JUDGMENT ON THE HOUSE OF GOD
What does this really mean for you and does this apply to everyone today, or just true Christians?
Peter says that judgment is on the house of God (We will see that Scripture later.) but who exactly does that apply to today? Has that judgment been since the COG was begun on Pentecost in 31 AD? Is everyone who claims to be a Christian today actually part of the “House of God” that Peter spoke of? (God looks on the heart to determine this and we cannot, however there are Scriptural guidelines that help us make right judgments.)
Surely from all of the trials in the courts of this country—some played out in the media for all to see, such as the O.J. Simpson and more recent Casey Anthony trial and others— even TV dramas of court trials—one can understand that judgment means to come to a conclusion based on circumstantial evidence as well presented and proven facts. These can be of what one has done or is/was in the process of doing when apprehended by law enforcement agents. But how does one judge the house of God or is that even in human hands?
Yes, some judgments are in the hands of humans—Paul made a judgment in 1Cor.5 of something that did not belong in the COG, which carried on into chapter six. He indicated that we, if Christian are to judge some things within the COG. However normal judgment, according to Scripture is not done by you or me or any human jury and judge; God the Father committed judgment through Jesus Christ, who is head of the true Church—but true Christians are to be examining ourselves to see if we measure up to what we are supposed to be like, in the spiritual sense. Are we truly followers of Christ (1Cor.11:1) in obedience to the Commandments of God? Humans often make terrible judgments of human character in others—but do not judge themselves that harshly. Christ had no sin, as an example but was condemned wrongly and judged on the testimony from false witnesses because of envy and resentment; all who were sinners with a sinful nature.
Paul brings out in Scripture how he was at times “examined” by others and he even stated for the true COG to examine themselves before the Passover and at other times; let’s notice this in 1 Cor 11:27-28 “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” Another passage says to; “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” Still another says; “But let each one examine his own work,” ---and so by these we can see that Christians are in fact “WORKING OUT” their own salvation as they live Christian lives to the best of their ability and based on the word of God. The true Christian is now being judged by these things in the eyes of God. So judgement on the “house of God” does not really apply to the world or even those who falsely claim Christianity—but is only for the true Christian, the truly converted and begotten of God by the Holy Spirit. (1Pet.1:3) The indication is that they are to stay within the confines of the COG and be judged by the Church in accordance to the word of God and how Christians are to be living their lives.
Some seem to believe that every sin, past present and future is going to be judged again as we stand before Christ and before we can have eternal life! However, that does not square with the fact that we are all being judged now, if truly Christian, not having a need for a second judgment for the same sins at the return of Christ. Sometimes it is hard to grasp that Christ paid the death penalty for us, wiped it out completely as in Rom 6:23, where it says; “For the wages of sin is death, (this is what we have earned for our sins) but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Some today and this is even in the ministry—still subtly or in ignorance practice partiality, favoritism or respect of persons for family members or special friends. Let us notice this in Scripture; (See the Bible study on PARTIALITY for a better understanding of that subject) Rom 2:11 “For there is no partiality with God.” (NKJ throughout) The 2nd chapter of James explains we are not to hold the faith of Christ with partiality—they do not mix and later in the chapter it says showing partiality is a sin. So this is also part of the on-going judgment that is on the household of God at this time and must be overcome, but that judgment of past sin is already done and it is only present sins that we are being judged for now. Past sins are forgotten and removed, once genuinely repented of as we will see later.
Of course there are some conditions required before we can take, even that first step, at having our death penalty wiped clean. We have to first be called, (John 6:44) then upon believing and accepting the call and the word of truth, placing ourselves upon the mercy of God, He then grants repentance. (Acts11:18 "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life." And we find Paul tells Timothy (2 Tim 2:25) “in humility correcting those who are in opposition, (To Truth, perhaps even while being called) if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,”--. We go from there through baptism and the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit. We cannot be reconciled to God and continue to live in a sinful and unrepentant state of mind. However no one is yet perfect and will be caught off guard to sin again—needing forgiveness of those sin, so true repentance is an ongoing thing and perhaps that is part of the reason for judgment on the house of God.
Remember what Peter said in Acts 3:19? "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,-- (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) Under <BLOT OUT> we find this; exaleipho (ex-al-if-pho)^1813^, from ek, "out," used intensively, and aleipho, "to wipe," Hence, metaphorically, in the sense of removal, "to wipe away, wipe off, obliterate"; <Acts 3:19>, of sins;”—
We find this agrees with what we see in many OT passages, for example; Isa 43:25 says; "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” The Old Testament meaning here by implication is to erase or wipe away, the same as in Acts 3:19. Once we have committed ourselves, taken that first step of salvation, (accepted Christ as our Passover) we are clean in God’s eyes and can now have the reconciliation as a begotten child of God through the shed blood of Christ. Our sins are completely gone if we were truly repentant, baptized and have begun to come out of sin. Ps 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
We are now being judged by what we do as members of the household of God, after conversion and the reconciliation with God, to walk in newness of life. Christ is our mediator with the Father and does look on the heart. We are no longer judged by those past sins; which are now forgiven sins. The house of God is now only being judged for the sins and short-comings from that point forward. When any new sins are recognized (or even repeats of past sins catching us off guard or in weakness, which Satan loves to do) and repented of, they are also forgiven and forgotten.1 Pet 4:14 “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.”
(for V.15—This “evildoer” has a wide variety of applications and can certainly pertain to holding onto certain worldly or pagan beliefs as well as our own stubborn human reasoning’s—what God sees as sinful practices. Doing those things is not having a totally repentant attitude.)
V.16 “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
(For V.18—It is certain that they will not appear as a first fruit—having not yet repented and therefore not yet forgiven or being judged as begotten children. Their time will come later, but the true Christian’s is now.)
V.19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” We are to continue to grow in grace and knowledge as 2 Pet. 3:18 shows—building faith & Godly Character—because we have now been given some of the divine nature—which is the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet.1:4)
Each time we come before God and cry out to Him for forgiveness and more strength to overcome, that atoning blood of Christ is what wipes those sinful mistakes and slip-ups out and they are erased, never to be brought up again by God. (This is not, according to Scriptural example, “another crucifixion” of Christ, as some may feel based on Hebrews 6:4-6, which to save space and keep the focus, will have to be revealed at another time.)
However, notice what Eze.18:20-32 says; "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. 21 "But if a wicked man turns (repents) from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 "None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has (now) done, he shall live. 23 "Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord GOD, "and not that he should turn (repent) from his ways and live? 24 "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? (This is where judgment on the house of God comes into play for the true Christian today.)
“All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die. 25 "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26 "When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. 27 "Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28 "Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 "Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair? 30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 "Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 "For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!"
Repentance is a must for all true Christians! God knows the heart, so we cannot take liberty or “License” to knowingly allow ourselves to begin to practice sin again, or all could be lost. (See the article on REPENTANCE for more on this subject.)
So in conclusion; let us remember Rom 8: V.13 “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; (because we are now being judged) but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. V.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” We are a work in progress if the Holy Spirit is still allowed to be actively working in us. Our sins are being forgiven and Judgment is on those who are part of the house of God. All who have been forgiven and are serious about their salvation today must now strive to walk in newness of life and bring forth the fruits of that. (Matt.3: & Luke 3:8)
(Written by the editor for TCOGMSO)