"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -Martin Luther

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I Judge this Serendipitous

The following is an anecdote which will hopefully edify my readers.
This afternoon I was thinking. I do that occasionally, and today I stayed home from church in the morning and evening because I am ill. So, sometime this evening I was on our back porch reading a re-write of Jonathan Edward's sermon entitled "God at Work," but my mind, at least at times, was elsewhere.
I was considering a series of events and conversations which had transpired over the past year which had caused my to look more closely at what all this judging and not judging in the Bible is about. My thoughts this afternoon were along the lines of realizing that I really didn't know where the Bible stood. I thought it would be nice to get some reading material and study up on it. That was page, oh, 66, where Pastor Edwards was talking about pride being a big snare for people in a revival.
Yeah, I sure have the pride, I thought to myself, not making the connection between pride and looking down on other people. I mean, if God says something is a sin, and someone does it, then I can consider it to be, or "judge" it, if you will, to be a sin, right? Well, my pride in being a sin-detector extraordinaire was probably oozing out my pores, and some notion that it was a problem for me filtered through my grey matter as I read. Then I got to page 71.
C. Let us beware of judging others,

read the heading.
I'm not the kind to get all exited about things like this (that's why I'm writing it up on my blog), so I just thanked God for his amazing providence which had in this case saved me a trip to the church library, and helped get my mind back on what I was reading. Pastor Edward's primary point was that God, and only God, sees the heart, and we as people have neither the ability or the right to declare a professing Christian an unbeliever. Pastor Edwards is rather straightforward, which is probably a good thing for me:
"We will see that declaring people to be unconverted who claim to be Christians and are living good lives is forbidden by Christ in the New Testament. Since he forbids it, his disciples must not do it."

He proceeded on page 72 to toss in a list of Bible verses to show the truth of his statements.
I am also concerned that I will get spoiled by these reading materials materializing in front of me right after I am prompted to study them. But it certainly is nice.
My only real concern is that tricky "living good lives" statement, which is never qualified. My readers' thoughts, applicable Scripture verses, and other such comments are welcomed.
Meanwhile, enjoy the serendipity
God at Work was prepared by Gary Benfold. © 1995 Grace Publications Trust.

2 comments:

  1. yes, but that doesnt mean we cant go to a brother or sister in christ and tell them that they have wandered off the path. that isnt telling them that they are not christian, merely saying that they have sin in their life that they need to deal with.

    people get scared about doing that and i think its a shame. i for one would like people to admonish me in my sin, instead of ignoring it because "only God can judge." the bible is talking about making judgements of who is going to hell and who is going to heaven, as jonathan edwards is saying himself.

    sometimes there are grey areas, and like you said, you cant make yourself out to have a Ph.D. in sin and sinfulness. i know im not making much sense here, but it makes sense to me hahaha. keep the blogging yo. i wish i remembered to read it more often.

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  2. No, you make a lot of sense, Daniel. I agree with what you've written.
    My chief concern in the post is my own prideful attitude -- certainly, going to a brother or sister who is in sin is not only important but imperative -- a command of God. My concern is that in my pride I will place myself above God, believing I can tell people's hearts. 1) I should realize that I, too am a sinner, with several large plancks in my eye, and 2) that I might have completely misread whatever my brother or sister did, and should go humbly, compelled by the Scriptures, not driven by self-righteousness.
    There appear two extremes: ignoring sin in others, or pretending you know the hearts, and perhaps even the eternal destinies of others.
    Interestingly enough, the back cover of ~God at Work~ says Jonathan Edwards was kicked out of a pastoring job for refusing to allow unconverted people take communion.

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A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.