«‘If he has walked in My statutes and kept My judgments faithfully—He is just; He shall surely live!’ says the Lord God» Ezekiel 18:9
FRANCIS SCHAEFFER, a renowned American theologian (1912-1984), was speaking before a group of lawyers and asked them, «What cannot be missing in a lawyer’s office?» After exchanging a few ideas with the lawyers, he asked them another question: «What have you done at the Supreme Court lately?» One of those who was moved to examine his life and work after hearing that question was lawyer John Whitehead. The idea of having to appear before the Supreme Court led Whitehead to establish the Rutherford Institute, a legal body that offers free legal services to those whose rights have been threatened. Over the forty years since it was founded, «the Rutherford Institute has lifted up a firm voice for freedom, and held the nation responsible to its Constitution, particularly to its Declaration of Human Rights.»*
If there is anything the Scriptures clearly state, it is that there will come a day when we will all have to give account to the Judge of the universe. The judge will sit in His court and the books will be opened and «God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil» (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Paul points out that «God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ» and «we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ» (Romans 2:16; 14:10).
Instead of bringing us fear, the judgment should call us to reflect deeply on who we are and what we do. Knowing he would have to appear before the Supreme Court led Whitehead to rethink his purpose in this life. The idea of the judgment drove him to be more compassionate.
Those who are merciless are not just, those who are kind are just. That is what Ezekiel says: ‘But if a man is just and does what is lawful and right .. . if he has not oppressed anyone, but has restored to the debtor his pledge; has robbed no one by violence, but has given his bread to the hungry and covered the naked with clothing; if he has not exacted usury nor taken any increase, but has withdrawn his hand from iniquity and executed true judgment between man and man; if he has walked in My statutes and kept My judgments faithfully—He is just; He shall surely live!’ says the Lord God» (Ezekiel 18:5-9).
The just will live in the hereafter because they have been compassionate here.