THE THREE DOMAINS OF DIVINE JUDGMENT
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Some Scripture (as noted) taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
There appears to be confusion over what the New Testament is speaking of when it mentions the removal of sin. It seems numerous believers are under the impression that the removal of sin under the new covenant means the removal of the guilt of sin. While the new covenant includes the removal of the guilt of our sin its main purpose is to remove the compulsion and the presence of the sin itself.
THE THREE DOMAINS OF DIVINE JUDGMENT
But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10:3,4)
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. (Hebrews 10:11)
Sometimes the thought is expressed that the passages above mean the blood of bulls and goats could not actually take away the guilt of sin but the sacrifice of Christ really does take away the guilt of sin.
We do not think this is accurate. While it no doubt is true that all forgiveness ultimately is based on the blood of Calvary, we would venture that the blood of bulls and goats offered under the Levitical law actually removed the guilt of sin while the new covenant by several operations kills the compulsive fires of sin and finally removes from us the very presence of sin.
And do with this bull just as he did with the bull for the sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:20)
Forgiven means “forgiven.” It is an absolute term. We either are forgiven or else we are not forgiven. We are not “kind of” forgiven. It is true that, unlike the old covenant, forgiveness under the new covenant is eternal; but according to the New Testament, this continuing forgiveness depends on our participating in the program of putting to death the deeds of our sinful nature.
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:18)
So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:28)
As we understand the Scriptures there are three domains of Divine judgment.
The first domain has to do with the guilt of our sins. The guilt of our sins is forgiven through the blood atonement made on the cross of Calvary. Whoever comes to Jesus and receives the atonement by faith is forgiven his or her sins no matter how great the sin may have been. He now can come to God in prayer and be heard because he is without condemnation.
As long as we are abiding in Christ, walking in the light of God’s will, obeying the Holy Spirit, we are without condemnation. The current teaching that we remain forever without condemnation no matter how we behave is not scriptural and will bring the careless believer into the fires of Divine judgment. The new covenant does not permit us to continue in known sin, for if we do we walk out from under the covenant.
We cannot bring our sins into the Kingdom of God!
And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)
The second domain of the Divine judgment has to do with rewards or punishment depending on the choices we make. Every person will be revealed one day at the Judgment Seat of Christ. There he will receive the consequences of his actions while living in the world.
Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)
The New Testament speaks of fantastic rewards to be given to those who choose to serve the Lord and dreadful punishments to be meted out to the believers who are lazy and careless.
Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)
And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)
One of the deadliest of the current Christian teachings, along with the idea that we continue to be forgiven even though our conduct is not pleasing to God, is the concept that there are no fantastic rewards or dreadful punishments that will be assigned to the believers. The idea of no great rewards and no severe punishments, is based on the idea that we are saved by a sovereign grace. If we are saved by a sovereign grace independently of our conduct, how could there be great rewards or severe punishments.
This is error heaped on error. First, we are not saved by a sovereign grace independently of our conduct. Second, the Bible speaks of great rewards and severe punishments. To say there are no great rewards or severe punishments is to deny several passages of the Scriptures.
We really are in a mess today, theologically speaking. The result of our incorrect theology is that the churches in America are in the deep freeze of an unprecedented apostasy (unprecedented for America).
If the Christian does not endure to the end he will not be saved. This is what Jesus said. Salvation always is an opportunity and our participation in the program depends directly on our response.
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (Hebrews 3:14)
He who overcomes will sit with Jesus in His throne. This is a fantastic reward. The person who did not use his talent was driven into the outer darkness. This is a dreadful punishment.
Maybe we better get back to the Bible.
We Christians simply do not understand the way forgiveness operates, not recognizing it is only as we walk in the light of God’s will that the blood of Jesus keeps on forgiving our sin. To teach someone that once he accepts Christ he is forgiven unconditionally for eternity is to go completely against the Scriptures and to lead the student to destruction. The Bible does not teach this. The doctrine of unconditional forgiveness is a product of the reasoning of the human mind. It is not of the Spirit of God or of the Scriptures.
Ask Jesus if we are correct in this. Don’t go to your books to find the answer, or to your brain. Go directly to the Lord until you hear from Him.
The reason Christian people go so far astray is they are not hearing from God. They are going by their mind, their reasoning, based on a few passages of Scripture. If you want to find truth go to Him who is the Truth, not only to the Scriptures but to Jesus Himself. Stay before Him until you know what you are doing. One way or another He will get through to you.
How different the history of Israel would have been had the kings and people kept going to the Lord to discover what He wanted. Whenever they did He responded clearly to them.
