Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Table of Divine Judgment

For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup,
And the wine is red;
It is fully mixed, and He pours it out;
Surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth
Drain and drink down.
(Psalm 75:8)
Calling the Table of the Lord the Table of Divine Judgment sounds pretty ominous and fearful, as does this verse. And yet, the Lord’s Table does indeed represent a divine judgment that has taken place. For at the cross, the full measure of God’s judgment rained down on the Lord Jesus Christ as He gave His body and shed His blood on our behalf. And now, for all who receive Him, the judgment He willingly suffered at Calvary is counted as ours. It is no longer necessary for us to bear it, because Jesus endured it in our place.

The apostle Paul put it this way, “He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). That is, Jesus took our sin upon Himself, and we are not just given His righteousness, but we are made the righteousness of God in Him. We are also accepted by God in Him — “accepted in the Beloved” is how Paul says it (Ephesians 1:6). And “there is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

The judgment of God has now become a very good thing for us. For it is the nature of judgment to come and set things right, to bring justice where injustice has been done. Because Jesus took our sins to the cross, we are now judged to be righteous through faith in Him. So now the judgment falls on all those things that are our enemies: sin, sickness, demonic strongholds, poverty, even death. They cannot stay on us because they do not belong on us. Even death, which is called “the last enemy,” has been defeated by the cross and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the assurance that we shall likewise be raised (1 Corinthians 15).

When we take the Table of the Lord, we are recalling that divine judgment fell on Jesus Christ for our sakes, and that we receive His righteousness, and therefore all the blessings and provisions that belong to the righteous. We no longer need to fear the judgment of God, because Jesus drank that cup for us, and now the divine judgment is to our benefit. We just need to stay close to Jesus, and one of the best ways to do that is to meet Him often at the Table of the Lord.