I have a friend with whom I have a common refrain “no judgment.” It came about as way to express that whatever happened, we could always talk about it. Regardless of what choices that were made, or the consequences that would be suffered, it was my way of saying that I wouldn’t make a value assessment. I would show love and leave the judgment to someone else. As a result my friend remarked to me once that he knew regardless of what happened or what was said, we’d be friends. Even though we didn’t state it explicitly, we both knew that the choice to love trumped any unforeseen circumstance.
What works on Earth in terms of this one friendship, has application on the other side of glory too. As Christians we know that everyone will be judged. God is very clear on that. Whether its giving an account for every careless word (Matthew 12:36) or the revelation of that which was hidden (I Cor. 4:4-6) we know that there is an appointed time for each to stand before the throne and review our life deeds. Much like the defendant giving his allocution, we will have to confess that for which we should be condemned and announce our guilt.
However, there is one thing that we have that a plea-bargained defendant doesn’t. The justice that judgment demands has already been satisfied. Not only are we saved from having to undergo the punishment of our sin, Someone else has suffered on our behalf. For those of us who have grown up in the church, its sometimes easy to think to we’ve escaped punishment, but we haven’t. No condemnation doesn’t mean no consequences. Someone else has chosen to accept our condemnation instead; the punishment has still been merited out, but on the innocent rather than the guilty. We are not condemned, but the demands of justice must be satisfied.
The lack of judgment in my friendship doesn’t mean that the bonds aren’t tested when wrongs are committed. But it does mean that regardless of what happens, we have committed to remain friends. In a similar way, for those of who have accepted Christ, it doesn’t mean that He doesn’t acknowledge our acts as right or wrong, but is does mean that regardless we’re proclaimed innocent in His perfection, and holy before His throne.