How different the history of the Christian Church would have been had the ministers and congregations kept going to the Lord to discover what He wanted. Whenever we go to Jesus we hear from Him.
The Lord Jesus will never tell you that no matter what you do, how you behave, He will keep on blessing you. He will help you change your ways if you ask Him but He will not have fellowship with sin.
We have spoken of the first domain of the Divine judgment, the forgiveness of our sins.
We have spoken of the second domain of the Divine judgment, the rewards or punishments to be given to us when the Lord appears. These rewards and punishments are based on our choices, that is, on how we have responded to the Lord during our Christian life on earth. The fact that we will be rewarded according to our works is expressed several times in the New Testament.
The third domain of the Divine judgment is central to our salvation. It is the destruction of the person and works of Satan from the creation, beginning with the Church.
When the Bible speaks of taking away sin it means taking away the compulsion and presence of sin. It is God’s intention to remove sin from the creation, and this He shall accomplish. Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of God waiting until His enemies become His footstool.
The day will come when Satan and all the rebellious angels and demons bow the knee to the Lord Jesus. This does not mean they will escape the Lake of Fire by so doing. It means rather they will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord and then will await their sentencing at His hands.
Sin began in the heavens when Satan decided to be his own god. From that single act of self-will has been born all of the sins that have cursed the peoples of the earth. Sin is a spiritual problem.
Sin did not originate as part of the physical creation. The physical creation was and is yet very good. But the sin that has come down to us from the heavens urges the flesh of man to disobey the eternal moral laws of God.
Sin can be removed from the creation only by judgment and war. The sin must be judged and then force must be exerted in order to drive it from us. Satan will not willingly release his hold on the creation.
It may help you to deal with the program of judgment, war, and deliverance if you recognize that the judgment is not directed at you but at the spiritual forces that drive you.
The sin for which you are most directly responsible is that of your self-will. Even your self-will is the result of Satan’s activities. Eve would still be going about her business in the earth if she had refused Satan’s urging to set her will against God’s will. The Lord will bring you through many fires in order to burn the self-will out of you so you can abide peacefully in the will of God.
Let’s see where we are in this discussion. We said there are three domains of Divine judgment.
- The first domain has to do with the guilt of your sins. If you are a Christian the guilt of your sins was forgiven on the basis of the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
- The second domain of Divine judgment has to do with the choices you make during your Christian life. Are you being diligent with all God has given you? Or are you disobeying God by living as part of the world system, wasting what God has given you, living in the appetites of your flesh and soul, not presenting your body a living sacrifice to God? You are going to reap in the day of resurrection precisely as your work has been.
- The third domain of Divine judgment has to do with the person and works of Satan. God has determined to make an end of Satan’s influence in the earth.
We now will turn our attention to the third domain.
When the Lord Jesus died on the cross, He purchased the creation. Satan no longer owns the physical realm. All belongs to Jesus. Satan will not leave the creation even though he no longer has a legal hold on it. He is not honorable. He is a thief and a liar.
You and I have been forgiven. God has given us His Holy Spirit. Now the issue is to remove the compulsion of sin and finally the presence of sin from us for eternity.
The judgment that is coming upon you is to remove Satan from you. It is a blessing. It is deliverance. It is salvation. It is to be welcomed by you. You will enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation because tribulation drives the sin and self-will from you.
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. (I Peter 4:1,2)
Are you ready to suffer in your body in order to have the sin removed from your personality? All sin? All self-will?
We have made a distinction between the removal of the compulsion to sin and the removal of the presence of sin.
The compulsion to sin is like a fire within us. We have been commanded to put to death the compulsion to sin.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13)
To put a sin to death you first must confess it clearly to the Lord. Name the sinful behavior. “I have lied. I have stolen. I have spoken spitefully. There is someone I have not forgiven. My language is filthy.”
Be very forceful. Ask God to send the sin to the Lake of Fire where it belongs. Ask God for the strength to resist the sin in the future.
You will get nowhere if you are double-minded. Pray until you are able to renounce the sin. Pray! Pray! Pray! We are in a battle. Stand in the blood of the cross and judge the behavior as sin. Go after it.
You do not have to search your personality to see if there is sin in it. The Holy Spirit will guide you. Romans 8:13 commands us to put sin to death through the Spirit. This means we must follow the Spirit, cooperating with Him as He leads us into battle.
The Day of Vengeance is here and it has begun with the Church. God is ready to drive Satan from us.
The Holy Spirit does the work, but we have to cooperate. Notice below.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1—KJV)
We are to cleanse ourselves. This we can do as we look constantly to the Spirit of God.
