Today's Foundations Devotional: God’s judgement is according to deeds
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness,
but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that
all should come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9)
Second, God’s judgement is according to “deeds”: “[God] will render to each one according to his deeds” (Rom. 2:6).
This principle of divine judgement is repeated many times over in Scripture.
The Father ... judges according to each one’s work (1 Pet. 1:17).
Again, in the account of the final judgement in Revelation 20:12, we read that:
Books were opened ... And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
The use of the word books in this connection is interesting and illuminating. In modern English the word book normally denotes a number of paper pages bound together at one edge. However, in New Testament times a book normally took the form of a long sheet of parchment, leather or other material which was kept rolled up and was unrolled in order to be read. A scroll of this kind, sealed with seven successive seals, actually plays a prominent part in the imagery of the book of Revelation.
Among the various means developed by modern technology for recording and transmitting information, there is one which resembles an ancient scroll far more closely than a modern book does, and that is electromagnetic recording tape. This is kept rolled up in precisely the same manner as an ancient scroll but must be unrolled in order to transmit the information recorded on it.
However, we must be careful not to limit the meaning of the word deeds merely to external actions such as can be observed by other human beings. The whole Bible makes it plain that God, in His judgement of man, takes into account not merely external actions but also the deepest and most secret thoughts, impulses and motives of the heart.
... the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel (Rom. 2:16).
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts; and then each one’s praise will come from God (1 Cor. 4:5, italics added).
This same truth is actually contained in the revelation that judgement will be by the Word of God.
For the word of God is living ... piercing even to the division of soul and spirit ... and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Heb. 4:12-13).
We see, therefore, that God’s record of men’s deeds covers not merely their external, observable actions but also their thoughts and intents, the deepest motives and impulses of their minds and hearts. It is in this all-embracing sense that God’s judgement of men will be according to their deeds.
Almighty, heavenly Father, You constantly make me aware of Your
guidance in my life, and Your direction that makes me walk in the works
that You have already prepared for me. In this regard, let me also be a
living, active witness to Your direction and work, in the lives of brothers
and sisters around me. Amen.