God is good (Mk 10:18), and everything God does is good. When God created the physical world, it was appraised by God to be very good (Gen 1:31).
Sin entered the world with Adam, and with sin came death (Rom 5:12–14). It is appointed once for a man to die and then comes the judgment (Heb 9:27). God is just to judge the rebellion of men and angels (Gen 18:25). When the last of those chosen for salvation has been brought into Christ’s sheepfold, then, comes the end.
On the last day, the dead in Christ shall be raised from the dead and shall live in glorious new bodies. Sin will be no more and the imperishable, immortal life in the new heavens and the new earth will begin (1 Cor 15:53–54). This coincides with the final judgment, when the resurrection of the dead to judgment occurs (Jn 5:25–29), along with the destruction of the present heavens and earth (2 Pet 3:10–12).
Belief, in these things revealed in the Bible, is embraced through spiritual appraisal (Gk. anakrino). Paul wrote, “But he who is spiritual appraises all things (1 Cor 2:15a).” This is set in contrast with those who have no capacity for this spiritual discernment. Does one choose to be spiritual, to know the things of God of his own free will?
God’s revelation is only taught by the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26). When the Spirit of Christ causes a person to be born again of God (regeneration), He begins to illumine the mind and warm the heart toward God.
What God has revealed in Scripture belongs to us, and the Spirit inspires us to thorough study. He grows us spiritually, by grace, to know Christ (2 Pet 3:18). With the knowledge of Christ, we have the knowledge of the truth. This is set in contrast to our former thoughts, words, beliefs, and actions.
Jesus Christ is in perfect union with God the Father (Jn 17). We who are in Christ have fellowship with the Father through God the Son. It is God’s will for His adopted children to know Him (Rom 8:15, 23). He has made Himself known, through His Son coming into the world and by His incarnation (Jn 1:14). It is the Son who chooses to whom He reveals the Father (Mt 11:27).
This special revelation, when illumined by the indwelling Spirit, is spiritually appraised by grace. God causes us to see things, as they are in reality, through the lens of Holy Scripture. We read truth in the Bible, and the Spirit helps us to see the truth of all that is going on in the world.
It is the Holy Spirit who knows the mind of God, and only the spirit of a man knows the thoughts of a man (1 Cor 2:11). God, of course, knows the thoughts of every man because He is every man’s Maker (Ps 100:3; Heb 11:10). This also makes God the only acceptable Judge of a man. Paul wrote, “yet he himself is appraised by no man (1 Cor 2:15b).”
Hence, we see that a transformation does occur with Christian conversion. There is a renewing of the mind that manifests with the Spirit’s illumination of Scripture (Rom 12:2). The mind of Christ is brought by the Spirit of Christ (1 Cor 2:16).
Jesus Christ is the Judge of all (Rom 2:6; 2 Tim 4:1), being all-knowing and all-powerful. He is wise and just. He is good. The Father has entrusted Him with all authority in heaven and on the earth (Mt 28:18).
Christians have the ability to spiritually appraise, and the desire to do this because the Spirit of the just Judge lives in our hearts. We shall soon be with Christ on His judgment seat, ruling and reigning with Him in all wisdom (Mt 19:28). Today, we are learning how to do these things. We should be advancing in our prowess, too (1 Cor 6:3).
Although the Bible assures us we will judge the angels, it is clear we are not to judge one another in unrighteous ways or in an untimely manner (Mt 7:1; 1 Cor 4:5). Every Christian is a work in God’s progressive plan of salvation. Sanctification is God’s will for His people (1 Thess 4:3), and this is the work of the Holy Spirit (Phil 2:13; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2).
As God crafts our brothers and sisters into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18), we can be assured that the good work He has begun in them, He will also finish (Phil 1:6). Who then can appraise me? Paul said that he would not even judge himself, nor would he accept the judgments of himself by others (1 Cor 4:3–4).
We must therefore conclude that some things are revealed to us and some things remain hidden. We need spiritual discernment to know whether something, like a teaching, is from God (Jn 7:17). Knowing the devil has sent many false prophets into the world (Mt 24:11; 1 Jn 4:1), we need the Spirit and the Word, to help us know the truth as it is in Christ Jesus (Eph 4:21).
We must not judge others for being a lost cause, but we must also avoid a non-discerning universalism. Many are called but few are chosen (Mt 22:14); therefore, we are to warn others of the coming judgment (Mt 3:7). We do this when we faithfully preach the whole counsel of God, which discloses God’s judgment and salvation (Is 51:5).
Christian, be inspired to open your Bible each day to learn Christ. In this, the Spirit will give you wisdom to spiritually appraise all things. It will humble you to know that you know the depth of the riches of Christ, who is the wisdom and power of God (1 Cor 1:24).
To be a judge is a great privilege and a great responsibility. You must know and love the Law of the Lord. He has made you do that, so do it well.
August 5, 2022