Friday, July 26, 2013

The Necessity of Judgment

The Necessity of Judgment

·        Sin defined

To understand why judgment is necessary we first need a clear definition of the essence of sin. Sin is not merely unrighteous actions, though actions say something very important about us. They are unrighteous because of why they are done (i.e. motive) and not just what is being done. We get a clear definition of sin in the following passage.

Rom_3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

This suggests and implies the essence of sin is coming short of the glory of God.

The *glory of God (see definition of the original below) is the display of His beauty, greatness, majesty, worth. Any attitude or resulting action that displays His beauty, greatness, majesty and worth is one that is glorifying/honoring to God.

Rom_3:23  for all have sinnedG264 and fallG5302 shortG5302 of the gloryG1391 of God,

Sinned: G264  μαρτάνω  = hamartanō; from an early root μαρτ- hamart-; to miss the mark, do wrong, sin: - commit sin (1), committed...offense (1), committing (1), sin (11), sinned (17), sinning (4), sins (8).

“Sinned” appears to be what is sometimes referred to as the sin of commission. We shoot (an act) for the wrong thing and therefore miss the right thing i.e. what we are shooting at is the wrong target. We are pursuing the wrong thing.

Fall short: G5302  στερέω  = hustereō; from G5306; to come late, be behind, come short: - am...lacking (1), come short (1), comes short (1), destitute (1), fall short (1), impoverished (1), inferior (2), lack (2), lacked (1), lacking (1), need (1), ran (1), suffering need (1), worse (1).

This appears to be what is sometimes referred to as a sin of omission. We do not have within us what it takes to get it done i.e. we come up short.

So we have two related but separate problems. As the passage says, we …have sinned and fall short…”  Not only are all our actions shooting for the wrong target but they come up short of the true target of bringing God glory i.e. recognizing or acknowledging His true worth/greatness/honor.

In summary, missing the glory of God is simply our not recognizing God’s great worth/value in our disposition first that is displayed by our actions. This occurs two ways.

1.    We shoot for the wrong target. Instead of seeking to glorify God, we worship/value the creature over the Creator Rom 1:21-23

2.   We come up short or are impotent in fully acknowledging (hitting) the right target or that end for which we were created; the recognition and enjoyment of the full majesty and greatness of God.

So the heart or essence of sin is not acknowledging God in all His majesty resulting in our not trusting God in proportion to His trustworthiness.

The outward manifestation and display of what we normally call sin or sinful behavior is only the fruit of the inward state of our not recognizing or coming up short of recognizing the great beauty/value/worth/glory of God. Sinful behavior is the outward display of our not trusting God in proportion to His true greatness and worthiness of our total trust.

Glory: G1391  δόξα   doxa
Thayer Definition:
1) opinion, judgment, view
2) opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone
2a) in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory
3) splendour, brightness
3a) of the moon, sun, stars
3b) magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace
3c) majesty
3c1) a thing belonging to God
3c1) the kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler, majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity
3c2) a thing belonging to Christ
3c2a) the kingly majesty of the Messiah
3c2b) the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of Christ; the majesty
3c3) of the angels
3c3a) as apparent in their exterior brightness
4) a most glorious condition, most exalted state
4a) of that condition with God the Father in heaven to which Christ was raised after he had achieved his work on earth
4b) the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Saviour’s return from heaven

·        The Necessity Of Judgment

Gods judgment vindicates and displays his great worth.

With a clearer understanding of sin, the reason judgment is necessary is it vindicates and displays the great worth of God.

Condemning sin (our not recognizing God’s great worth and it's subsequent fruit) displays the greatness of God’s worth i.e. if sin is the belittling of God, what better way to show the greatness of God then to clearly condemn the disregard for His greatness. The greater the condemnation for ignoring His greatness the greater the indication of that greatness.

Not judging sin would be equal to saying God is not great. His value is not that significant i.e. it is not a big deal if you do not recognize the greatness of God.

God's life can only come to us when everything antagonistic to true life is removed.  This is true legally but also true practically. To ignore the greatness of God is antagonistic to true life. It is against God first because God is life. It is against us because we subsist by and through Him. Therefore it is wrong and must be condemned, hence the necessity of judgment.

Legally, we come short of giving God His due recognition. Christ on the other hand honored His Father completely and trusted Him fully. He gave the Father his total honor by trusting Him and remaining true to Him to the ultimate degree of His death. (In contrast, outside of Christ and His Spirit within us, everything we do is designed to maintain our life independent of God). Not only so but the Father then assigned Christ’s perfect record of fully honoring Him to our account. We now have the full benefit of the righteousness of Christ credited to us. While at the same time, the full judgment of our belittling God was poured out on Christ. 

God is not only just but the justifier. He is not only great and awful (i.e. full of awe or awesome) but He is love.  And His love was so great, He gave the greatest object of His love, His Son, to bear the just punishment of our dishonoring the Father and rescued us from His just condemnation.

In summary, condemning (passing sentence against) our coming short up of recognizing God’s worth actually displays the greatness of God’s worth i.e. what better way to show the greatness of God then to clearly and soundly condemn the ignoring of His greatness.  The greater the condemnation the greater the indication of this greatness.

For a fuller discussion of the basis for morality click here.