Accepting the Judge – Gospel in Life

Accepting the Judge

Tim Keller |  January 23, 2000

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  • Atonement
John 12:41-50
RS 108-10

John 12:41–50

Understanding judgment, especially the idea of Jesus judging everyone, is important. It might not be a popular topic, but the Christian view of judgment is not as simple as some might think. We can learn a lot about this from Jesus’s final public words in the gospel of John, which tell us four important things about judgment.

1. We need a judgment day

The idea of judgment day matters a lot. It’s tied to personal meaning and how Jesus acts as both a light and a judge. The story shows us that without a higher judge, people can feel free but also lost. It talks about the need for divine justice to keep peace and how being held accountable is important for our emotional health, especially for those who’ve been treated unfairly.

2. We’re scared of a judgment day

There’s an interesting tension here. We need judgment day for hope, but we’re also afraid of it. The real change happens when we understand these two ideas and believe in Jesus Christ. The passage talks about God’s fair judgment, how some people still don’t believe even after seeing miracles, and how leaders fail when they care more about praise from people. The final judgment depends on what we know to be true and how we act on it.

3. With Jesus Christ, we’ve already faced our judgment day

The gospel tells us that judgment day is unavoidable, but we can’t handle it on our own. Jesus, as both the judge and the savior, shows that through him, we’ve already gone through judgment day. If we accept Jesus, we understand that our judgment is in the past, because he has taken it all on for us.

4. In Christ, we live between two judgments

Christians believe in a past and future judgment. This belief helps us be honest about our mistakes without feeling defensive, because we know God loves and accepts us. It also helps us accept other people’s flaws while still seeing their worth. Living with the knowledge of God’s judgment, both in the past and the future, gives us confidence and bravery, knowing that ultimate justice is in God’s hands.



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