Monday, August 29, 2011

The necessary judgment for kingdom vision

Judging in righteousness vs. judging with the eyes and ears

The judgment of the kingdom is always internal and spiritual; it is never external and condemnatory [of others]. Christ taught us that true judgment begins with the house of God; that is, true judgment is personal and radical. It is first and always a judgment of self, bringing the false self in light of the kingdom that the true self might live freely for God and others.

If one can grasp that Jesus is completely blind where the world claims sight, and completely sight-filled where the world is in blindness, then one begins to understand Him as Messiah. "Who is blind like my Servant?" asks the Lord. Answer: No one. Because He was the only one perfect in judgment -- perfect in sight, perfect in blindness. "He will not judge by what He sees with his eyes, or decide by what He hears with his ears; but with righteousness will He judge..." Isa. 11:4

Only He is perfect in this judgment, but He has come to make us children of this sight: "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind" [Jn. 9:39]. When we confess the blindness of our own [natural] self, the true self gains kingdom sight: We become children of Light.

Johann Christoph Blumhardt talks of this kind of judgment -- judgment that always accompanies the work of the kingdom, and precedes great inbreaking of divine power.

“Judgment” means that, through the rigorous Spirit of God, a person comes to know himself for who he is, making a division between what is good and what is evil in God’s sight, and giving the evil over to be judged. Without such judgment, no one, even in New Testament times, was great or blessed. In the same way. it is not possible for the masses of humankind to be saved in the end without the judgment which the Son of Man brings with him when he comes. It is only in this final judgment that many things will collapse which we take as good and proper today but which in fact have been only temporarily tolerated by God.

So, regarding the world and the victory over it, all the apostles hoped for the time of Jesus’ coming. Before this time, they expected no true renewal of the world as a whole. Likewise, we ought not lose faith when, for the present, the world remains untouched and our faith can fight only in secret. The world is not by that token lost forever. It awaits the final revelation of Jesus Christ in which he will show himself as King of Kings.

Of course, a lazy waiting certainly is not appropriate, for the life of the faithful is itself the beginning of the end, and upon the faithfulness of these forerunners everything depends. The Savior himself, as well as the apostles, made note of this. To those servants “who wait for the Lord” (Lk. 12:36), “the elect who cry to him day and night” (Lk. 18:7-8), presently there is given, as answer to their longing, the words, “Behold, I am coming soon!” Their faithfulness is a power that can bear witness to people today. Without that, the gospel does not in itself have the piercing light that makes people right and enlists them as comrades in arms in the company of Jesus Christ.

So it is a joyful thing for us to carry in ourselves the power of the gospel: it brings light into the darkness of our world and is a help toward the end-time coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, when all flesh will see the glory of God.


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