The Eng. words “judging” and “judgment” have a variety of meanings. In logic, “to judge” is no more than to establish a mental relation between two or more terms, and a “judgment” is simply a proposition which affirms or denies a connection between concepts. In psychology “judgment” is but another name for perspicacity or sagacity, a quality which is ascribed to one who has the gift of discernment and a capacity for sound appraisal (
Back of this, however, and providing the ultimate context of the words, is, on the one hand, the righteousness of God (a blend of justice and love), and, on the other, the moral and spiritual posture and behavior of men and societies residing in a fallen world. In this ethico-judicial context the framework of judging and judgment is the divinely established moral order; the central concepts are those of good and evil, right and wrong; and the operative principle is that what a man sows that he also shall reap (
In the Scriptures God and Christ are presented as judges who, in terms of Gospel and law, pass a verdict on men, their sentiments, and their actions; and who in history and at the end of it either vindicate or condemn them.
According to the Scriptures God is the Judge of all the earth (
God, as the Scriptures witness (
God’s justice most clearly coalesces with His love in the act by which He delivered His only begotten Son into condemnation and death in order that through His sacrifice and merits men may have pardon and life (
The power of God to execute the sentences He imposes and to protect those whom He vindicates is limitless. Those whom He judges are veritably judged, being gripped or upborne by His omnipotence. No one is strong enough to snatch the lambs from His bosom or to withstand the vigor of His wrath and the force of His sentence (
Although the men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment and condemn the evil generation which sought a sign from Jesus (
Although the great day of judgment is still in the offing, divine judgments have long been upon the earth, and judgment is being passed daily.
In the past it was by the judgment of God that the antediluvian civilization was washed away by the Flood (
In the present, because God maintains the moral order, His judgments still fall upon men and nations. More importantly, just as during His life on earth, so yet today Christ is set for the rise and fall of men, and the judgment that is implicit in His person is even now separating men into two camps. It is by virtue of this fact that believers can in the present, before the final judgment, know and rejoice that for them there is and will be no condemnation (
Not only are judges in human courts of law authorized to make judgments in civil and criminal cases, but all men everywhere are permitted and even obliged to assess human claims upon truth, beauty, or goodness, and to appraise the character, conduct, and teaching both of themselves and of their fellows. This is a fortiori true of Christians (