An email I just sent to Dennis Prager, a radio talk show host and a very thoughtful Jew:
In one sense, your statement that you find the idea that God will judge everyone to be a comfort totally resonates with me, a Christian. Like you, I believe that if we live in a moral universe ruled by a good God, then God must judge everyone. And the Bible, including the New Testament, agrees with you. It is comforting to know that Hitler and other human monsters will not get away with their evil ultimately. God would not be just if He looked the other way.
But in another sense, I don’t think you fully understand the Christian position. (Nor do I, but I’ll do my best anyway!) The fact is, the Bible claims, from Genesis to Revelation, that ever since Adam, every human being is a sinner who deserves God’s judgment. So while I agree that God’s justice is good news for the universe, it is bad news for me, a sinner. That’s why Jesus’s death on the cross turns out to be such good news for me–and the world. As my substitute, He took the punishment I deserve and fully paid my debt to God. I receive this precious gift simply by faith.
When a Christian on the line tried to explain this to you, you very insightfully asked whether God then judges every person. I think one of the implications of your excellent question was whether someone whose sins have been forgiven in Christ will have any incentive to live a good and holy life, if he or she is freed from facing God’s judgment. As Paul put it, shall we continue to sin that grace might increase?
Paul’s answer was an emphatic No–how can we who died to sin in Christ continue to live in it? Just as Christ was resurrected, so we are to walk in newness of life, by the power of the Spirit and the instruction of His Word.
What then about your question–does God truly judge every person? The answer is Yes, He has already judged us. We are all guilty of breaking His law and stand condemned. But Jesus, the greatest Jew who ever lived, offers to be the sinless substitute for any of us willing to set aside our pride and live for Him.
You said during one segment that God’s love and His justice go hand in hand, that we can’t have one without the other. I completely agree with you! The melding of God’s love and His justice is most clearly seen at the cross:
“Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.”
Thank you for listening. Have a wonderful day!