(John 5:19-22 NKJV): “Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son…”
(John 12:31-32 NKJV): “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
In this post, I would like to look closer at the idea of “judgment,” which is one of several concepts men have understood and taught from a place of shallowness, fear and self-focus rather than from the peace and wisdom of the Spirit. We have to understand that in the Greek language, the word “judgment” means “to separate, to choose, to decide, to make a distinction.” Today, we tend to associate judgment with condemnation and punishment, but while God’s judgment can include these things, it’s still different than what we typically think. In John 5:19-22, when Jesus says the Father has committed all judgment to the son, he wasn’t saying the Father was commissioning His son to condemn or punish the world. In fact, Jesus said he came to do the exact opposite! (John 3:17). Look again – Jesus said that he only does what he sees his Father do. He then says the Father “raises the dead and gives life to them” and that the son does the same, because the Father has “committed all judgment to the son.” The Father’s judgment, the way He makes a distinction among people, which He has administered through His son, is to “raise the dead and give life to them.” That is what happened at the cross. Now, this raising from death to life is isn’t primarily a physical one, but a spiritual. Generally speaking, death = the mind and life of natural man/Adam, and life = the mind and life of the Spirit of God.
Here are a couple examples:
1 John 3:14 ASV: “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death.”
Romans 5:17 ASV: “For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ.”
Romans 8:6 ASV: “For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace…”
In the passage from John 12 at the top, Jesus knows he is about to go to the cross. He says that in his crucifixion and resurrection, the “judgment of this world” would be made, the “ruler of this world” cast out, and “all peoples drawn” to himself. So, the judgment of the world took place at the cross, 2,000 years ago. Then and there, God rendered His judgment of life toward mankind, going both forward and backward in time. God’s judges the world by ending death and pouring out His Life through His son. Now, it’s true that not all will receive or walk in this new Life while in these mortal bodies, and I’m not even sure all are able to. But those things are another subject.
I think it’s also important we understand that this eternal life which God has judged upon us is not primarily eternal in the sense of “never-ending,” but eternal in the sense of quality and nature. John 17:3 (MLV) records Jesus saying this: “And this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you did send.” Eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son – not in a mental sense, but in the sense of receiving and participating in their life and union. Remember in John 4, where Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well? As they sat by the well together, Jesus said this to her: “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”1 This eternal life is to be springing up from within, right now, and is found in a current knowing of the Father and Son. These and other scriptures make it clear that whatever this eternal life is, it’s for now, not just the future.
Finally, let’s briefly think about what is meant by “life.” I think, at its core, life is about having consciousness and the ability to use energy. Jesus famously said that to gain this eternal life, we must lose OUR life.2 I believe he meant this: “in order to partake of and abide in the life of God, we have to be willing to let go of the death we have called life – all the beliefs and pursuits that have their foundation in fear, selfishness, and ignorance. (This speaks more about letting go of our previous religious beliefs and practices than anything else!) Really, this isn’t that controversial. It only makes sense that light and darkness, love and selfishness, spirit and religion cannot co-exist. As we embrace this eternal life and allow it room to spring forth from within us, we will find ourselves freely wanting to love and serve others, difficult as it may be. We will begin to let go of what hinders the expression of this eternal Life within us – not out of guilt or obligation or fear, but freely, because our very nature wants to. Our walk with God won’t be about “seeing results” so much as it will be about being faithful and walking in the Spirit. And although this new Life is often difficult, it’s also full of glory, hope, and beauty. We also have the promise that as the Reign of God comes to earth, pain and crying and tears will pass away, forever. I think this is a long way off in human years, but the only way it’s coming is through the sons and daughters of God walking in the Spirit. Not just in “miracles” but in wisdom, insight, love, and truth.
I’ve often thought that if I’m going to suffer, it better be for something worthwhile, and to me, nothing is more worthwhile than helping establish the reign of God on earth, partaking of and ministering His grace, truth, reconciliation and love to the world. I still feel I’m just getting started and I still have days I feel far from these things…maybe I’ll always feel that way, but I intend to keep going! God bless you.
John 4:13-14 NKJV