I remember when John 3:16 used to be visible at almost every Field Goal attempt in football. The days where John 3:16 were known and beloved to most Americans is over. Today the #1 verse Americans love to quote is from Matthew’s Gospel. Of course, you are only supposed to quote “part” of the verse so as to procure maximum mainstream appeal. Here’s the verse:
Matthew 7:1 (ESV) “Judge not…”
There’s a lot more to that passage than those two words, but America doesn’t have time for them. We want a “judgment-free” world so we can live “our truth” as we see fit sans constraint.
Of course, this kind of living is a fallacy. This weekend a man decided to test the limits of a popular fitness center’s “Judgment-Free Zone” policy by walking in, undressing and meandering about totally naked. His only defense to arresting officers was that he perceived the gym was indeed “judgment-free.”
Not so fast.
While this is certainly an extreme and isolated example of the conundrum a “Judge Not” society produces, it epitomizes the inevitable confusion to which it leads. Today we have teens told by their principle to “tolerate” undressing in a locker room with a member of the opposite sex. We are living in an age where biology and science are cast aside by the unquestionable internal realities of an individual. Where will it stop? No one knows. The human heart is indeed “desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9) yet many are convinced this is “progress.”
Let me inform you of something uncomfortable which also has the capacity to bring great comfort TO YOU. No matter what society decides to do or think regarding standards, right behavior and tolerance, no one escapes the perfect and righteous judgment of God. Not you, me or anyone in between.
Hebrews 4:13 (ESV) “no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to Whom we must give account.”
Scripture says every one of us is responsible to this higher JUDGE who has an eternal perspective and perfect wisdom. The truth is we all fall short of God’s standard of perfection (Romans 3:23). Society can proclaim whatever it wants, society is not God. Further, Jesus declared we all presently stand condemned before Him (John 3:18). This is the uncomfortable side of the Gospel.
What is our eternal hope? That Jesus took the judgment of God for our sins upon Himself. This is the comfort of the Gospel and the heart of John 3:16. In love, God gave His Son so that you would not perish through condemnation. The true Gospel will first confront all of us by demolishing our own inadequate “standards” of right and wrong and level us before the righteous perfection of God so that we look not to ourselves but to Him who took our sin (2 Cor. 5:21) and bore our shame so that we could approach God as our Father with confidence and freedom. The very next verses in Hebrew 4 make it clear:
Hebrews 4:14–16 (ESV) Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Friends, there is a righteous and true Judge of all the Earth. And THIS judge took your judgment 2000 years ago. The Gospel is not “judgment-free”, it is “judgment-clean” because of the Cross – our hope, our Truth and our life.