We have been speaking about putting to death the fires of sin. It is our understanding that the actual removal of the presence of sin will take place when the Lord Jesus comes. The total removal of the presence of sin and clothing us with a body that is without sin will be one of the greatest of the rewards given to those who have followed the Lord with their whole heart.
Let not the believer who has been careless in the things of salvation suppose the presence of sin will be removed from him or that he will receive a sin-free body. Rather he is facing Divine fire. He will reap corruption in the Day of the Lord. Deliverance from sin and self-will is a reward for choosing to serve the Lord diligently. It will not be the portion of the lukewarm.
The removal of self-will occurs as the Lord puts us in the prisons of frustration and denial. If we abide patiently, serving the Lord even though our fervent desires are denied us, we will receive the crown of life. The crown of life is the power to govern—the power of incorruptible resurrection life.
No believer will rule with Christ until suffering has burned the self-love and self-will from his or her personality.
There has been considerable activity in the last few years in the area of moral deliverance, deliverance from sin. One problem here is that deliverance from sin does not have lasting effectiveness unless the believer is living a solid Christian life. If we are not living as a true disciple the spirits that are removed from us will return and we will be worse off than before.
What provision has God made for us that we may be completely delivered from the person of Satan and all his works?
- We have been forgiven through the blood of Jesus. No condemnation remains. All deliverance is based on the blood atonement.
- God has given us the writings of the Apostles. We are to obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, praying always to God for help in keeping them.
- We have been born again. Christ has been born in us. There is a new Divine Nature growing in us and by that Divine Nature we can overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust.
- We have the drama of water baptism to emphasize to us that we have died to the world and have entered newness of life in Christ.
- God has given to us His Holy Spirit. If we walk in the Spirit we will not yield to the lusts of our flesh.
- God has given to us the assembly of saints so we can be strengthened by one another.
- God has given us elders who share their experience in Christ with us so we do not fall into the traps of Satan. The Christian life is a very dangerous journey.
- God has placed in the Body ministries and gifts that serve to bring us to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.
- God has given us the body and blood of Christ to eat and drink so we may be nourished in the Divine nature.
- We have the people of Old Testament times to serve as examples to us.
- When Christ has been formed in us the Father and the Son will come and dwell for eternity in our transformed inner nature.
- In the day of resurrection our flesh and bones will be raised from the dead and clothed with a new body filled with righteous tendencies.
- We are coming to a new world of righteousness. The very environment will encourage us to practice righteousness.
- Satan, his angels, Antichrist, the False Prophet, and all wicked people will be bound in the Lake of Fire. There will be no demons to provoke us to sin.
- The law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
All of these relationships and situations are God’s way of totally removing Satan and all of his forces from the universe of God. The Lord God is making Jesus Christ the Center and Circumference of the creation. We will govern along with Him if we pass the tests administered to us by the Lord.
Originally there was no sin in the creation. Then Satan decided to insert his own will. Thus we understand that self-will is the root from which all sin springs.
- The guilt of our sin has been removed. This is the first domain of the Divine judgment.
- We will be rewarded or punished according to the choices we make while alive on the earth. This is the second domain of the Divine judgment.
- Sin will be removed from us and finally from the creation of God. This is the third domain of the Divine judgment.
To be saved means God has determined to remove sin from us and give us a portion of Jesus Christ for eternity. To be lost means God has decided not to remove sin from us, not to give us a portion of Jesus Christ for eternity.
The Divine judgment has begun. The Divine judgment is symbolized by the Blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, holy days of the Jews.
The spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement has begun and will continue throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The Divine judgment will be finalized at the end of the thousand-year period. Only then will it be possible for the new Jerusalem, the glorified Christian Church, to descend from Heaven to be established for eternity on the new earth.
No sin will ever be permitted through the gates of the new Jerusalem. The eight types of sin mentioned in Revelation 21:8 will be confined forever in Satan, the fallen angels, Antichrist, the False Prophet, the demons, and all others who have chosen to maintain their own will against the Lord God.
Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Today the Gospel is preached as though it were limited to forgiveness. Not so! The Gospel has to do with the Kingdom of God, that is, the rule of God that is to enter the earth. Jesus Christ was revealed in order to destroy the works of the devil, not forgive the sins of the devil.
All of this is new to us. Yet we have always known that there cannot be sin in Paradise, there cannot be sin in the new Jerusalem or the new world. We just have not have understood the Divine plan to remove sin.
Jesus Christ is waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool—to be made His footstool in your life! Much of your personality is an enemy of Christ. All of the hatred, lust, pride, covetousness, spite, gossip, are enemies of Christ.
