A long-time friend and faithful reader of this blog contacted me recently about a series written here for which she was very thankful, entitled The Man of Lawlessness: He Is Coming. I thanked her for reminding me about this soon-to-come-to-pass truth that had fallen off my radar a bit because of, well, the everyday things of life. So, by way of reminder, please allow me to re-visit a related topic. The judgment of everyone in the world is coming, just as surely as the sun rises every morning. Or, to be more scientific, just as surely as the earth rotates.

Yes, you, the reader, will be judged. Everyone will. Christian believer and unbeliever alike will stand before God. If you are not a believer in Jesus and not standing before Him in His righteousness, which would have been freely given to you, this will be a horrifying, reality-has-come-home event. Because you don’t have any. None. You will have nowhere to escape. You’re done. It’s over. Your future has been determined by what you did and didn’t do on the earth. You will be standing before the most glorious, holy, powerful, loving Being that exists, the One you denied or ignored. Just you and Him. Books will be opened. Your history will be known, which will not be a surprise to you. The very words you have spoken. Your thoughts. Your actions. Your belief in, or lack of belief in, Him. Your sins against God and people, some of which you thoroughly enjoyed. Some of which you were proud. This is the terrifying reality of that event: “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). 1

For believers in Jesus, however, another judgment awaits, one not of believing in Him, but of actions done in Him and motive. In addressing the believers in Rome, Paul wrote, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10–12).

But back to the main point of this article. Right smack dab in the middle of Paul’s teaching (below), about Christians judging each other is a very surprising, even odd, reference.

A little background.

Paul was very unhappy with the Christians in the Greek city, Corinth. Oh, he loved them, and there is no doubt he considered it worth his time and effort to teach them; but they had done some things in the church that deserved a scathing rebuke. The issues were several, but I’d like to highlight only one in this post. The believers were taking one another to secular court. Paul, astonished, asked them why they didn’t deal with these matters in the church rather than the courts of unbelievers (1 Corinthians 6:5-6).

In the body of this rebuke, Paul brings up the aforementioned surprising truths.

“When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!” (1 Corinthians 6:1–3).

Surprising truth Number One: The saints will judge the world.

Surprising truth Number Two: The saints will judge angels.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

And that’s a legal smoke, by the way, a smoke that should bring up some non-drugged questions.

How on earth, or how in heaven, will that be done? What will it look like, be like, to judge…angels? How are Christians to participate in judging the world?

My honest, one-hundred-percent truthful answer:

I have no idea. None. But there it is, right there in Scripture.

Despite that ignorance, however, two truths are now known to us.

Now-known truth Number One: You won’t be flying around on a puffy cloud playing a harp for eternity. I have no idea where the culture of the West got that one from. I guess from the Book of Revelation where so much praise of God is happening.

Now-known-truth Number Two: You will have a job to do. A judging job.

Does that make you a bit uncomfortable? It does me.

Solution for discomfort: Know Him. Seek Him. Know His Word. Love Him. Love others and be careful how you judge. One thing I pray almost daily: “Jesus, I know I will stand before You to be judged. Please do whatever You must in me to cause me to hear these words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Artwork courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

1All quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.