Sabbath: The God of Grace and Judgment
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Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Cor. 3:132 Cor. 5:10Genesis 36John 3:17–21Rev. 14:6, 7.

Memory Text:

“For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

Key Thought: God’s judgment is as pervasive in the Bible as is the theme of salvation; in fact, the two teachings are intricately entwined.

A soldier stood next to an old man about to be executed. He was guilty of being the “wrong” race and religion, nothing more. As the soldier raised his gun, his victim said, “Do you know that there is a God in heaven who sees all this, and who will one day judge you for your actions?”The soldier then shot the old man dead.

This is, in many ways, a prime example of a secular society. Not a secular government (a government that does not promote one religion over another), but a secular society, one in which there is no higher standard than the rules of the society itself. It’s a society with no sense of transcendence, no sense of a higher authority, no sense of God or of a moral standard greater than anything human. It’s a society where humans take the place of God, a society where the only judgment one faces is the judgment of one’s peers or of one’s own conscience (whatever’s left of it, anyway).

According to the Bible, however, the old man was right: there is a God in heaven, and He knows all things and He, indeed, will bring everything into judgment.

Let’s explore this crucial aspect of God’s character and see that, even in judgment, God reveals His amazing grace.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, January 28.

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Sabbath: The God of Grace and Judgment — 3 Comments

  1. The focus of this week’s lessons to me seems to be on the compatibility of the judgment with the Gospel. With that in view, it troubles me a great deal that the one scripture that would help in that respect is nowhere to be found in the lessons.

    In one of his visions Daniel saw, “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom” (Dan 7:21-22 NKJV). The words “in favor” are not in the Hebrew but the meaning is well understood. The follow translations render that meaning “in favor of the saints” TNIV, NET, NIV, NLT, NAS, NJB. Others render it “to the saints” KJV, YLT, DBY, DRA; while others have it as “for the saints” ESV, NRS. Clearly the overwhelming opinion is that the judgment was not to condemn but to justify for the same reason that Jesus, “makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom 8:27 NKJV) or on their behalf.

    In the courts of ancient Israel the judge always came on the side of the accused as their lawyer (except in the case of a wicked judge). That is the reason why David could say, “The LORD shall judge the peoples; Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, And according to my integrity within me” (Psa 7:8 NKJV). He was assured that things were going to be slanted in his favor because God was on his side.

    The reason why the judgment is based on works is because it is the inhabitants of Heaven that judge during the investigative judgment that started in 1844. God is not the judge in that judgment which is more about justifying Gods previous judgment for He has already judged before the earth was created, “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done” (Isa 46:10 NKJV). He knows us better than we know ourselves and knew before we were born what side we would be on.

    Only God can judge the heart, the rest of His creation can only see what we have done in its context and judge from that point of view. It is for that reason that we need an intercessor on our side and a judge that renders judgment “in favor of the saints.”

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  2. I think this was unfair (the illustration).

    You could argue that a religious society would be worse. In a religious society you couldn't appeal to anything to stop the soldier from executing you--not humanity, not pity, not anything; because the soldier would be convinced that he was obeying God.

    And the history of religion in the world has shown this to be more the case.

    So I think the story was a bit gratuitous and more than a little dishonest--a feel-good jab at secularism more than a viable illustration.
    I am looking forward to learning this week, however.

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  3. Thank God that we are the many parts that make up the whole (body) and that through the Holy Spirit we can grow in knowledge and truth. Therefore one part of the body (person/group) contributed some of the knowledge, but they needn't worry about having all the answers because another part of the body of Christ, in this case you, can make a contribution to the same. This is how we grow, we can all take part in the growth of the Church. Thanks for the gems you brought to the table to shed more light on this topic.

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