Justice and wisdom. They go together.
I found the best explanation of justice in a book on hope by Max Lucado. The best description of wisdom resides in another book, this one a novel.
Let me set the stage with this:
For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.
2 Corinthians 5:10
Lucado published a book last year (2018) called “Unshakable Hope: building our lives on the promises of God”. One of those promises is titled, “Justice Will Prevail.”
Lucado explains how that 2 Corinthians judgment will work. It makes a whole lot of sense.
You and I, along with each person who ever lived, is living or will live, one day will stand before God’s judgment seat.
Heaven requires that sins be paid. All of them. There will be no sin in heaven.
How will God remove all sin from Heaven? One at a time. As long as it takes.
Here’s the picture Lucado paints of what judgment will look like.
Each of us individually will stand in a courtroom, God’s courtroom, and face our Maker. “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books.” (Revelation 20:12)
In those books are all of our works, good and evil. Every single one.
In an American courtroom, every defendant is allowed an advocate, someone to defend him or her. It’s not mandatory; we can reject assistance and stand before the judge on our own if we so desire.
On God’s judgment day, those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior will have an advocate as God reads off our sins. For example:
- Bill made a comment behind someone’s back. Jesus: I died for that.
- Bill ignored a person he could have helped. Jesus: I know. I have forgiven him.
- Bill cussed under his breath, but a few people heard him. Jesus: I took care of that.
And on and on. Every single sin I have ever committed, and will commit, in my entire life. God will read them off.
Jesus will accept the punishment for each one of them.
There will be no secrets in Heaven, no wondering, “What did he/she do down there on Earth?” We will be free, completely free, from all sin – and able to worship God and live for Him with our whole hearts.
When the list is ended, anything good I’ve done will also get read aloud by the living God, according to the verse I quoted in 2 Corinthians. God will celebrate all the good that happened (and is happening and will happen) down here on Earth.
This is the judgment of each one whom Jesus knows intimately.
But some people on Earth reject God.
God will honor that. And He will judge accordingly.
These folks will face the same judgment. They will stand before God, and He will read off their sins, one by one, just as He did mine.
But they will have no advocate standing next to them, offering to pay for their sins.
God, therefore, will declare them guilty – the only sentence He can pronounce.
Justice will prevail. For each and every one of us.
Justice plays out in a similar fashion in one of my favorite novels – “The Shack,” by William Paul Young. In a chapter titled “Here Come Da Judge,” we see two main characters: Mack, who is bitter over the kidnapping and death of his young daughter, and the judge, later identified as Sophia, the personification of God’s wisdom.
Mack also has a wife and four living children. In this chapter, we learn that Mack, like many of us, is quick to judge just about everyone he meets – and he blames God for allowing his daughter to die.
How accurate are our judgments? God writes down all of our deeds, good and evil, in books that will be opened one day. But how much do you and I truly know about each other?
Since Mack was quick to condemn the killer of his daughter and God for allowing that scenario to play out, Sophia did something unusual. She got up from her judge’s chair and invited Mack to sit there. Judgment Day had arrived, and he was the judge.
Mack was unnerved. He felt unqualified.
But he judged people all the time, so he had lots of experience at it. He was qualified then, right?
Judge Sophia gave him a challenge: Only two of your five children can go to heaven. You must send the other three to hell. Which of your children would you sentence to hell?
When you put it that way, Judge …
But that’s what we do every day, don’t we?
Mack said he couldn’t do it. No way. Sophia said you must. You want to judge, you think God judges like this, then render your verdict.
Mack pleaded for his children, all of them. He said he’d take the punishment for their sins – send him to hell, let all of his children go to heaven.
Mack finally understood wisdom. Because that’s exactly what Jesus Christ did for His children.
There’s so much more to “The Shack” than this one scene. It’s a great book, and it came out as a movie two years ago.
I’m glad I’m not the ultimate judge of anyone, even though I try sometimes. I don’t know your motives, why you do what you do. You don’t know my motives. Shakespeare said all the world’s a stage, and he was right. We’re all actors, and when we play a role, we can hide our true selves.
But we can’t hide from the living God.
That’s why His justice is perfect.
Each of us will get what we deserve.
The question is: Will you have an advocate with you on the Judgment Day? Only one advocate will be allowed in that courtroom, and he paid a very heavy price to claim that role.
A price that no one else can come close to paying.
That day will come. It’s been promised.
Will you be ready?