BY REV GOH YONG KUANG
There was a popular Taiwanese drama series on TV during the early 90’s called 包青天 (Bāo Qīng Tiān). It tells the story of a magistrate from the Song Dynasty known as 包拯 (Bāo Zhěng), who is portrayed as having a dark complexion and a crescent-shaped birthmark on his forehead.
Living in a time of gross injustice and corrupt judiciary – Bao Zheng stood up as a symbol of justice and integrity. He was known for being strictly impartial and incorruptible (鐵面無私 - “tiě miàn wú sī”) - one who administers justice without fear or favour, and who does not hesitate to punish anyone found guilty of wrongdoing, including those who are related to the emperor!
Of course, even the best of men (such as Bāo Zhěng) are but a pale reflection of God who is perfectly righteous and just!
Because God is righteous and just in His character, He will judge every deed, along with every secret, whether good or evil (Eccl. 12:14). Jesus once said that on the Day of Judgement, men will have to “give account for every careless word they speak” (Mat.12:36, ESV). If even our “careless words” are being carefully recorded – how much more will our deliberate, calculated words of slander, criticism and gossip, our off-colour jokes and our unkind comments – be taken into account!
Because God is righteous and just in His character, He is always right in His judgment. Some 4,000 years ago, Abraham caught a glimpse of God’s anger toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and wanted to know if God was doing the right thing: “Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked…should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?” (Gen.18:25 NLT) The late J. I. Packer, author of “Knowing God” answers that for us, “The idea of a judge wholly associated with what is good and right is perfectly fulfilled in God.” (p.141).
Finally, because our God is righteous and just, there is no need to despair nor to take matters into our own hand. The retributive judgment of God should be a comfort to us. With all the evil and injustice in the world – knowing that God is the judge who will right all wrongs is a comforting and reassuring one. The final judgment assures us that the justice will prevail!
Since our God is a righteous judge, what should be our response?
Firstly, we should make every effort to live a life that is pleasing to God. The Christian life is not merely about believing in Christ – it is also about living for Christ and becoming like Him in our attitude and conduct. God is concerned about how we live our lives. People often judge God by what they see in us. That’s why we ought to live in such a way that we do not cause others to stumble or to bring disgrace to our Lord’s name.
Secondly, knowing that God will one day judge the world, we must obey God’s command to reach out to the lost and bring them into a relationship with Jesus Christ! Some of these people might just happen to be our loved ones, our neighbours, friends, and colleagues. Without Christ, they will be lost forever. May God help us!
He shall judge the world in righteousness,
And He shall administer judgement for the peoples in uprightness.
Psalm 9:8 (NKJV)