Tom: We’re continuing with the Gospel of John. We’re in chapter 12, and it’s our encouragement—the name of the program, if you are a first-time listener, is Search the Scriptures Daily—and it’s our encouragement to have all of our listeners really put in a lot of time reading God’s Word. It’s just so important. The scriptures say, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
And our encouragement, if you have never read the Bible before, is to read through the Gospel of John. Dave, every book—it’s all inspired of God, it’s all God-breathed—but for those who haven’t read through it, or haven’t even begun, our encouragement is to begin with the Gospel of John—it’s a wonderful book.
We are in chapter 12, as I said, and we are going to pick up with verse 47: “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” Dave, the issue of judging…a lot of people say, “See, we’re not to be judgmental. Jesus said it, so don’t go around judging things, don’t be critical,” and so on.
Dave: Well, we had better read the next verse: ”He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” And it really means he is going to be condemned. There is no way that you can be justified.
But what is He talking about here? “I judge him not....” It reminds us, of course, of John:3:17: “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn…”—I think that’s really the meaning of this word here—to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” So, Jesus is saying, “Look, the word has been spoken. He’s God, I and my Father are One. The judgment has already been pronounced by the Word of God, and it’s not that I personally have something against you, and I personally want to condemn someone. No, but the law, the word, that I have spoken, that will judge you. You will be condemned on that basis.” And that’s a very solemn, solemn thought.
You can’t change the Word of God—we talked about it earlier—there is no way that you can forgive someone without the penalty being paid. The penalty has been pronounced: The wages of sin is death, and God’s righteousness has been laid out in the law. You can’t change that. So Jesus is saying, “I want to save you, I want to redeem you, and I’m not here to pronounce judgment upon you, but that judgment has already been pronounced. And if you reject My Word…” —and He is saying that He is God, this is His Word, the Bible is His Word, as we had in John 8; “If you continue in my word….” This is what He is saying.
The Jews said, “Wait a minute, your word! I thought this was God’s word. Is he claiming to be God?” Yes! “You continue in my word, then are you my disciples.” Whoops! “Wait a minute! My disciples? We’re Moses’ disciples. Is he claiming to be greater than Moses?” Yes!
So, it’s something powerful, what Jesus says, verse 49: “For I have not spoken of myself [doesn’t mean about myself but on my own initiative]; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” Well, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—three persons, one God—none of them acts independently from the other. “The Father has given me a commandment. This is what I speak. I do only those things that please Him and those things that the Father wants me to do. And, he has spoken, God has spoken, I have spoken, I have spoken what my Father has told me to say,” verse 50, “And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”
Tom: Dave, can I go back and just take the last part of verse 48: “The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Dave, you just referred to…this is God’s Word, and the verses that I know related to this almost flooded over me, particularly from the Psalms: “How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed unto thy word.” Later, Jesus in the Gospel of John, says, John:17:17: Jesus, in the prayer to the Father for us says, “Sanctify them by thy truth: thy word is truth.” He keeps pointing us back to His Word. So many times, we’re given, in figurative language, it talks about the washing and cleansing, our washing and cleansing—it’s by His Word.
Dave: Well, Tom, it goes back to what we were saying earlier—the ticket has been written out; it has to be paid. God has spoken. He can’t go back on His word; He can’t change—“Well, okay, I’ll let you off this time. Well, I’ll just be easy on you; I’ll compromise a bit. Well, you talked me into it,” God says. ”Yeah, okay, I guess I was wrong and now….”
Tom: So much for truth!
Dave: No, He has spoken, and what God has spoken cannot be changed, and this is what will judge us. And we know, really—people don’t know every word that’s in the Bible, but they do know God’s law. And Romans, chapter 1, for example, tells us that everyone, no matter where they are, whatever culture, whatever time, whatever place in history, or on this earth—they know from the creation that God exists.
And Romans 2 tells us everyone knows in his conscience what is right and what is wrong because God has written His law in every heart—this is what the scripture tells us. And, you know, we can sit down, if we could find a head hunter somewhere that would be reasonable and that we could talk with, we could talk to him about, you know, “You shouldn’t do that. You shouldn’t shrink heads, and it really isn’t a kind thing to do. You wouldn’t want somebody to do it to you.” We can reason with anyone anywhere, with a cannibal: “Now, wait a minute, you really shouldn’t do that now, let’s talk about this a bit!” Because everyone has God’s laws written in their conscience. So this is what…
Tom: Even though they have been seared for a time because of the culture, because of what everybody else is doing, peer pressure, whatever it might be. But there is a time when the conscience speaks to them.
Dave: I think this is what Jesus is saying: “The word that I have spoken—that’s it—that will judge you, and you can’t argue about it, you can’t re-negotiate it.” You know, “Let’s re-negotiate the contract! Couldn’t we change a little bit here and there?” God cannot lie. God cannot change. He cannot go back on His Word, and this is what will judge all mankind in the last days, Jesus said.
Tom: And the Word—we’re talking about it judging when you reject it, when you disobey it. At the same time, it is life. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” So we want to talk about that aspect as well. But, Dave, what about Hebrews:4:12?
Dave: “For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword [that’s something, isn’t it?], piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Tom: That’s His Word.
Dave: This is the Word that God has spoken. He cannot go back on it, He cannot contradict Himself. There it is, no matter what a church says, no matter what some guru or spiritual leader says. You had better go by what God said. Jesus is God. He said, “I am the way, the truth, the life, no man comes to the Father but by me,” because He alone has paid the penalty for our sins. Why not accept it?
Tom: Dave, just coming off the article that I wrote for April, the verse that the Lord really put on my heart was John:6:67 and 68, Jesus speaking to the 12. He says, “Are you, too, going away?” And Peter responds, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” But we oftentimes go elsewhere, don’t we?