One Book, Rightly Divided- II Timothy 2:15

FORGIVENESS and JUDGMENT

Judgment is simply making decisions; we do it constantly, without even thinking. You are reading this because you made a judgment or decision to do so. Life is filled with decisions to stop or start, go left or right, speak or be silent, and a thousand other judgments. Judgment is in the will of man and it is ingrained in every person. Those who say you shouldn’t judge others live in a dream world–they just “judged” you.

After being commanded by religious leaders to not witness, the apostles answered:

“But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” (Acts 4:19).  Then, the apostles ignored the orders of men and went right on doing what they believed (judged) to be right in God’s eyes.

God gives child of God Bible standards on judgment. We are never to be unfair, dishonest or unreasonable in judgment; we are to keep in mind the same degree and nature of judgment we would prefer when others judge us.

“1  Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:1-2). 

(Of course that is a kingdom command and has to do with behavior, works, and judgment by God under the Law. Most know nothing about the prophetic judgments of God upon men and nations. However, it is applicable to all ages in that how you treat others, to a large degree influences others’ treatment of you. The believer in this present age has a definite, doctrinal appointment at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is not to determine salvation; it is to reveal the true nature of our work for Christ. A reward is promised to those whose work is like “gold, silver, precious stones”, a loss of reward to those whose work is like “wood, hay, stubble”. Salvation is never an issue at that Judgment. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

Is it ever right to judge another religious system to be wrong? The Lord had some stiff judgment regarding religious hypocrites and we can be sure His judgment was true:

“56  Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

57  Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” (Luke 12:56-57)

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24). 

Judgment is not right when it is done without all the facts. We must judge, God gives a command to do so, but when we do judge, it must be based on facts and not hearsay, personal opinion, or appearance. We are not equal to Deity but when His words clearly condemn others actions or beliefs, we must agree with God.

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48). 

Jesus placed the word of God above all when He spoke these words. Our judgments must be made with the Bible being the final authority. God has even magnified His word above His Name! (Psalm 138:2). We must obey the word of God above our opinions or the opinions of men.

“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” (Acts 13:46). 

A wise man will not assume to judge a matter himself, but will defer the judgment between God and the sinner as Paul and Barnabus did here. That is the real issue in true judgment: the offender has sinned against God by going contrary to His word.

WHAT ABOUT FORGIVING?

“He wised off and I cold-cocked him.”

Forgiveness is a complex subject, and difficult for many Christians to understand, much less practice. It is not easily practiced—all because (as Christians) we are still in the flesh and the ‘old’ man (the flesh) knows nothing but revenge against anything or anybody that ‘does him wrong’. It is a sweet, easy thing to say this from a pulpit but very hard to hear and obey while living in this evil world: We should not yield to this fleshly impulse but “walk after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). “Walking after the Spirit” sometimes means eliminating the source. A Christian is not a “peace-nik”, loving everybody and everything, bowing to evil and wickedness.

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1Timothy 5:8).  This does not just mean food and clothing; whatever it takes to provide safety as well as provision for his “own house” is a man’s God given responsibility.

Whether we do the right thing or not, our relationship and position (‘born of God’) will not change; if we failed and “walked after the flesh”, our relationship as a son is NEVER affected but our fellowship with Jesus is affected. That is easily corrected by our godly sorrow, forsaking our own will, and following God’s will. We will know this from the witness of the Holy Spirit within us. Remember this: if a saved person does not “walk after the Spirit”, but follows the flesh, we are capable of any sin.

An unsaved man may ‘forgive’ someone of an offense. But this forgiveness is a product of the will, a consciousness of man that God placed in Adam, but this conscience was marred by the fall. A lost man’s forgiveness is always based on some self-advantage to be gained; on the other hand, he is capable of turning around and killing. He is not saved and he does not have the Spirit of God in him, nor is he capable of “walking after the Spirit”.

Forgiveness is not easily understood because we confuse (1) God’s forgiveness to man with man’s forgiveness to man, (2) right division of scripture, (3) as well as ‘individual justice’ compared to ‘social justice.’

Example of “right division”: God’s forgiveness is based on our works–forgiving others. This is under the Law and before Jesus died on the cross.

Matt. 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Matt. 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

But notice now, after the cross, we are already forgiven–because of that, we are to forgive others. Quite a difference! We are under grace.

Eph 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

There should always be a desire within us to forgive an offender rather than seeking some revenge. As sinners saved by grace and with such mercy shown us when we were “enemies of God” (Romans 5:8), how can we not seek first an avenue to forgiveness, rather than seeking vengeance upon our enemies?

UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES OF REQUIRED JUDGMENT AND FORGIVENESS

Justice demands payment for wrong.

Righteousness cannot allow unrighteousness to continue.

Holiness cannot co-exist with unholiness.

DIVINE Love must hate wrong, otherwise, DIVINE LOVE WOULD NOT exist.

A debt continues owed, until paid.

Where pure, complete light is, there is no darkness.

We know from scripture that the very essence or nature “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Go back with me to the Garden of Eden—before sin was in the world. Adam and Eve were created in “unconfirmed holiness.” By that, I mean there was no temptation or opportunity to sin or transgress God’s will, no test had been given. They were innocent and in perfect communion with God. But the Tempter entered the Garden, the test came, and Adam disobeyed God.

Did God, Who is Love, simply overlook or ‘forgive’ Adam, and let Adam continue in the bliss of the Garden? Was there not some payment for the disobedience? Of course there was; Adam fell from his created position “in the image of God”. A temporary covering (coats of skin) was made for his sin and required the death of an innocent animal. An immediate judgment was his loss of close communion with God and a loss of the “image of God” to his posterity. His children were born in Adam’s fallen image and sin entered into the world (Genesis 5:1-5), Adam died physically, as all his descendants after him. This all continued until the “Lamb of God” came and completely paid by His life and death, the debt for Adam’s and his posterity’s disobedience.

All of man’s disobedience to God, the judgment and payment for sin is covered in these passages:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Just in case there is any doubt:

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)

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