TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

I.  Basics

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Chapter 10  Part I


The fact that God does and will judge us is one of the Bible’s key teachings, without which the significance of other key Bible teachings is lost – notably that of salvation. An understanding of it is also vital to understanding God himself. Additionally, bear in mind that God’s judgment – being just and righteous – actually gives his people much reason to be encouraged.

God Is the Judge of the World

God is judge . . .

Ps 50:6  The heavens declare his fairness, for God is judge. (Selah)  NET

. . . God is the judge of the whole earth

Gen 18:25b  [Abraham, to God:] You are the judge of all the earth, and you do what is right.  CEV

God makes judgments in the world

1Chr 16:14  He is the Lord our God; he carries out judgment throughout the earth.  NET

God judges nations

Joel 3:12  [God:] Let the nations be roused and let them go up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit in judgment on all the surrounding nations.  NET

God judges individuals

Ezek 33:20b  [God:] I will judge each of you according to his behavior.  NET

God judges his own people

Heb 10:30b  “The Lord will judge his people.”  NET

God judges evil spiritual powers

1Tim 3:6  [Paul, instructing Timothy:] But an elder must not be a new believer, or he might be too proud of himself and be judged guilty just as the devil was.  NCV™

2Pet 2:4  God didn’t spare angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, where he has secured them with chains of darkness and is holding them for judgment.  GW

 Questions for Section A

Reasons for God’s Judgment

To punish sin and unfaithfulness

Dan 9:11  [Daniel, to God:] All Israel has broken your law and turned away by not obeying you. Therefore you have poured out on us the judgment solemnly threatened in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against you.  NET

Ezek 17:20  [God, pronouncing judgment on King Zedekiah:] I will throw my net over him and he will be caught in my snare; I will bring him to Babylon and judge him there because of the unfaithfulness he committed against me.  NET

To discipline and cleanse God’s people

1Cor 11:32  [Paul, to believers:] But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned with the world.  NET

Isa 4:4  [Isaiah, speaking of God:] At that time the sovereign master will wash the excrement from Zion’s women, he will rinse the bloodstains from Jerusalem’s midst, as he comes to judge and to bring devastation.  NET

To punish the ungodly . . .

2Pet 3:7  But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, by being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.  NET

. . . and to exact just vengeance

Rev 19:2b  For he has judged the great prostitute [“Babylon”] who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality, and has avenged the blood of his servants poured out by her own hands!  NET

The reference is to the symbolic Babylon, representative of a world power/s opposed to God and his people.

To save God’s people

Ex 6:6  [God, to Moses:] Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.  ESV

To vindicate God’s people

Jer 51:9b-10  God has punished Babylonia with all his might and has destroyed it completely.’” 10The Lord says, “My people shout, ‘The Lord has shown that we are in the right. Let’s go and tell the people in Jerusalem what the Lord our God has done.’”  GNT

To reward God’s people

Rev 11:18  [Elders in heaven, to God:] The nations were enraged, but your wrath has come, and the time has come for the dead to be judged, and the time has come to give to your servants, the prophets, their reward, as well as to the saints and to those who revere your name, both small and great, and the time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth.  NET

As well as punishment for wrongdoing, God’s judgment includes reward for godliness.

Note: God’s judgments serve as examples and warnings to others

1Cor 10:11a  [Paul, speaking of judgments on Israel:] All these things happened to them as examples for others, and they were written down as a warning for us.  GNT

 Questions for Section B

God’s Judgment Is Just

God judges with justice

Rev 16:5, 7  And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments.7And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!”  ESV

God judges righteously

Ps 9:4  [David, to God:] For you have brought about justice for me and my cause; you sit on the throne judging righteously.  ISV

2Thes 1:5  [Paul, to believers:] All of this shows that God judges fairly and that he is making you fit to share in his kingdom for which you are suffering.  CEV

God does not show favoritism in his judgment

1Pet 1:17  [Peter, to believers:] And if you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence.  NET

God judges people with knowledge of all their deeds

Jer 32:19b  [Jeremiah, to God:] You see everything people do. You reward each of them for the way they live and for the things they do.  NET

A key factor as to why God’s judgment is just is that he judges and rewards people with knowledge of all their deeds – as well as of all their thoughts and motives (as per the following subsection). As such he can make judgments with knowledge of all the relevant information.

