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Judge of the Living and the Dead


Theologian Jonathan Edwards said in “The Excellency of Christ”: “[Jesus Christ] is the Judge of the world, and the infinitely just Judge of it, and will not at all acquit the wicked, or by any means clear the guilty. . . . Yet how wonderfully is infinite mercy towards sinners displayed in him! Though he be the just Judge of a sinful world, yet he is also the Savior of the world.”

When He returns, Christ will judge the world. As Peter spoke in the house of Cornelius, he summarized Jesus’ life and ministry: “the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all” (v. 36). Peter began with the ministry of John the Baptist (v. 37), continued on to Jesus’ miracles and other good works (v. 38), then the Crucifixion and Resurrection (vv. 39–41), and finally the mission of the apostles and the church to preach this good news “and to testify that [Jesus] is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead” (v. 42). The bottom line: “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (v. 43).

When we stand before the Judge, the basis of His judgment will be faith in Him. There will be no favoritism or injustice in any form (v. 34). There will certainly be no ethnic or cultural prejudice (v. 35), a lesson Peter learned from the “sheet vision” (vv. 9–23). Everyone who trusts in Christ will go to heaven, and everyone who doesn’t will go to hell. Thankfully, Cornelius’s household responded in faith (vv. 44–48). As we draw near to the close of this study and this year, it is a good time to consider whether or not you have placed your faith in Jesus.

Apply the Word

Did you know favoritism is injustice? Favoritism is a sin we often seem willing to tolerate. We need to see it through God’s eyes. James commanded against this sin vehemently, including an example of discrimination against the poor (2:1–13). Showing favoritism is disobedience to the “royal command” to love our neighbor (vv. 8–9)!

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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