Scripture and You

Agree With Your Adversary on the Way to the Judgment

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
The Adversary of the sinner is also the Advocate of the saint of God. Which one is Jesus for you?

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

The Adversary of the sinner is also the Advocate of the saint of God. Which one is Jesus for you?

February 25, 2022 - As I write this, it has been but a few hours since Joanna Morrison, the dear wife of one of our board members, was translated out of this world and into the realms of glory after a difficult illness. She now beholds her Savior face to face. While Pastor Erwin Morrison, her husband for fifty-seven years, and a family of believers in Christ mourn their loss, they do not "sorrow as others who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Why is this the settled position of the believer in Christ? How can we be sure that at the Last Day all believers in Christ of all the ages shall "always be with the Lord"? How we can we be fully confident that, as believers in Him, we may "comfort one another with these words" (4:17-18)? At the end of the 12th chapter of Luke, Jesus spoke a parable to the multitude. He said this:

When you go with your adversary to the magistrate, make every effort along the way to settle with him, lest he drag you to the judge, the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you shall not depart from there till you have paid the very last mite. (Luke 12:58-59).

A parable in the Bible is a word picture that communicates a truth. It communicates it in such a way that a heart that is open to hear the truth can readily understand. And Jesus' parables always had a central message. What was the message of this parable? What does it have to do with each one of us today? What does it have to do with a saint who has gone to glory?

The Bible tells us that each human being is heading for one of two places. You are headed either for Heaven or for Hell. There are no exceptions, and there are no other alternatives. The Word of God leaves no doubt about this.

The eternal destiny of every soul is either eternity in the glories of the New Heavens and New Earth with the Lord Jesus Christ, or else eternity in the torments of the Lake of Fire which burns forever.

The Nature of the Last Judgment

But the fact is that every human being is headed somewhere else first. And that is the point of this parable. Every human being who has ever lived or ever will live, every one who is reading these words, is passing through this life toward the day of judgment. Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27 tells us that it is "appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment."

But we need to understand something about this judgment. We will not come to the Last Judgment for a verdict to be worked out. The verdict at the Last Judgment is a predetermined verdict.

We will come to the Last Judgment not for our case to be worked out, but for a sentence or an acquittal to be pronounced, based on a judgment that has already been made. In legal terms, the Last Judgment is not an inquest. It is not a trial. The Last Judgment is a sentencing hearing for those who have refused Christ - and it is a glorious acquittal hearing for those who have received Christ.

Every human being will come to the judgment seat of Christ to hear a destiny pronounced that is based on evidence already given. The case has already been tried. The verdict has already been pronounced. And all that remains is this: For a guilty defendant to come before the Judge of the Universe and to hear the sentence pronounced, and for the innocent to hear that they are not only free, but they are about to be rewarded.

When Jesus speaks of the Last Judgment in Matthew chapter 25, He says that the first thing He will do when He comes to sit on His throne of judgment is to separate the peoples of all nations and of all time "one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats" (verse 32).

The case has already been decided. Jesus knows who the sheep are and who the goats are. He will not conduct some sort of judicial inquest to determine into which category each individual falls.

Sometimes we hear this scene pictured as one where there is a long line of people approaching the Judgment Seat. And as people come to the front of the line, Jesus decides who to place on His right hand and on His left. But that is not what Jesus tells us. He tells us that the judgment has already been rendered. The innocent have already been distinguished from the guilty. And the sheep, the innocent, are placed on our Lord's right hand at the very beginning of that judgment scene.

But they are not there on His right hand at the Judgment because they are innocent in and of themselves. They are not about to enter the rewards of the kingdom because they have earned entry into Heaven, or because their parents or grandparents were Christians. No. They are on Christ's right hand because of His grace. They are on His right hand because of His merits, because of His righteousness, because of His blood shed for their sins. They are there on His right hand because their case was already settled before they ever came to the Judgment Seat of Christ.

"Agree With Your Adversary Quickly"

And so, Christ's message in this parable is simply this: Settle out of court. Settle before you get to the magistrate. Jesus makes a similar statement in Matthew chapter 5 verse 25. He says this:

Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. (Matthew 5:25).

Agree with your adversary - quickly. There is no time to lose. Your next breath, your next heartbeat, may be your last, whether you are aged and weak or young and in full vigor. Agree with God that you are a sinner. Agree with God that your sins condemn you to eternal Hell. Agree with God that your only hope is in His mercy. Agree with the words that God gives us in Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27, that "it is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment." But also agree with God, verse 28, that "Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."

You will appear, if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, at His judgment seat, "apart from sin, for salvation." It will be the culmination of Christ's saving work in your life - deliverance from not only the power and penalty of sin but also deliverance, finally, from the very presence of sin, and from all the effects of sin, forever.

There can be no greater promise, no greater word of comfort, to anyone in this world. Christ is no longer your Adversary, as He speaks of Himself in the parable. First John chapter 2 tells us that Jesus Christ the righteous is now your Advocate with the Father.

Agree With Your Advocate

And just as you need to "agree with your Adversary" in order to be saved, you need to "agree with your Advocate" to live a life that will please Him. First John chapter 2, beginning at verse 1:

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

And so at the beginning of Colossians chapter 3, the Holy Spirit says this to us through the Apostle Paul:

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

And then Paul goes on to tell us how that is to manifest itself in our lives. In the next verse he tells us that we are to mortify, or put to death, the sin within us, within the old nature. And how does he say we are to do that? In Colossians 3:16 he says, "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom."

Literally, those words mean, "let the Word of God be completely at home within you." Let there be no place in your heart where Christ and His Word are not welcome. Let there be no sin that you hold onto rather than giving it up to Christ. Let your life be a witness for Him in every way.

Set your mind on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the throne room of Heaven, because as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, that is where you are headed. "When Christ who is our life appears, you also will appear with Him in glory."

Our dear sister is in that glory now. She is in that realm, where there is absolute perfection, beholding the face of the One who gave His life as a ransom for her soul. In Him she has "redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). She is there because Christ who was once her Adversary when she was a lost sinner, became, and is even now, her mighty Advocate at the throne of the Father. Not by works of righteousness which she did, but by His mercy (Titus 3:5). Jesus alone is worthy.


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