Jesus has come today in the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament Blowing of Trumpets to confront His enemies in you. You have two choices. You can respond to the Lord as He shows you how to cleanse yourself, or you can resist the Lord and justify your behavior.
You are God’s judge. God made man to be the ruler and judge of His creation. Sin will not move out of your life until you judge it unworthy of the Kingdom of God. This is why confession is so important. You must name the sin as sin. You must pronounce judgment on the aspects of your behavior that are condemned by the Scriptures.
The Bible says if we will judge ourselves we will not be judged. If we do not judge ourselves God judges us and chastens us. Then if we do not repent we are in big trouble.
That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. (I Corinthians 11:30)
Do you remember the sinner in Corinth? Paul delivered him up to Satan that his spirit might be saved in the Day of the Lord. It appears from II Corinthians that he repented. If he had hardened his heart against God he would have gone into the next age as a naked spirit, stripped of all reward, or possibly would have been facing the outer darkness.
The hand of Divine judgment is resting on the United States of America in the present hour, particularly on the Christian churches because they have the Bible to teach them of the will of God. If we of the churches pray and turn away from our sins, asking God to remove them from us, our nation may be spared for awhile. But if we do not pray and turn away from our sins, trusting in the false doctrines of the rapture, unconditional grace, and so forth, our nation will suffer grievously. Also the unsaved will turn against us just as the sailors threw Jonah out of the ship, because the unsaved will understand that we have betrayed them by not serving as the light of the world, the salt of the earth.
In the Jewish calendar, the Blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement are observed after the feast of Pentecost. This means after we have come through Pentecost we will experience the spiritual fulfillments of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. These signify war and the removal of sin from God’s people, as symbolized by the leading of the scapegoat out of the camp.
But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:10)
Are you ready for the Lord of Armies to stand before you and challenge the enemies in your life? Are you ready to be reconciled to the will of the Father by having your worldliness, lust, and self-will removed from you?
If you are, then fasten your seat belt. You are going to have the ride of your life as God goes to war against His enemies in your personality. The end result will be that you become the eternal house of God and Christ.
But if you refuse and rebel you will lose your fruitfulness, your inheritance. The way of the transgressor is hard, especially when that transgressor professes belief in Jesus Christ.
We have only one life. There are two ways in which to do things in this life. We can do them the right way and prosper, or we can do them the wrong way and heap trouble and pain on ourselves.
There is only one right way to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and that is to submit every decision during the day to Him for His wisdom and strength. Learn to lean on Jesus. Practice His Presence at every moment. Pray without ceasing. Take nothing for granted. Press into Jesus with all diligence. Serve Him. Pray. Read your Bible. Gather with the saints on a regular basis. Give of your material means as you are able. Seek and practice the gifts and ministries of the Spirit. Follow Jesus in cross-carrying obedience.
Do these things and you will sing and dance in the heights of Zion when the world is crumbling around you. You will be a lighthouse to guide the lost away from the rocks. You will be a fortress to shield people when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
Or you can choose to live the typical American life. Worship money, lust, entertainment, violence, education. Let our money-success-driven culture suck the life out of you. Don’t pray. Spend no time in the Scriptures. Do not assemble with other believers except during Christmas, Easter and when someone gets married or dies.
This is what you will reap. When trouble comes, and it surely is coming, you will be a straw tossed about in a hurricane. You will be of no help to yourself or anyone else. You will be terrified at what is taking place but there will be no comfort for you. You do not know what you are facing at death. Friend, you are nowhere!
God and Satan are rising to face each other in the final confrontation. You are nothing but intelligent dust. Your wisdom and strength are pitiful when compared with God and Satan.
To not be attached to Christ is to be attached to Satan by default. There is no place in the middle. Man cannot stand when the powers of the heavens are shaken.
Your sins have been forgiven through the sacrifice made by Christ on Calvary. Now you have some choices to make. If you serve Christ diligently your reward will be to be delivered from the person and works of Satan and to enter the love, peace, and joy of Christ’s Kingdom.
If you refuse to serve Christ diligently, wasting your God-given talents on the plastic bubbles of the computer age, your reward will be to remain bound to Satan and his demons. You will not be delivered unless Christ for some reason has mercy on you and permits you to enter eternity as a naked spirit. The remorse and torment you are facing is not describable by me, but if you were aware of it you would be a terrified wretch, on your face repenting before Christ.
But God usually doesn’t show us the consequences of our sin. He gives us His good Word and entreats us to serve Him.
His love and grace are sufficient to bring you to joy. Don’t show by your conduct you despise the riches found only in His Presence.
(“The Three Domains of Divine Judgment”, 3368-1)