Faith Meets World

Reflections on faith in a messed-up but beautiful world

Category: Guest posts

Guest post: Judgment as light

Today I’m delighted to publish a guest post by Jacob Wright, an online friend and theological discussion partner who is passionate about finding the God revealed in Jesus. You can find some biographical information at the bottom of the post.

If what you’re about to read makes you stop and think, please share your thoughts in the comments!

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Lamb lightJohn 3:19-21 reveals God’s judgment as light.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

(John 3:19-21)

When physical light is present, what was previously hidden in the darkness is now exposed and seen for what it is. But what is this divine light that judges? It is not literal, physical light, although literal, physical light serves as a metaphor for this metaphysical reality of God-light. The God-light is God’s very nature of love. Go back to the gospel of John: to whom is it referring when it speaks of the Light that has come into the world? It is referring to Jesus. Jesus is the exact representation of God’s nature of love, the God-light who exposes the hidden motives of our hearts. But how does Jesus expose them? By His incarnate living-out of the nature of God in peace, mercy, humility, and finally non-violent, co-suffering, self-giving love. The cross is the radiant light of God’s nature that judges the world. But the paradox is that it judges the world by not judging the world, by revealing perfect, self-giving love.

God does not judge the world by our normal understanding of judgment; not by lifting the hand and pointing the accusative finger, but rather by opening up the hand to be pierced. The judgment of God is not a direct action of God, but simply a by-product of Him revealing His nature. The judgment of God is light. This light simply shines, and all is exposed. This light is perfect love, peace, humility, mercy; and in the radiance of this light, our selfishness, violence, pride and condemnation are exposed for what they are. The cross is the radiant light of divine self-giving love that judges the selfishness of the world by revealing its antithesis. God radiates His co-suffering, self-giving, enemy-forgiving love, and all the selfish intents of the heart are exposed. Some run from this light; others welcome it, so that they may live in its truth.

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Guest post: Works that endure

Today I’m honoured to host the first ever guest post on my blog. It’s by California-based Joseph Stoll, who has been a regular reader and commenter here for a while. If you enjoy it, why not encourage Joseph by leaving a comment? And even better, go and visit his blog (details follow the post).

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Judgement seat

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

(1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

This is one of those chapters that makes me ask, “What am I doing with my life?”

It describes the so-called Bema seat judgment. Bema is taken from a Greek word often translated “Judgment Seat.” It’s distinct from the “Great White Throne Judgment” described in Revelation 20, which is for non-believers. If you’re at the Great White Throne, you took a really bad transfer, somewhere. You meant to go to the Bema. A Bema seat gives the image of Caesar presiding over games and presenting awards. And that’s what this judgment is: God’s awards ceremony.

We could argue for ages about the minutiae, but it will look something like this. Jesus will return and gather all those whose names are written in the book of life. We will present the sum total of our lives before Him. A fire will burn through our works and reveal their true composition. And everybody will watch it happen. For some, that day will involve suffering. For others, God will publicly reward the good done in secret throughout their entire lives.

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