The Restorative Judge by Deon Crafford
Hebrews 6:1-8 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
It is often difficult for one to reconcile the immense love of Christ, which culminated in Him willfully giving up His life, to His office of Judge. And yet the Word makes it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ will return as the Judge, and that He will exercise the mandate of this office. A God so loving that “He gave His only Son” …… and now follows, “that whoever believes in Him” will have eternal life. What then of those who won’t believe in Him? Are they going to be pardoned in the eleventh hour? Will God renege on the restoration power of the Cross and grant eternal Life to the entire Universe. Who am I to know what God will do? All I have though is His Word. Was He misunderstood, is the interpretation of His judgement a man-made one? Well in that case aren’t all our views of Him man-made and if so what makes one supercede another?
Perhaps the only way in which I can reconcile the harshness of Jesus’ office of Judge is to understand this in the realm of restorative justice. When God introduced judges in the Old Testament, they were charged with turning the people from their sin and disobedience. Time and again they did this – judge after judge – and still the people kept falling away from God. Then God introduced the Final Judge, the One whose partiality towards the accused was so pronounced that He gave up His life to secure his/her/your/my acquittal. This Judge would restore us finally from the fangs and claws of evil that so readily befell us. But after Him there will be no other Judge, there will be no other restoration. It is indeed done.
While God did everything for me to secure my relationship with Him, there is a part that I too must play. This part is also God’s love for me, to avail me the opportunity of discernment or decision, to choose restoration or rejection, to turn towards Him or away from Him. He trusts me enough, not to effect my own salvation, but to choose the path that He paved for me with the broken body of Jesus Christ. Am I worth His trust?
Love to all