Righteous Judge

Righteous Judge

“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).

In the 18th chapter of Genesis we find these remarkable words spoken by Abraham to Jehovah, the Self-Existent One: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25). God having taken Abraham into His confidence concerning his plans for Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham then pleads with God as to whether He will spare the righteous from the fate of the wicked. Note that Abraham speaks not just of physical death (‘to slay the righteous with the wicked’) but also the prospect of eternal death (‘that the righteous should be as the wicked’). He says, in effect, God forbid that you should do this thing (treat the wicked and the righteous alike), while speaking to very God Himself, so convinced is he of the righteousness of Jehovah.

Undoubtedly, Abraham was thinking of his nephew Lot and his family. Yet his prayer was based on the character of God Himself. The most powerful examples of prayer in scripture follow this pattern of a man in fellowship with God appealing to God’s holy and righteous character and words as the basis for his request. (Psa. 5; Neh. 1:4-11; Dan 9:4-19; Ex. 32:11-14).

Who is it that shall be the Judge of all the earth? The word judge used here means to pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication to vindicate or punish, according to Strong’s concordance. It is found 203 times in the Old Testament but as a title used only here. In Acts 17:31 Paul, preaching at Mars Hill, says “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” The Judge of all the earth is the Lord Jesus Christ.

And how shall he judge? Revelation 19:11 tells us how He will judge: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” 

Before we look at the perfections of God as Judge, it is instructive to note the failure of man in this area, due either to sinfulness or the weakness of the flesh.

Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, recognized that the burden of judging the children of Israel was too much for one man. “For this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone,” he said in Ex 18:18. Moses as judge reveals man’s lack of strength and limited patience.

In 1 Samuel 8 we read “And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.” But “his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment” resulting in the peoples’ shameful request “now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” Samuel as judge failed because of nepotism.

Saul as judge failed through disobedience (1 Sam 13:13). David as judge failed through hypocrisy (2 Sam 12:5). Solomon as judge failed through idolatry (1 Kings 11:4). Rehoboam as judge failed through arrogance (1 Kings 12:13). 

In the time of our Lord, Herod as judge failed through anger (Matthew 2:16). Pilate as judge failed by condemning an innocent man (Mat 27:23).

Man’s record is one of continuous failure. But oh, how the love of God makes provision. When the cry of Malachi 2:17 is “where is the Lord of judgment?” the glorious response is “ ‘the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple… behold, he shall come,’ saith the LORD of hosts.’ ” (Malachi 3:1). Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the perfect judge.

His judgment is righteous and sure. We can safely trust Him to pronounce innocence and guilt. He will deliver the righteous and condemn the guilty. His verdict and sentence will be pure. Yes, “the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” (Psalm 19:9).

The Lord Jesus Christ is qualified to act as the Judge of all the Earth because of His omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence and His everlasting life.

His omniscience: “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?” (Isaiah 40:13, 14). “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:3). The Lord Jesus Christ has perfect knowledge. There is nothing He does not know. Every thought, every word, every motive, every act or omission, of every person who ever lived or will live is known to Him. There is no possibility that He will not take into account everything before he renders a verdict.

His omnipotence: “The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself”

(Psalm 93:1). “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:4). “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” (Rev 12:10). Not even Satan can withstand the mighty power of God, as the last verse shows. No nation, no alliance of nations, no power in the earth or under the earth or in heaven can prevent the judgments of God from being carried out. He speaks, and it happens. He decides, and it is done. He sentences, and whatever he decrees shall come to pass.

His omnipresence: “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chron. 16:9). “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy.” (Isa. 57:15). Nothing is hidden from the Lord. There is no place in the universe that is not under His watchful eye. The vast distances of space, the inconceivable heights and depths of His creation, are inhabited by the One in Whom all things consist.

His everlasting life: “Who only hath immortality” (1 Tim. 6:16). “Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” (Heb. 7:16). “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25). The judgments of the Lord Jesus Christ will never change. Time will never have an impact on His words, His verdicts or His law. The One Who is the same, “yesterday, today and forever,” will never change His mind, never rewrite an opinion, never have second thoughts.

Christian, are you sorrowing over a relative or friend you fear does not know Christ? Are you weary and apprehensive over the failures in your life? Does the lawlessness of this present world lead to despair? Is sickness and pain causing you to question God’s ways? Oh the comfort of these words: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

We have a Judge whose judgments are true and righteous altogether! He will never judge wrongly. Never mete out a sentence too harsh or too lenient. Never allow a Christian to enter hell. Never allow a sinner to enter Heaven. Never fail to punish the wicked. When He considers our lives, he will do it as perfect man and holy God. We cannot have a more righteous judge. We cannot ask for a more sympathetic Advocate.

What a joy to know that it is our loving Saviour and Lord Jesus who is the Judge and that He shall do all things right.

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