Derek Prince - Five Principles Of God's Judgment
I want to deal with five principles of God’s judgment, all of which are stated, in Romans 2. Romans the second chapter, unfolds five principles of God’s judgment. Now I read the Bible, first of all, in Greek, in the New Testament, and then I read various translations. I appreciate the NIV, there’s a lot of good in it. But sometimes it moves away, from the structure of the original and if you listen to me and you’re following, the NIV, you won’t get the same result as if you listen and you’re following, in the New King James. I’m not saying one is better than the other. I’m just saying each has its strong points, each has its weak points. There is no one perfect translation. Somebody said the NIV, is the ‘Nearly Inspired Version’. I don’t know whether you’ve heard that.
So here are the five principles of God’s judgment, all unfolded in Romans 2. Romans 2:2: We know that the judgment of God is according to truth, against those who practice such things. That’s the first principle. God’s judgment is based on real facts, it’s not based on hearsay. I remember when the Lord wanted to find out the truth about the condition, of Sodom and Gomorrah, He’d heard terrible reports from the angels, and from others but you remember He said to Abraham: I’ve come down to see for myself. That really impresses me. God doesn’t judge by hearsay, He judges according to truth.
The second principle of God’s judgment in verse 6 is: He will render to each one according to his deeds. We will be judged for what, we have done. That is a basic principle that runs right throughout the Bible, and it applies to believers as well as unbelievers. In 1 Peter 1:17, 1 Peter 1:17, Peter unfolds this principle, applying it specifically to believers. 1 Peter 1:17. He’s speaking to believers and he says: And if you call on the Father who, without partiality, judges according, to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time, of your sojourning here in fear. That’s a kind of statement that isn’t publicly disseminated, in most churches today. But Peter says to believers, bearing in mind, that you’re going to be judged according to what you’ve done, live a reverent, godly life. Don’t be rash, don’t be proud, don’t be presumptuous, because everything you say and do, one day you’re going, to have to answer to God for. That is addressed, to believers, not to unbelievers.
And then in Revelation 20:12 it says, all the people that were judged in the final judgment, were judged according to what was written in the books. So, God keeps a record of every life. Now, you know in the days of the New Testament, books were not like this, but they were much more like tapes. They were scrolls rolled up. I think that’s a much more clear picture. I’m inclined to think that in the judgment, - his is just an opinion - every one of us will be confronted, by something like a video tape which stretches out the entire course, of our life before us.
I remember when God was dealing with me about, four years ago when I was very sick. I was really seeking God, as to why I wasn’t being healed. One night God woke me up about 2 a.m, which is the time He’s rather in the habit of speaking to me, and He gave me, a little review of the life I’d been leading. I want to say I was a preacher, generally accepted, sometimes criticized. I was about the same level as a lot of other preachers who are, comparatively well known. God showed me that in many ways, I had been extremely carnal. Not committing any gross sins. I’ve never been involved, thank God, in sexual immorality, drunkenness, or the misappropriation of funds. Nevertheless, God showed me, there were things in my past that were displeasing to Him. He brought to me this Scripture in Malachi: Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated. That’s what God says. And Esau is a type of the carnal man. There are no gross sins, recorded of Esau but he just was a carnally minded man. God said, I hate that.
God showed me, and I had been nearly fifty years, in the ministry, there were things in my life that He hated. He showed me that I had in some respects been careless. Some of the scenes that he showed me were in restaurants. I don’t know whether you realize that God judges you in restaurants, too. Somebody said, All you Americans can talk about is food. Another person said, If you want to find out where the best restaurants are, ask a preacher. Now, there’s a certain truth in that, it’s not totally true. I’m only speaking from my own experience. I began to realize, what it means to spend the time of our sojourning here in fear. Not slavish fear, but reverent awe as before God who will judge everything, we say and everything we do. So that’s a word from 1 Peter.
Going back to Romans chapter 2, the next principle of God’s judgment, is stated in verse 3. Do I mean verse 3? No, I don’t. Because the thing is that it’s not translated the way I want. It’s Romans 2:11. I’ll explain what I mean in a way, what I mean just briefly. It says: There is no partiality with God. Now all the modern translations, say that because it’s a modern phrase. I sometimes ask the question: Can you really put the Bible in modern English, without interjecting modern thinking? Because the language you use, is very much an expression of the way you think. The old King James said: There is no respect of persons. It’s much more accurate, because partiality can be to any kind of person. You can take some weak, insignificant little person and be very partial, to that person. So weak, I really want to do, everything for them. But respect of persons means we’re not impressed, by what people are in their natural selves. A man may be a general, a president, a bishop, but he doesn’t get any special judgment from God. He’s treated like everybody else. That’s what it means when it says, there is no respect of persons - particularly aimed at people, who occupy positions of prominence in the world today.
All right. The next principle of God’s judgment, number four, is according to, the measure of light. And Paul says in Romans 2:12: For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law. If you have the law, you’ll be judged by it. If you don’t have it, you won’t be judged by the law but you’ll still be judged for what you’ve done. And this principle is illustrated by the words of Jesus in Matthew 11, when He speaks to some of the major cities of His day, who had not responded to His preaching. Matthew 11:20-24: Then he began to upbraid the cities in which most of His mighty works, had been done, because they did not repent. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida For if the mighty works, which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have, repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. It will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day, of judgment than for you. Why? Because Tyre and Sidon had less light.
Bethsaida and Chorazin had had the greatest light and they would be, the most severely judged. You and I will be judged according to the light, that is available to us. I want to say generally speaking to people, in the English-speaking world, there is a greater measure of light available, to us today than I think has ever been available to any previous generation. We have Bibles en masse, we have endless books, tapes, cassettes, preachers, we’re going to be judged, by the light that’s been made available to us.
Let’s bear that in mind. God’s standards of judgment for this generation will be the most severe, because we’ve had the most light. And then Jesus goes on in the next verse: You, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But it shall be more, tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you. You see, judgment is according to light. The more light we have, the more strict will be our judgment. And as I said before, I say to each one of you, including myself: There probably never has been a generation of Christians that have, had the measure of light available that we have today. Bear that in mind. That’s going to be the standard of our judgment.
And finally, the fifth principle of God’s judgment in Romans 2:16: In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. So God is not merely going to judge our open acts, but He’s going to judge our secret innermost thoughts and motives, and attitudes. I think it’s correct to say that God is very concerned, about our motives. Two people may perform the same outward action, but their motives may be entirely different. And when God judges them, He will take into account their motives.