The Good News of the Judgment

A Bloodless Gospel in the Judgment Hour?
William Diehl

Acts 20:28 "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood . 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."

To many teachers within the Christian church today, the fact that Paul and the other Apostles taught that we sinners are reconciled unto God by the BLOOD of Christ is an embarrassment. God, they say, is gracious and can forgive sin simply because He is God and does not require a blood sacrifice to forgive sin. To believe in a blood sacrifice , they say, comes from ignorance of the "fact" that God is not treating us as mere "Slaves" who need to fear their "Master" but now God wants us to know that we are His "Friends". God, they say, is merely using these "fear inducing" terms like blood, wrath, atonement, propitiation, ransom, debtor's to the Law, legal justification, guilt, punishment, anger, plagues etc., to get our attention so that we will stop and take a good look at God to see that He is so kind and loving that He never demands atonement for His broken Law or justice and punishment and death to sinners.

The Gospel, to these teachers, is to merely to know that God is good, kind, loving, and gentle. They say that once we get past the "dark speech" of the Bible passages which refer to the "punishment and wrath" of God and one "understands the Gospel of what God is really like" we will stop being "Slaves" of God and become His "Friends". They say that once we are God's "Friends" we are now "safe to save" because now we can love God and be like God.

For these modern deceivers, Christ dying on the Cross is merely God's demonstration that He is our gracious forgiving Friend. The cause of sin is mostly defined as "ignorance of what God is really like". Justification as a declaration of a sinner's legal acquittal before God's Law is denied. Justification according to these deceivers is defined as a moral cleansing and a change in the heart of the believer. Thus we see that because justification is confused with sanctification, this teaching is in harmony with the classic Roman Catholic definition of justification rather than the Protestant Reformation definition of justification as being declared righteous by an imputed righteousness and release from legal guilt and condemnation of God's Law.

Well there is no doubt that apart from the word of God we can not know what God is really like and from the word of God we can easily see that God is not what these popular Modernists would have us believe. Make no mistake, these "apostles of light" are not proclaiming the Jesus of the Bible but rather the Jesus of the "false prophet" of Roman Catholicism and of the falling away from justification by faith in the "blood of the Everlasting Covenant" ratified by the precious blood of Christ.

The God of the Old and New Testament is, first and foremost, the God of Law. Before all things comes God's holy Law. Before angels, before man, before Heaven and Earth, the Law of God must be upheld. The Law of God in letter and in spirit is God's communication to all creation of who He is. God is unchanging, so is the Law. God is holy, so is the Law. The Law of God tells us who He is. God cannot change or deny His Law because God cannot change or deny who He is. The Law cannot be altered. God cannot be altered. The Law cannot be set aside, because God cannot set aside who He is. Like the Law, God is "holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." (Romans 7:12) "there is none good but one, that is, God" Matthew 19:17

The Law is not merely a code for human behavior. The Law tells us how God behaves. All of creation, animate and inanimate, is a reflection of the rule of God's Law. To seek life, knowledge, happiness, joy, fulfillment, righteousness, or wisdom apart from or contrary to the Law of God is to die. The Law of God is the Word of God to all of Creation. Jesus Christ is the embodiment and revelation of God's Word and Law to all of creation.

1 John 1:1-4 says

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men."

He is the visible expression of the glory of God, the righteousness of God, and the character of God. In Him there is no sin. "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin....Which of you convinceth me of sin?" John 8:34, 46

He is the altogether infinitely Holy One, the Express Image of the Father, the Word made flesh and the revelation of God incarnate. Jesus magnified the Law and declared it honorable (Isa 42:21) to all the universe, even the unfallen angels of God.

It is impossible for mere tongue or pen to reveal the totality of the righteousness of God's Law or the righteousness of the person of Jesus Christ. "and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." John 21:25

The Law of God and His righteousness will be the study of the redeemed throughout ceaseless ages. Men and angels will never tire of beholding and glorifying and rejoicing in the Law of God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, Lord God Almighty, Redeemer of heaven and earth, the beginning and end of all things, the Eternal One, without beginning or end. He is the Wisdom of God.

To sin is to come under the condemnation of the Law of God.

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" 1 John 3:4

"All unrighteousness is sin." 1 John 5:16

"for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Rom 3:20

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether

Psalm 119:1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. 3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. 4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. 5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! 6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. 7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. 8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. 9 BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. 12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. 13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. 14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. 16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. 17 GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. 18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. 19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. 20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. 21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments. 22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies. 23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. 24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.

Psalm 119: 44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. 45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. 46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. 47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. 48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

97 MEM. O how love I thy law ! it is my meditation all the day. 98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. 101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. 102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. 103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. 105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. 106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. 107 I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word. 108 Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments. 109 My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law. 110 The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts. 111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. 112 I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes always, even unto the end.

