there. But to formulate a complete picture of Christ - we have to include that one of his roles is as our Judge. He will judge the world. He will judge you and me. Are we ready for that?