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Christ is able to read every heart, and bring out the real character of all who come before him. He knows what is in man, and has a record of all the thoughts, words and actions of men. He will "bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing." Eccl. 12: 14.
4th. There must be strict moral integrity.
Nothing is more essential than this in a judge. He may have the power to call men to an account for their conduct, and be able to bring out the true character of all who come before his bar; but if he is not just he is unqualified for his office. There have been instances in which judges have been bribed to give an unjust judgment; but this cannot be done with the great Judge of all men. He is a being of impartial justice and "will render to every man according to his deeds." Rom. 26. God gave Christ "authority to execute judgment." He was appointed to do justice, to reward all according to their deeds, to see that the universe. suffers no wrong, either by the escape of the guilty, or the punishment of the innocent. He is free from all the imperfections incident to all human judges. "Judgment and justice are the habitations of his throne." There will be no murmuring against the decisions of his throne, for every man's conscience will bear testimony to their justice.
The question has been asked, whether we are to understand that Christ will be present in his own person, and personally administer the sentence; or whether that it is by his doctrine and laws that the final state of each individual is to be determined. It seems to me that the language of the scriptures is unequivocal on this point. "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory and before him
shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." Matt. 25:31-32. Here Christ is represented as personally present, executing the judgment himself. To the righteous he says: "Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." "Then shall he say also unto them on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." No language could be plainor than this.
II. By what authority does Christ exercise the office of Judge? Is it original, or is it derived?
This question can only be answered by the revelations of God's written word. All that we know on this subject we learn from it. The same word that informs us that Christ is Judge tells us by what authority he exercises this office. God "hath given him authority to execute judgment also." John 5: 27. Peter says that he "was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead." Acts 10: 42. Paul says, God "hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained." Acts 17:31. Our text says: "The Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." No language could be more unequivocal than this, and it affirms that Christ received this appointment from his Father. He did not possess it originally in himself, but derived it from God. He is Judge by appointment. The authority originally belonged to God. He alone had the right to execute judgment; but instead of ising it himself, he has committed it to his Son Christ Jesus. Yonder is a king who reigns over a powerful kingdom, and he alone has the moral right
and power to execute judgment on his subjects; but instead of filling the office of Judge himself he commits it into the hands of his son. Thus it is with the case now before us. God alone had the moral right and power to execute judgment upon the subjects of his vast empire. This authority and power he has given to his Son. Hence Christ says: "All things are deliv.ered unto me of my Father." Matt. 11:27. John says, "The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into his hands." John 3: 35.
It would seem to be proper and right that God should select the greatest and wisest being in his empire to fill the important office of Judge. This is the course of wise and good kings who desire the happiness of their people. In filling the office of Judge, God chose the most exalted person among all the lofty intelligences of his mighty kingdom. He selected his own Son who is "the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person." b. 1: 3. In this appointment God has evinced his love for man, and his earnest desire to do justly by all. If a king should appoint to the office of a supreme judge an ignorant and cruel man it would show that he had but little regard for his subjects; but if he should select the wisest and best man in his empire it would evince his love and regard for them. In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He is pure and spotless, "too wise to err and too good to be unkind." The appointment of such a being to the office of Judge demonstrates the high regard and affection that God has for man.
III. The reasons why Christ was appointed to this office. Two reasons are clearly stated in the Scriptures, but there may have been others for this appointment, in
fluencing the righteous decisions of the divine mind. 1st. It may have been that God desired to show to the universe his affection and regard for man and his desire to deal justly with him in this appointment.
This was, undoubtedly one part of the divine purpose, and we could conceive of no way in which this could be done so effectually as in the appointment of Christ to this office. He was the nearest to the eternal throne, and occupied the highest place among the enthroned powers of the universe, therefore his appointment was the highest expression of the divine regard for man that could possibly be made.
2d. Another reason was that it is a part of the plan of God's government to provide for, and rule his creatures by the agency of intermediate ministers.
The Infinite Father calls his creatures into existence through the means of second causes, and he provides for and governs them in the same way. To harmonize all parts of the divine administration we may readily suppose was one of the reasons for committing all judgment unto the Son. As he redeemed Israel from bondage by Moses, instructed them by the holy prophets, chastened them by the heathen nations, enlightened them by special messengers, reconciled man unto himself by a chosen Mediator, so he would, in like manner judge the world by his beloved Son.
3d. Another reason is given in the Scriptures.
God hath given Christ "authority to execute judg ment also, because he is the Son of Man." John 5:27. The phrase "Son of God" points out the relation that Christ sustains to God, and the phrase "Son of man" his relation to man. He took on him a body like ours, and "was made in the likeness of sinful flesh." Rom. 8:3. "He took not on him the nature of angels; but
he took on him the seed of Abraham. Heb. 2: 16. In his incarnate state he was exposed to all the temptations that man is, and passed through the trials that he has to encounter. It is for this reason that he was appointed Judge. Having been clothed with the same nature that man is, and knowing, from experience, the difficulties that man has to struggle with, Christ is better prepared to judge the motives and actions of men than he would have been without this experience. An angel in heaven, with all his love and sympathy for us, is not, and could not be as well qualified to sit in decision. on our character as he would be if he had our experience. Thus it is with Christ; and his pilgrimage on earth has fitted him in every sense to be our Judge. The appointment of such a being to execute judgment reveals the tenderness of Jehovah's great heart, and brings him nearer to us.
Christ is to decide between man and God, and it is proper that the views and feelings of both parties should be represented in the Judge. If God had appointed an angel in heaven to be our judge, who knew nothing of us by experience, man might have complained; but he has given us a Judge that represents our feelings and experience as well as his own. This is just, and it evinces the wisdom and love of God.
Having been a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief, and exposed to all the temptations that we are, he has all the feelings of compassion that we could ask; all the love that we could desire in a Judge. Suppose that we were to be tried for our lives, and that the presiding judge had demonstrated his love for us, and his desire to save us by exposing himself to suffering, and death. We would be satisfied with such a judge, and feel that impartial justice would be meeted out to