There is an interesting, and scary, shift in government power when it comes to application of the law. For the most part in America what you think or say is not a crime. Crime is based on actions. For example, I could say out loud that I want to rob a bank but unless I actually attempt to rob a bank the police cannot arrest me. I could be a gross, nasty, evil person but unless my evil is converted into some outward action then government would leave me alone.
While that has been historically true there is political pressure for government, and even social media companies to police what people think and say. Kevin Hart was removed from hosting the Oscars because of tasteless jokes that were quasi acceptable 10 years ago that have now been deemed offensive today. Political parties want to make even having certain thoughts a crime. A first attempt at policing thoughts takes on the form of “hate crime” laws. If someone vandalizes a building there are laws against damaging property. However, if someone vandalizes a building and it can be proven that the intent was born out of discrimination then hate crime laws would allow for conviction of even more time added to the sentence because of thoughts and evil intent.
Beyond the problem of tying to prove what people are thinking a problem with Governments having policing power over thoughts is that acceptable think today might be wrong think tomorrow. Laws on action are almost never retroactive when changed but wrong thinking is almost always retroactive requiring those who held the now outlawed thoughts to apologize and even then, that apology may not be enough. Anyone who gains a public spotlight will have their past media history searched for any spoken offense.
The second coming of Jesus is predicted in the Old Testament as a powerful king that will rule over the people. As any king or government Jesus will have the power judge and make laws. Will Jesus judge based on actionable crimes or will he also judge our thoughts like many want government to do now?
And his [Jesus] delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear Isaiah 11:3 ESV
God’s judgment will not be based on actions. His judgment will be based on what is inside the heart of people. Yet unlike earthly governments who judge on the whims of social right and wrong Jesus will judge on an unchanging law that is written into the hearts of his creation. He knows all things so when he looks into your heart what will he find to be true?
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13 ESV
The wicked seem to always gain power and influence in governments. President Trump is under endless investigation. The rival candidate Secretary Clinton was under investigation and even today the opposing crowds of voters chant “lock her up” at rallies. Yet people want government to function in the role of God administrating justice as seen fit by those in power. When the judge is corrupt then how can there be justice? God through Jesus however will judge will full knowledge even of intent in the heart of man. God unlike man is not corrupt and his justice will be perfect.
None of us can stand to such perfect justice because it knows our hearts. That is why Jesus took on our crimes and took on the punishment of that righteous judgment. The Bible word for what Jesus did for his children is “justification”. God is who is just is also loving and has provided justification to those who desire to be made right before God. I deserve punishment for my crimes before the king but Jesus who is perfect took my punishment making me justified before the king.
22 That is why his [Abraham] faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. Romans 4:22-25 ESV