How careless we can be. It happens in just about every facet of human experience. We pay attention too little to the things that most matter and much attention to the details we think we are capable of handling. And before we know it, we’ve overlooked the obvious, complicated the simple, and forgotten the essential.
19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
Yes, of course, we all make mistakes. Most of us even admit it, albeit more grudgingly in some cases than in others. For some the recognition of mistakes strikes at the very core of their being, making it all the more difficult to deal with while still maintaining a sense of self-worth. We all know the reasons for which we make mistakes, and most of the time we are so good at rationalizing what we have done that by the time we have completed the process our actions turn out to have been noble, and not blameworthy at all.
All of which makes it even more curious that we as Christians sometimes attempt to usurp the authority expressly given to the Son of God? The Father, as the source of life, is also its only rightful judge; but He grants that life and that authority to the Son because He became one of us; and by granting Christ incarnate the authority to judge, God forever removes our most basic excuse: “you should try living in a world with so many rotten people before you judge me.” He did. And because he did he has the perfect position from which to know and judge all of us. And we don’t.
There are times at which we wish to make the pronouncements of God instead the proclamations of His grace. And they come more frequently than we care to admit, whether we are in the conservative or the liberal side of things; we pronounce judgments on different criteria, not from necessarily different hearts. But pronounce we do, whether by direct word or by clear, not-so-well hidden implication. I expect there will be surprises on the Day of Judgment, and they may not be pleasant surprises for those standing ready for God to confirm the judgments they have already made. He gives his life to whom he will; and contrary to some seriously flawed interpretations of grace, it does have something to do with our deeds. Jesus said that, not me; so take it up with him.
All judgment goes through Christ, who went through life and death. For all of us. May we repent of any attempt to take his authority for ourselves. It’s the one huge mistake we cannot afford to make.