OT19 | Eden to Exile

NT Connect: John 5:30

Weekly Reading: 1 Samuel 23-27

Christ is the Righteous Judge

We stand in judgment over ourselves and others on a daily basis. “You’re wrong,” you might protest, “I don’t judge other people. They can do whatever is best for them. I don’t judge them, and neither should you.” Such a claim contradicts itself by passing judgment on the one who judges others. We cannot escape the fact that we judge how we and others ought to act. We are constantly judging.

The question, then, is not are we to judge right and wrong, but rather how are we to determine right from wrong. Consider this question in the life of David. In 1 Samuel 23-27, Saul is trying to kill David. While on the run, David, by God’s providence, had two separate opportunities to take Saul’s life and chose to spare it. He explained to Saul, “I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed” (1 Sam. 24:10). These are the first fruits of David’s kingly and just reign. He is wise, discerning, and obedient to the Lord. While his decisions to spare Saul may seem unbelievably righteous by the standard of self-preservation, it is plain to David that if he had taken Saul’s life in either of those situations, then he would have been violating God’s law. Yet even David, for all his praiseworthy actions, is far from righteous in God’s sight. We only need to read 2 Samuel 11 to see this displayed. David knows right from wrong, yet even so, he is unable to rule as the righteous judge.

At this, we are seeing our question shift from “how are we to determine right from wrong?” to “who is there that can ever judge justly?” Over and again people were raised up and failed miserably in judging and living righteously. But God’s promise to send a King would be fulfilled. The righteous judge would come. The words of Jesus in John 5:30 say it all, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” Christ is the ultimate judge and King who alone is righteous before God and who alone can bring his people into a right standing with Father. Jesus is this long awaited rescuer. In him alone can we truly see right from wrong. 

All this time, we have not been waiting for the answer of whether we ought to judge one another, but we have been waiting on the righteous judge in whom there is no fault. And we have been waiting for him to look upon us with approval. By faith in Christ we have that approval. In Christ, God looks upon us with favor. In Christ, we have the approval of the only wise King. This, then, means that our actions in the world must reflect the actions of our righteous judge, not to earn his approval, but because he has granted his approval to those who hope in him.

Tyler Smiley