God takes into account thoughts and motives

Jer 11:20a  [Jeremiah:] So I said to the Lord, “O Lord who rules over all, you are a just judge! You examine people’s hearts and minds.  NET

God’s judgments are correct

Rev 16:7  And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!”  ESV

God judges and repays people according to what they have done

Rom 2:5-8  [Paul:] But because of your stubborn and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6For he will repay everyone according to what that person has done:  eternal life to those who strive for glory, honor, and immortality by patiently doing good; 8but wrath and fury for those who in their selfish pride refuse to believe the truth and practice wickedness instead.  ISV

God gives fair warning of punishment for not obeying him . . .

Jer 6:7-8  [God, speaking of Jerusalem:] As a well continually pours out fresh water so it continually pours out wicked deeds. Sounds of violence and destruction echo throughout it. All I see are sick and wounded people.’ 8So take warning, Jerusalem, or I will abandon you in disgust and make you desolate, a place where no one can live.  NET

Jer 11:7  [God, to the people of Judah:] For I solemnly warned your ancestors to obey me. I warned them again and again, ever since I delivered them out of Egypt until this very day.  NET

. . . Thus God allows for repentance and for punishment to be averted

Jer 18:7-8  [God:] There are times, Jeremiah, when I threaten to uproot, tear down, and destroy a nation or kingdom. 8But if that nation I threatened stops doing wrong, I will cancel the destruction I intended to do to it.  NET

What is said here regarding nations is also applicable to individuals.

 Questions for Section C

God’s Judgment Reveals God

Note that in addition to the attributes of God revealed by his judgment that are discussed in this section, earlier subsections show that God’s judgment reveals his righteousness, justice and complete knowledge.

God makes himself known by his judgment

Ezek 35:11b  [God, to the people of Edom:] I will deal with you according to your anger, and according to your envy, by which you acted spitefully against them. I will reveal myself to them when I judge you.  NET

God’s judgment shows his might and his sovereignty . . .

Jer 16:21a  The Lord said, “So I will now let this wicked people know – I will let them know my mighty power in judgment.  NET

Ps 83:17-18  [A psalmist, to God:] May they be humiliated and continually terrified! May they die in shame! 18Then they will know that you alone are the Lord, the sovereign king over all the earth.  NET

The psalmist asks that God would enact his judgment on wicked nations (v. 17), showing his sovereignty over all the earth (v. 18).

. . . God’s judgment makes known that he is the Lord

Ezek 7:4  [God, to sinful Israel:] My eye will not pity you; I will not spare you. For I will hold you responsible for your behavior, and you will suffer the consequences of your abominable practices. Then you will know that I am the Lord!  NET

God’s judgment makes known that he is the Lord – the only true God, the supreme being who has power over all people and all creation.

God’s judgment evidences his glory

Ezek 39:21  [God:] I will show my glory among the nations. All the nations will see my power when I punish them.  NCV™

God’s judgment reveals his holiness

Isa 5:16  But the Lord Almighty shows his greatness by doing what is right, and he reveals his holiness by judging his people.  GNT

God would show himself to be holy by his righteous judgment on evildoers amongst his people.

God’s judgment displays his anger

Mic 5:15  [God:] And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance on the nations that did not obey.  ESV

Note: God’s restraint of his judgment shows his mercy and love

Jonah 3:104:2b  When God saw that the people had stopped doing evil things, he had pity and did not destroy them as he had planned..4:2[Jonah, to God:] You are a kind and merciful God, and you are very patient. You always show love, and you don’t like to punish anyone, not even foreigners.  CEV

 Questions for Section D

Pray for persecuted Christians