Bible Reading: Isaiah 11:1-5; Acts 8:36-43
The judgement both for believers and the ungodly will happen at the time of Christ’s coming at the resurrection. Here is the order that Scripture lays out for us: death, paradise, Christ’s coming, the resurrection of the dead in Christ, those who are alive in Christ caught up to meet Him in the air and then the judgement.
When Paul speaks of the Christian being judged he speaks of unfruitful works being burned up with fire. What exactly are those works? In John 15:5 Jesus says that without Him we can do nothing. The works that will be burned in the fire are the things that we did that were not done in partnership with Jesus. It is possible to do amazing things without depending upon Jesus and His Spirit, but those things will not be eternal and will not survive in the fire. They may even be good things but ultimately be unfruitful and a hindrance to the best.
Many years ago I heard a seemingly successful pastor, who had built a large church, repenting of having done this without reliance upon Jesus. He had used management techniques, people skills, and an amazing natural charisma, and had depended upon his own ability. The result was that the people came together and did things together but somehow Jesus was not at the centre. Prayer and dependence upon Jesus were a minimum.
The things that will survive are those things done at the command of Jesus and in humble dependence upon Him. They will be acts of love and service to others. The writer to the Hebrews says, “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do” [Hebrews 6:10].
Isaiah 11:1-5 is a prophecy about Jesus and speaks of the way He will judge. What do you think is the meaning of the phrase, “He shall not judge by what His eyes see or decide disputes by what His ear hears”?
What conclusions do you draw from this passage about the way in which Jesus will judge?