THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE
"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day" (2 Timothy 4:8, NIV).
The apostle Paul takes today's portrait from the world of jurisprudence. The title, "righteous judge," accents Christ's impeccable credentials as our judge.
Because of Jesus' preeminent qualifications, God has appointed Him to be the Chief Justice of the supreme court of the universe (see Acts 17:31). In His judicial capacity, Jesus is peerless. He is flawlessly just, all wise, gracious, merciful, and wholly impartial. Because he is righteous, all His verdicts are just and righteous. As the unerring judge, He is judge of the "living and the dead" (Acts 10:42, NIV). The scope of His jurisdiction is all the universe. All mankind without exception must appear before Him to be judged in righteousness (see 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Christ's role as judge is essential since judgement is an integral element of the plan of salvation. Jesus came to save sinners from sin and death and also to vindicate the character and law of God. When God's final verdict against sin and sinners is handed down, all the universe will affirm the plan of salvation and the character of God as just and righteous.
Through a unique blend of mercy and justice, Jesus became our Saviour, Redeemer, surety, and righteous judge. Only an all-wise, all-loving, and all-merciful God could be Saviour and judge at the same time. It is for this reason that the redeemed are never afraid of the judgment (see 1 John 4:17). Paul looked forward with joyous anticipation to the day when the righteous judge would award Him the diadem of eternal life (see 2 Timothy 4:8). This is the expectation of all who are on good terms with the righteous judge who is also our righteous substitute.
My Prayer Today: Lord, because You are my loving Redeemer and righteous judge, I look for Your appearing with perfect joy. Amen.