“All Scripture is Inspired” (2 Timothy 3:16)
“Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged” (Christ’s Sermon on the Mount)
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the [S]cripture is of any private interpretation.” (1 Peter 1:20)
There is a sermon called, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” This sermon was preached in the late (1700’s) Seventeen-hundreds by a man named, Jonathan Edwards. It is a famous sermon due to it’s effect upon the hearers and readers. It was the beginning, many have said, to the “Great Awakening.” If you have never read it or heard it, please do. The reason I mention it should be obvious, if you have read the title of this article, “Scripture in the Hands of Ignorant Sinners.”
When we call the sinners ignorant we do not mean stupid, but unknowing or unlearned. The ignorant sinner is ignorant of many theological truths. They are unlearned of the meaning of many truths, such as the meaning or interpretation of words, passages, doctrines.
In the quoted verses, we list some basic meaning of words and doctrines that have caused much error. In our (1st) first and (3rd) third quoted passages we demonstrate (2) two very importants truths that one must get right, right from the start. Those (2) two truths clarify the interpreting of Scripture. (2 Tim 3:16) state that all Scripture comes from God and are necessary for the proper understanding. The (2Nd) truth from (1 Peter 1:20 &c.) teaches that there is no private interpreting allowed, but that holy men of old were moved by the Holy Spirit. This means that no one is allowed to have their own interpretations but must seek to know the meanings and purposes of the writers of Holy Writ.
The (3) three doctrines that we chose to clarify are judging, forgiving, and love. We have found these doctrines have caused many misunderstanding, especially with the unsaved. We have written on the Christ-ian’s duty to judge the good and the bad; the right and the wrong; the true and the false of all things before (1 Corinthians 2:14). We also learn from this passage that the christ-ian is judged by no man, in return. Something I have found that when a person’s good/bad; right/wrong; true and false is judged they typically reply with, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” This response is very wrong and untrue. Let me explain.
“Judge not lest ye be judged” refers to the setting of a standard in judgement. Therefore, one will be judged by that same standard of judgement if one is ever to be judged. For example: “that guy should get life in prison for that.” If you, then, (10) ten years from now, commit the same sin, you will be held to that same standard of life in prison…therefore, “judge not [that man and his sin] lest ye be judged [by your own merciless standard]. The doctrine then is this, be slow to judge others lest God be as quick to judge you.
Did I contradict myself in the last (2) two paragraphs? I did not. The differences are these; In the passage from 1 Cor. 2:14, we spoke of judging an action as good/bad; right/wrong; or true/false. We did not set any standard of judgment whereby the sinner was to be judged. We simply defined the quality of the action performed or perpetrated. The quality of the actions are universal to all. It is universally true that cold blooded murder is bad. As to the execution of judgment we leave to God or a court. It is universally false that adultery is good. Another difference is, one should steer clear of calling for some standard of punishment, lest that same standard of punishment be used against you or someone you love.
When judging the actions of another, the thought should be mercy and not necessarily justice. We should use mercy, whereas the Judge is to use justice and the standard of judgment that God and or the state has set. Another rule to apply to this is the golden one. “Do unto others, as you would have done unto you.” This means quite simply, if you do not want every one of you deeds put under a microscope, then do not monitor everyone else with the goal of judging. Another doctrine that fits here, is hypocrisy. If you judge others but are angered when someone points out your fault you are a hypocrite. The golden rule works another way. If i am a Christ-ian and am seeking Christ-likeness, I would wants others to point out my sin, sins, failings, mistakes, etc.
Our next docrine that is abused by many, including Christ-ians. Yes!, Christ-ians, many of them are ignorant of the doctrine of forgiveness. It is my contention that most confuse forgiveness with lack of bitterness. Let me be very clear from the start…One cannot forgive another lest s/he seeks forgiveness…….You cannot forgive someone unless that someone wants to be forgiven…Forgiveness must be sought before it can be found…..Forgiveness must be asked for before it can be given. Forgiveness is an act and a convsersation.
I trust that I have been clear on the subject of forgiveness so far. When I say one cannot forgive another lest forgiveness is sought, I am not saying that bitterness, anger, malice, or holding a grudge is allowable or acceptable until forgiveness is sought. This is where, I think, confusion enters. Example: [X has wronged Q. However, Q feel no bitterness toward x. Therefore, Q has forgiven x….and all is forgotten]. This is wrong and unBiblical…in fact, it may even be anti-Biblical. In our example above, all seems well Q. What about x? X is still carrying a burden whether X knows it or not. What is one to do about X?
Our Lord commands us, in Matthew (18) eighteen, when you are wronged, you must go to the offender and tell the offender of their wrong doing. if the offender asks your forgiveness; you shall grant it. If the offender refuses his accountability, take another person with you and do it all over again. If the offender continues to refuse, take the offender to the church for discipline.
All of this is being done for the sake of the offender’s standing with God. If we allow an offense to go unremedied, we are adding to the offender’s burden and does that make us guilty of knowing to do good and not doing it?
In summarizing forgiveness: It is most important, because our faith, our beliefs, our hopes, our salvation all rest upon the foundation of God’s forgiveness. If God has forgiven us, our sins, so too, must we, forgive others, theirs. But there is a formula, if you will. 4giveness is not simply handed out, that would be wrong; that would be the condoning of the wrong. When 1 is wronged, one should not be bitter because of what the wrong has done to 1’s self, but that wrong has been done. If the offender does not realize the offense, 1 must make the offender aware and give an opportunity to seek 4giveness. Once 4giveness is granted both should make confession b4 God, for all sin is against God….then and only then, are all things well. You are happy, no added burden to the offender as s/he has humbled self and taken responsibility. God is also pleased.
Love…As this is a rather lengthy article, let us get to the point. Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice and love is action….love is a verb. “In love” is a feeling. “in love” is a chemical that is released into the human system & it feels very good. “In love” causes us to think of “that 1” when we wake up. “That 1” is our last thought of the evening. We cannot get enough of “that 1,” However,…..it is all chemical and that chemical will settle down. When the chemical settles down, you are left with reality. No 1 should ever base 1’s hopes, and future when “in love”…it could lead to ruin. Think of “in love” as an illness and we all know not to make big decisions when ill.
The future will be (DV) built upon love; the future must not be built upon being “in love”
Blessed are we, who are “in love” with the one we love; Woe unto you, who hate the one you were “in love” with. AND….. May we all be “in love” with the God we love and the God, Who is Love.