Have you ever noticed how much judicial language there is in the Bible? There are several mentions of words like law, justice, judgment, courts, etc. The first five books of the Bible are called the Torah (the law of God as revealed by Moses). One of my favourite things about how the Bible is its unambiguousness which is always desirable in legal matters because I want to know where I stand. God doesn’t take His word lightly either. David tells us that God backs His word with His integrity [Psalm 138:2]. Consequently, God can’t renege on His word if He’s just [Deuteronomy 32:4]. In other words, God is legally bound by what He says [Numbers 23:19].
God answers to no one. He is the Judge of all [Hebrews 12:23], and His throne is on a foundation of righteousness and justice [Psalm 89:14]. So, He judges all of us with impartiality according to our deeds [1 Peter 1:17]. The Bible opens with God as Creator [Genesis 1 and 2]. However, the next dimension of God revealed is God as Judge, where He passes judgement on the serpent, Eve and Adam [Genesis 3]. Scripture repeatedly reminds us of this dimension of God which culminates in the day of judgement at the end of history [Revelation 20:11-15]. I’ve always thought about standing before God as a judge as something that will happen when I die [Hebrews 9:27]. However, I recently realised that I could leverage this dimension of God right now.
In Daniel’s prophecies, we glimpse into the court of heaven where God sits as the Judge of all [Daniel 7:9-10]. Elsewhere, Scripture references one who comes before God day and night to accuse God’s children [Revelation 12:10]. He brings charges of unrighteousness against God’s elect [Zechariah 3:1-4], and he even questions our motives for serving God [Job 1:9-10]. Mercifully we have an Advocate in the court [1 John 2:1]. He’s the propitiation (the means of appeasing God’s justice) for our sins [1 John 2:2]. When we come under Jesus the Advocate, His blood becomes the payment for our sins, and we become the righteousness of God [2 Corinthians 5:21]. Consequently, all accusations are null and void [Romans 8:33]. That’s Good News because, without the Advocate, my attempts to vindicate myself before God are futile since my sins leave me infinitely short of what I need to obtain a favourable verdict in the court of heaven [Isaiah 64:6].
As I reflected on this revelation, I realised that even the devil, whom God has already judged and condemned to eternal damnation [Revelation 20:10], can still present a case in the court of heaven because of God’s justice system. Although Satan is damned, he can still cause others to fall and share his fate. Thoughts, words or actions that violate God’s word and ordinances can open the door for demonic oppression and give the devil a legal right to afflict human beings, including children of God. So, Christians are warned not to be ignorant of Satan’s schemes to drag us into disobeying God and violating His instructions [2 Corinthians 2:11]. We’re to be holy as He is holy [1 Peter 1:16] because no one can level any accusation at someone walking in righteousness [Proverbs 26:2]. Thankfully, when we sin – which is inevitable, we can seek forgiveness and be cleansed of all unrighteousness [1 John 1:8-9].
In chapter 18 of Luke’s gospel, Jesus uses a judicial example to teach about prayer. He illustrates His point with a persistent widow and an unjust judge. The widow repeatedly came before the court seeking legal protection from her adversary. Interestingly, the Greek word antidikos used for ‘adversary’ (i.e. an opponent in a lawsuit) in this parable is the same word used by Peter to describe the devil in a later passage [1 Peter 5:8]. Jesus pointed out that the widow’s persistence wearied the magistrate, and though he was unjust, he gave the widow what she wanted so that she would go away [Luke 18:5]. Jesus’s point was simple: if the widow’s persistence won her victory over her opponent from an unfair judge, how much more will our persistence get us a favourable verdict from the just Judge?
My prayer life has benefitted hugely from understanding these things. As I mature in my faith, I’m placing greater significance on the value of praying with discernment to avoid praying amiss. On occasion, I’ll need to approach God as His child for my needs [Luke 11:1-4], and sometimes I’ll need to come before Him as an intercessor, asking for a favour on behalf of another friend [Luke 11:5-8]. But, there’ll be instances I will need to approach Him as a plaintiff seeking a favourable judgement against my adversary. It’s worth highlighting that it’s our responsibility to ensure that the adversary doesn’t have a legal right to oppress us. Here, the Christian’s ignorance of the provisions he has in Christ can be very costly [Hosea 4:6].
Our greatest weapon against the adversary’s accusation is the blood of Jesus [Revelation 12:11]. It’s the game-changing argument we can present to guarantee a favourable verdict and the best case we can make for the outcome we desire [Isaiah 41:21]. Knowing how to invoke the blood of Jesus in the court of heaven will render the accuser powerless because it always speaks in the believer’s favour and assures his victory on every occasion [Hebrews 12:24]. Therefore, a Christian with understanding can enter the court with praise because a favourable judgment is guaranteed [Psalm 100:4]. Do you know how to make your case and to obtain the verdict you desire in the court of heaven?