1 Cor. 4:5 So then do not judge anything before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and make manifest the counsels of the hearts…
2 Cor. 5:10 For we must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done through the body according to what he has practiced, whether good or bad.
The apostle Paul says, “I am conscious of nothing against myself; but I am not justified in this, but He who examines me is the Lord. So then do not judge anything before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and make manifest the counsels of the hearts” (1 Cor. 4:4-5). In Romans Paul says that we will all stand before the judgment seat of God and give an account concerning ourselves to God (14:10, 12). Each one of us will come under God’s great judgment. Today we may criticize and judge our brothers, but in that day God will make us explain our words of criticism and judgment. The Lord said that we will render an account of every idle word on the day of judgment, for by our words we will be justified or condemned (Matt. 12:36-37). The day of judgment is awesome. Regardless of who we are, in that day “we must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done through the body according to what he has practiced, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). (CWWL, 1957, vol. 3, “The Living God and the God of Resurrection,” pp. 40-41)
We revere God because He is the living God, and we express godliness because He is the God of resurrection. But He is also the judging God. On the day of judgment His eyes will be like a flame of fire, His feet will be like shining bronze that has been fired in a furnace, and out of His mouth will proceed a sharp two-edged sword (Rev. 1:14-16; 19:12). He will indeed be frightening. If on the day of judgment we still have things that are not of God or are incompatible with God, such as sin, the flesh, natural affections, the world, and the self, they will be searched out by the flaming fire in His eyes, cut off by the sharp sword from His mouth, and trampled on by His feet of shining bronze.
We thank the Lord that today He is judging us in the course of our life in order to give us new opportunities and new beginnings before His consummate judging. This is His mercy; otherwise, we would be condemned along with the world. In this process every judgment is a reminder and a deliverance. With each new beginning, God gives us fresh grace. If we do not receive His judging, we will face His judgment on the ultimate day of His judgment. May the Lord have mercy on us so that we would know Him as the judging God who is not mocked. (CWWL, 1957, vol. 3, “The Living God and the God of Resurrection,” p. 41)
The paths of life are in contrast to the ways of death….To fear the Lord (Prov. 10:27; 14:2, 26-27; 15:16, 33; 16:6; 19:23), trust in the Lord (16:1, 9, 20, 33; 19:21), and take refuge in the name of the Lord (18:10) is to walk on the paths of life. The opposite of this is to walk in the ways of death.
Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 both say, “There is a way which seems right to a man, / But the end of it is the ways of death.” Walking in the ways of death is to be wise in our own eyes and rely on our own understanding (3:5-7).
The paths of life are the paths of the tree of life, the source of which is God Himself; the ways of death are the ways of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the source of which is Satan and which is manifested in our self. Thus, we must learn to be delivered from the self so as to live in God. Proverbs teaches us the proper way of human conduct; the secret is to reject the self to live in God. (CWWL, 1956, vol. 1, p. 514)
Further Reading: CWWL, 1988, vol. 4, “The Excelling Gift for the Building Up of the Church,” chs. 1, 6