Every time a significant decision is handed down by the Supreme Court, we are struck by the reminder that even the highest court in the land cannot give us confidence that justice has been done. In the wake of what history will call “a very bad decision”, few of us think that the matter is settled, much less that this ruling represents a shining day of liberty and justice for all. Even the Court itself was split down the middle – nearly half of the justices think that the wrong decision was made.
But in the middle of our muttering and grumbling, it is easy for us to lose perspective: what if the Supreme Court was in charge of your eternal destiny, or the destiny of your loved ones? We need to remember that our cases are coming up before a judge, as well. Your life goes before the Supreme judge, and He will rule on the deeds that you have done in the body. (2 Cor. 5:10). If that trial were to come before a human court, it would be terrifying. All it takes is one lie, one slip of the tongue, one error in judgment, and you could be condemned forever, with no further court of appeal.
Imagine that Jesus was a good conservative judge, the kind who would never let the Obedience Clause determine the outcome of your case. You’d be feeling pretty good about how things will go. But at the end of your trial, the verdict comes down – you’ve been judged according to the Law Clause, and you’ve been found very guilty. What if God were like that? What if Jesus were like a supposedly conservative Chief Justice that you thought you could depend on, but when it came down to it He made His decisions on a different basis than the one you expected?
But Christ’s Judgment Seat is nothing like the Supreme Court. This is why you can be absolutely confident in the decisions of God: God knows everything, He sees everything, He knows your thoughts and motivations, as well as your deeds. He understands perfectly what justice requires. This means that no one ends up in hell who doesn’t belong there, and no one makes it to heaven through a loophole. There is no second-guessing of the rulings that come from the Great White Throne. There will be no further litigation to settle a debated verdict. Only the judgments of God can provide the absolute certainty of complete, utter, and perfect justice.
Because God in Christ judges everyone, we can be confident that even the most authoritative decisions made on earth will be tried at the bar of heaven, and there all miscarriages of justice will be put to rights. We can leave our lives, and the lives of our loved ones, in the hands of the Judge of all the earth, fully confident that He will do what is right.
This is another kind of terrifying, however. Because God sees and knows all, you aren’t getting away with anything. Not even one careless word. Guilty sinners have a far better chance of avoiding punishment from the Supreme Court than from the courts of heaven. When fallible humans are doing the judging, there are no guarantees. Men make mistakes, sometimes condemning the innocent, sometimes sparing the guilty. But God makes no mistakes. His judgments are just, and righteous altogether.
Thankfully, He has made the standard by which He will judge the world very clear. No one comes to the Father except through Christ. No one who comes to the Father in Christ will be lost. Grace changes the outcome of the trial. In fact, God has already handed down the verdict: Christ, and everyone in Christ, is declared “not guilty” by the resurrection of Jesus.