What Is the Investigative Judgment?

God's judgment

An Investigation of the Truth

When we see the atonement of Jesus as a cooperative effort of the Trinity, it also changes the way we view the investigative judgment. This judgment is not about God investigating us, but about Him bringing us to an investigation of the truth about Him. It is not God’s judgment upon us, but our judgment of Him. Instead of the investigative judgment being an arbitrary action of God, it is about God imparting discernment—which is another word for judgment—to us so we can be cleansed from the lies we have believed about God. It is these lies that have caused us to sin, to distrust God. When these lies are cleansed with truth, then trust can return. This is the process that reunites men with God.

Another way of saying this is to say that God is bringing us to investigate ourselves and thus brings us to investigate the truth about Him.

“Will we be won back to trust and a willingness to listen? Our Father is not the kind of person His enemies have made Him out to be. He is indeed an infinitely powerful, but equally gracious person, who values nothing higher than our freedom and our peace with Him and with each other. Such things are not produced by force or fear. So, instead, God pleads with us very gently, but very urgently, in the words of Paul, ‘Let everyone be fully persuaded in his own mind.’” – Graham Maxwell

What Will We Believe?

Tim Jennings makes the process of judgment quite clear:

“If we judge God trustworthy, then we open our heart and His Spirit heals us from sin. If instead, we accept Satan’s lies and judge God as untrustworthy, then we keep our heart closed and eventually move beyond His healing reach. One day all will stand in God’s presence and their true condition will be revealed–this is God’s judgment. Jesus describes this reality:

Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:33-37

God’s verdict doesn’t make the wicked incurable but merely pronounces the reality that already exists in the hearts and minds of the lost–that they are incurable. We do not need to fear a God who is trying to save and heal us; we need to fear sin which, if un-remedied, destroys us!”

“The heart of the judgment is not God’s decision about us, but our decision about Him.” – Jean Sheldon

When Is Judgment Finished?

We can be sure that the intercession of Jesus has achieved its purpose and is not longer needed when we come at last to equate Jesus with the Father. We come to see fully the blazing truth that if Jesus is God, then God is the one in between us and God. This means there really is no one in between us and God. The close of probation is Jesus’ diagnosis that any further mediation of this truth in order to bring us back to trust would be fruitless.


Here is another great article clarifying the judgment of God.