My Father, the Judge
Last night, my husband and I listened to a powerful teaching on the courts of heaven. Though I’ve camped out much at the throne of grace[i], the material the man shared was so rich with fresh insight on approaching God, I nearly broke into a spiritual sweat trying to absorb it all. Bedtime found me still stewing about it.
By morning, the actual details of what was said had grown fuzzy with all my ruminating. It left me with my head abuzz with questions. What did he say about . . .? How was it that we were supposed to . . .? Information, information ding dinged around in my head like a pinball with no place to land. Such great stuff he’d shared the night before, and it wasn’t connecting. Understanding how to implement these specific details into my own life and prayers was beyond my reach. Was I that dense for not understanding? Had I carelessly approached God all these years and offended Him? Was that the cause for delayed answers to my prayers?
I was working myself into a spiritual dither. I had to stop.
Take a breath . . . dial down . . . quiet my agitated soul.
Hear my Father’s voice.
It was then that I realized there was no fault in the man’s teaching. The fault was in my mental filter. His was just a different viewpoint of heaven’s courts than what I was accustomed to. In fact, after the anxiety died down, I realized I had overlooked one vital thing he mentioned—that the truths he shared were to be used as guidelines to approaching God, not as a formula.
I had once again succumbed to Pharisaical thinking that perfection in my life with Christ (in the Spirit) can be reached by fleshly, precision obedience to rules and regulations[ii]. Mixing law and grace always wreaks havoc in my faith walk. Why do I still fall back into thinking that a one-two-three step set of rules brings speedier results with God? I know better . . . I thought.
My heart empathizes with the disciple Peter desiring to commemorate his getting to witness the glorious meeting Jesus had with the lawgiver Moses and the prophet Elijah on the mountain top[iii]. Overcome with awe, he said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here . . . let us make three tabernacles; one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah!” His intention no doubt was sincere, as was mine. But the glory of the Gospel in the face of Jesus Christ overwhelmingly exceeds the glory of the Law in the face of Moses[iv]. That may have been why God stopped him short by saying, This is My Beloved Son: hear Him.
That’s probably why God stopped me short as well. In my processing of the proper courts-of-heaven etiquette, I left out a vital component. As a child of God, I have not come to Mount Sinai (where the Law was given), that blazes with fire and gloom and darkness and a raging storm. And to the blast of a trumpet and God’s voice that so shakes and quakes me that I dare not approach the Judge’s bench.[v]
I’ve come to Mount Zion, the heavenly city Jerusalem, where God the Judge of all just so happens to be my Father. There in His courts also, an innumerable company of angels are gathered with the church (assembly) of other righteous men made perfect.
And seated at His right hand is our glorious Mediator of the new covenant—Jesus. His sprinkled blood is at this moment speaking a better and more gracious word over us than the blood of Abel, which cried out for vengeance.
I see no dread in this heavenly courtroom for those who pay attention to Him Who speaks. There is deep respect and awe. I see no fear of failing to heed courtroom procedures to the letter. There is love and worshipful admiration. We approach heaven's throne boldly as children because our Father, the Judge brought us near by the blood of His Son[vi] .
So, stop with all this trying to figure out Spiritual things with your carnal mind, Debbie! God will gladly continue His teaching on the heavenly courtrooms as we go along.