Prov 6:20 My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. 22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. 23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.

Prov 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

From the above texts of scripture it is very clear that to keep the Law of God is the will of God. Actually, to keep the Law of God is the whole duty of Man.

"Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of Man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing whether good or evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

The Two Ways To Be Accepted Before God

The scriptures bring to view only two ways to be accepted, approved, and justified before the holiness of God's Law.

Way Number One—Obedience to God's Law

The Keepers of God's Law will be Justified on the Judgment Day. Only perfect obedience to God's Law will abide in the judgment. The DOERS OF THE LAW will receive eternal life.

"....God Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law : and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law ; 13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but THE DOERS OF THE LAW SHALL BE JUSTIFIED." Romans 2:3-13.

"For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the MAN THAT DOETH THOSE THINGS shall live by them." Romans 10:5

And so from Paul's great epistle to the Romans, we see that he presents the first way to be accepted on the Day of the Lord, the way of PERFEFCT obedience. Whosoever keeps the Law is righteous and SHALL LIVE, and whosoever does not keep the Law is unrighteous and SHALL NOT LIVE. This means that one must not merely keep the Law 90% of the time, but rather that in order to be justified on the Judgment Day one must have kept the Law 100% of the time for every minute of ones life or the verdict of GUILTY will be rendered!! The divine condemnation and just punishment of God will fall on anyone who does not have PERFECT RIGHTEOUSNESS on the Last Day!

Man's Predicament

We can see that Man is in a predicament. Man is not able to meet the demands of the Law of God for perfect righteousness. It is evident that there is no one who is perfectly righteous.

"All have sinned and continuously come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

And we are told that

"The wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23

And we are further told in Romans 3:19-20,

"Now we know that whatsoever the Law says, it says to those under the Law that every mouth may be stopped and that all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds (doing) of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight for by the Law is the knowledge of sin"

The New Testament declares that no one is righteous enough to be acquitted before God's Law. Who can come before the Law and meet all of its demands for holiness of life and heart?

Way Number 2—the Gospel of Jesus Christ

The Gospel is the GOOD NEWS that the Lord Jesus Christ has lived a PERFECT LIFE and died for the sins of the world!

God Himself in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ has come to this sin darkened world, lived a spotless sinless life by perfectly obeying and fulfilling the law of God, and then He died for our sins, in our place as our atoning sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary. Jesus took upon Himself the guilt, punishment, condemnation, and death which we all deserve. He is the sin bearer, substitute, and surety for the entire human family.

The Law of God requires absolute holiness and sinlessness of life. This righteousness Jesus performed for us (active obedience). The Law also requires punishment and death to all who sin and come short. This penalty Jesus bore for us (passive obedience).

In His life and death He became the divine Substitute and Representative for all the human race. God imputed all of the sin of the world unto Jesus Christ so that by God's grace, in Christ, all who repent of their sins and trust in Christ as their Savior and Lord are personally redeemed, forgiven, justified, declared innocent, accepted, washed, pardoned, perfected, saved, elected, set free, reconciled, accounted righteous, ransomed, purchased, chosen, called, adopted, cleansed, purged, healed, sanctified, delivered, made alive, atoned for, found, brought back, bought back, made nigh, born again, and predestined unto life eternal. Jesus lived, died, arose again from the dead, and ascended into Heaven from whence He will come again to save all who eagerly await His return.

And so who will be able to stand in that Day? (Revelation 6:17) Who is righteous enough to meet all of the righteousness of the Law? This is the most important question that any Man can ask in this life! How can I meet the just requirements of God and His Law on that Day? Paul gives us the answer to the question.

Romans 3:9-26 "for we have before proved {proved: Gr. charged} both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law : that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty {guilty...: or, subject to the judgment of God} before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ (Greek—objective genitive: in Jesus Christ) unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short (Greek—present continuous: continually come short) of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance {remission: or, passing over} of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."

The verdict of "NOT GUILTY" is rendered to every repentant sinner who puts his faith in the perfect imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, who alone lived a perfect sinless life which measured in every way to the righteousness of God's holy Law. Notice very carefully that God does not merely overlook sin in sinners. No! No! God's Law must be satisfied and the redemption price paid to the Law of God. That price paid is the very life of God's own Son who met all of the requirements of the Law for the entire human race by His sinless obedience and then by His death upon the Cross died in the place of the guilty race of ungodly sinners.

1 Peter 1:18-19 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."

God does not impute sin and guilt to those who personally call upon the name of Jesus for forgiveness and put their trust in Christ Jesus.

Romans 4:3-8 "Abraham believed God, and it was COUNTED UNTO HIM for righteousness. 4 Now to him that WORKETH is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that WORKETH NOT, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is COUNTED for righteousness.

6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God IMPUTETH righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not IMPUTE sin." 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was IMPUTED to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was IMPUTED to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be IMPUTED, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our JUSTIFICATION.

