And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites when he judges. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as foreigners here on earth. - 1 Peter 1:17
When artists portray Justice, she wears a pure white robe, stands erect and blindfolded, and holds a pair of scales in one hand and a drawn sword in the other. The symbolism is clear. Justice is pure, straight, and impartial, and she only punishes those whom the weight of evidence condemns. She plays no favorites, she tolerates no injustice, she accepts only truth, and her fairness is impeccable.
When many people look at the kind of justice meted out in the modern world, however, they see a different picture. Justice, at times, seems to be able to peer over her blindfold and recognize ethnicity, for there is no doubt that a disproportionately high number of minorities feel Justice’s sword. And her scales do seem weighted in favor of the wealthy, since the best lawyer money can buy is usually much more adept at persuading her than a public defender fresh out of law school. And this is the state of affairs in lands where Justice is revered! In lands where Justice is not admired, little or no attempt to administer true justice is attempted. No wonder, then, that many oppressed and mistreated peoples are crying out for justice.
There is good news about God’s justice, though: “Remember,” wrote the apostle Peter, “that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites when he judges. He will judge or reward you according to what you do” (1:17). Peter was not speaking, in this context, about the judgment of God that will determine whether a sinner’s eternal destiny is heaven or hell. Rather, Peter was referring to the type of life expected of the one whose sins have been forgiven through God’s action. As Peter reminded his readers, “You know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. . . . He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God” (1:18-19). And so Peter assured them, “You were cleansed from your sins when you accepted the truth of the Good News” (1:22).
God’s impartial evaluation here discussed is all about life after we “have been born again” (1:23). God rightly expects a life of obedience from his child. The life of God’s child should reflect the family likeness! That is why God tells his children, “You must be holy because I am holy” (1:16).
The believer need not fear that his sins will be judged. They have been dealt with by Christ’s death. But the believer’s redeemed life will be examined by a Judge who has no favorites—but who calls those he examines his children, and who loves us without end.
For Further Study: 1 Peter 1:13-22
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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