Recently I had the opportunity to observe a two different circumstances in which the persons involved used the old "you can't judge me, only God can judge me" defense as a scapegoat to hide what they knew was the TRUTH. They did not direct this copout at me...I was just watching this from afar.
Anyhow, through these situations, God gave me pause to consider the words of Christ in John 5:22, in which He says "He then goes on to elaborate on the litmus test whereby the judgment of the Son comes to bear. That being whether or not the life a person lives honors the Son. After considering this for a time, I believe I've gotten a better grasp on the rules of the House. Below are some of the thoughts that resulted from my ponderings…do with them what you like…here goes…
THE HOUSE RULES
1. Man can't judge me. This is true because you are in the same broken condition as me. Now, because you are also broken, you are well acquainted with the characteristics of brokenness. In other words, you can spot a messed up person from across the room as easily as I can. My machine may not malfunction in the same areas that yours does…but broken is broken. So, I should not be surprised if you can correctly identify my brokenness, in a way you are simply identifying yourself in me. That being said, this “identification” isn't really “judgment”, it is simply empathy. And it goes without saying that the reason I don’t like being correctly identified as broken, and rail against it, is likely because you are correct in your assessment of my machine. However, in order to pass a moral judgment, one party must have moral authority over the other party. We are both broken. Neither of us has a leg to stand on when it comes to morality. In other words, the day you are able to fix my machine is the day you can pass true judgment on me. Until then, the best you can do is say, “Hey you just proved you’re as messed up as I am…welcome to the club!”
2. God doesn't have to judge me. This is true because He has set up the rules of the House to work otherwise. It's His game...and if He desires to create an automated machine, well, that's His business. Just because His rules don't fit our game, doesn't mean we have the ability to change the rules. The House always wins.
3. The Son has the right to judge me. This is true because He, acting in love and grace on our behalf, made a way that no person HAS TO receive judgment at all. When God the Father flipped the switch and empower His game, He turned over the rights of judgment to the Son. The Son then responded by taking the Judge’s gavel and beating Himself to death with it. In effect, this turned the tables on who has the responsibility of judging me completely upside down…because the only One (the Son) with the right to judge me chose instead to self-inflict the sentence of my judgment upon Himself.
4. Only one remains from whom my judgment can come. The House (God the Father) has decided...I will judge myself. This self-judgment comes with two options…and two possible outcomes.
1. If my life honors the Son, then all the benefits of son-ship become mine.
2. If my life denies the Son, then I have condemned myself.
These are the rules of the House. This is how He has ordained the game will be played. At the end of the day, God will receive all the glory because whether we choose condemn ourselves or honor the Son with our lives...God still owns all the chips. And let us not forget that He has already declared that all the players will bow at the feet of the Son eventually. We simply get to choose whether we do it the easy way or the hard way. Some will bow on their own accord...the rest will be forced to their knees. In the words of CS Lewis... Either we will choose to look at God and say "Your will be done" or He will look at us and say "very well then, your will be done".
Either way we choose, Christ will be honored. After all, either way, He has already won the game.