5:1 Therefore being JUSTIFIED by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and REJOICE in hope of the glory of God (the Second Coming of Christ, THE JUDGEMENT DAY!).... 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the UNGODLY. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US.

9 Much more then, being now JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD, we shall be SAVED FROM WRATH through him. 10 For if, when we were ENEMIES, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be SAVED BY HIS LIFE. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have NOW received the atonement. {atonement: or, reconciliation} 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law . 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the OFFENCE OF ONE many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness (JUSTIFICATION) shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

18 Therefore as by the offence of one JUDGMENT came upon all men to CONDEMNATION; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto JUSTIFICATION of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners (condemned), so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous (acquitted)."

How could the Law of God remit our punishment? Christ bore our legal guilt so that every repentant believer in Christ might be declared innocent before the Law of God.

2 Corinthians 5:18 "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, RECONCILING the world unto Himself, not IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For He hath made (accounted) Him to be SIN FOR US, who knew no sin; that we might be made (accounted) the righteousness of God in Him."

The good news of our salvation, acceptance, and forgiveness in Christ is proclaimed to all the world and is attended by the outpouring power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit calls and enables whosoever will to personally believe the gospel of Christ's finished work on the cross, to repent of dead works (sin that leads to death), and to be baptized for the remission of sins.

Those who believe the gospel are justified (legally forgiven) by faith in the perfect life and death of Jesus alone. They are pardoned, forgiven, and declared righteous in Christ. By the grace of God we are ACCOUNTED PERFECT and sinless in His merciful reckoning and our sinfulness (legal guilt and moral pollution) is covered by His sinlessness. The Law of God finds nothing to condemn in the repentant one who believes and continues to believe in Jesus. This is what the apostle Paul calls justification by faith in the IMPUTED righteousness of Christ.

Thus atonement for the sins of the entire world has been made available at the cross of Christ, we are personally saved from our sins when we repent of our sins and believe the gospel, and we will be saved at the coming of our blessed Lord if we continue to daily repent of our sins and continue to trust in Christ as Savior and Lord unto the end. Thus at every point in our lives we are justified and reckoned righteous by faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ alone.

What is the FRUIT of Justification by Faith?

Every justified believer in Christ receives the gracious gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit urges, teaches, empowers, and enables all believers in Jesus to begin to live loving, sanctified lives. In Christ, we will begin to bear the fruit of God's Spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self control.

We are called to unite with Christ to use the spiritual weapons He has made available for Christians to enter the battles of life as we struggle against sin and hardness of heart. Daily the spiritual qualities of God's Law, the Ten Commandments, are impressed and written upon the heart and then expressed and reflected in the life as we earn a living, raise our children, are faithful in marriage, help our neighbor, reach out to our enemies, and wrestle with inbred tendencies to evil.

This life long battle against sin and daily growth in character is called sanctification. In sanctification we resist the Devil; —strive against sin; —take up our cross; —hunger and thirst after righteousness; —overcome the love of the world, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; —love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls; —love our neighbors as ourselves by doing unto others as we would have others do unto us; —endure hardships and persecution; —bless those who persecute us and not curse them; —labor to proclaim the gospel to all the world; —pray without ceasing; —use every talent we have for the glory of God as we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, not conforming to the world but rather being transformed by the renewing of our minds; —rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep; —do not set our minds on high things but associate with the humble; —pay no one evil for evil, not avenging ourselves; —show mercy to all with cheerfulness; —minister to all; —teach all; —give to all; —show love to all; —do not lag in diligence; —do not think more highly of ourselves than we ought but think soberly; —are kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love; rejoice in hope; —are patient in tribulation; —distribute to the needs of the saints; —pursue hospitality; —despise all forms of adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambition, dissensions, heresies, envy, murder, drunkenness, and ungodly associations. In all things we are to be zealous of good works and put on the Lord Jesus Christ and not make any provision for the flesh.

However, even as we mature in Christ, obey the Commandments of God, partake of the divine nature, grow in faith, and deepen in our repentance, there is no point in the Christian life where we will not need forgiveness and justification by faith in Christ's imputed righteousness. Our prayer, this side of eternity, to our Heavenly Father will always be, "Father, please forgive us of our sins, for Jesus' sake" and "Lord, I am an unprofitable servant. Be merciful to me a sinner, for Jesus' sake." Thus the Christian church is always a forgiven community and therefore is to always be a forgiving community. This is true now and even unto the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of heaven.

And so we see that the lies of those who deny that the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ has purchased our pardon for us at the Cross is exposed to the full light of the word of God. All that God's Law demands has been legally fulfilled in the gift of God's dear Son in dying for the sins of the world. Will you repent and believe in Him today? Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord in repentance will be saved. "Christ has for sin atonement made, what a wonderful Savior!" Repent and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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