Judge With Righteous Judgment

Use righteous judgment

In Genesis 1 we are told God made man in His image. Included would be the ability to reach a conclusion from observable evidences. The ability to reason manifests itself every time we make a judgment about a person or thing. Therefore, with this ability comes grave responsibility. It is such a serious a responsibility that there are admonitions in scripture warning us about how to judge.

A Warning

For instance, Jesus warns, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Jesus’ statement implies that mankind will make judgments from time to time.

The acceptability of an action or thing to God (is it righteous) is to be the basis of these judgments. Peter and John challenged the Sanhedrin of their day to judge if it was right to obey God rather than man (Acts 4:19). Paul asked the Corinthian brethren the rhetorical question, “Do you not judge those who are within the church?” (1 Corinthians 5:12). He then instructs Christians not to go to law against one another but to let brethren judge in any legal dispute that may arise (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). In 1 Corinthians 10:15 Paul continues by saying, “I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say.” Then he charges the brethren to judge whether it is proper for a Christian woman to pray to God unveiled (1 Corinthians 11:13). As we look to these many admonitions to “judge,” it is undeniable that men can and do, in fact must, make judgments. Therefore, those who would be righteous must judge with righteous judgment.

Wait until all evidence is in

When Jesus said that we are not to judge according to appearance, He was warning us not to make judgments before we have understood all the evidence. Paul makes this point concerning his own stewardship as an apostle of the Lord. In first Corinthians chapter four, he encourages them to accept him as a steward of the mysteries of God (vs. 1). He then says a steward must be found faithful (vs. 2). Next, he addresses the possibility man’s judgment can be faulty by saying, “But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord” (vvs. 3-4). Paul knew judgment without understanding could be faulty, hence his statement about man’s judgment. His own judgment of his stewardship did not justify (declare him righteous). Only the Lord can justify. The reason man’s judgment may be faulty is because of his propensity for prejudice (Proverbs 24:23).

Paul concludes the thought by saying, “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God” (vs. 5). The way righteous judgments are made is by considering the evidence as Paul illustrates with the judgment of the Lord.

When Sorrow Turns to Self-Pity

By: Gary Henry

Sorrow brings about tears

“And Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me’” (Genesis 4:13-14).

All who live in this world will have to deal with sorrow.

It is inevitable. In an environment where sin is a reality, the temporal consequences of sin are unavoidable — and since sorrow is one of those consequences, we shall have to deal with it sooner or later. The only question is how we shall do so. It’s important to keep our sorrow from turning into what is called “the sorrow of the world” (2 Corinthians 7:10). This is the sorrow that wallows selfishly in its own misery. It does not confront sin in a godly way.

Two things are needed to keep our sorrow from turning into self-pity: reverence and gratitude. When we are passing through any bitterness of spirit, we must maintain a humble respect for the greatness of God as our Creator, and we must not cease to thank Him for all that is right, despite whatever has gone wrong. Even when the sun is shining, we find it challenging to be as reverent and as grateful as we ought to be. However, when the darkness closes in, keeping our thinking clear about God can seem so difficult that we despair. We give in to the “the sorrow of the world.”

Sorrow brings about failure

Failures of reverence and gratitude should be seen as failures of perspective. When pain focuses our attention on some small part of reality, we tend to lose touch with the larger truths. This is no trivial thing, however. If we refuse to acknowledge the whole truth about God, that refusal can cost us our souls (Romans 1:18-21). God is greater than our woes, and whatever the immediate cause for our sorrow, we simply can’t afford to forget the clear tokens of God’s greatness and goodness in the wider world.

Edmund Spenser wrote of the miserable fellow who finds himself “dying each day with inward wounds of Dolour’s dart.” The sorrow of the world is deadly because it indulges in self-justification. It fuels resentment and resistance to God. Like Cain, the self-pitying soul feels no genuine remorse for evil. He merely whines, “My punishment is greater than I can bear!”

The Biblical Worldview

What is your view of the world? Each person has a worldview. This implies these views are both personal and that there are many different worldviews. While they are conceivable and likeable, it does not mean that all worldviews are credible and rational. Because of this, worldviews contradict each other.

How do we define a worldview? It is the way in which we see the world and all things in it. It is the way we try to fit all things together as we interpret and judge reality. In other words, our worldview is how we make sense of the world in which we live.

The Biblical Worldview:

To understand the Bible and life, we must place it within the sphere of the biblical worldview. In 1 Corinthians 1:17-31, we find what might be considered God’s (biblical) worldview. And it gives us the answer to the clash of cultures. The theme of this text is God’s Wisdom vs. Man’s Wisdom. The Bible presents God’s worldview as the only authoritative one.

God’s Creation of Man:

To speak of God creating man “in His image” (Gen. 1:26) involves the totality of man—the moral, mental, emotional, physical, relational aspects of life, etc. (cf. Matt. 22:37-40). When God created man, He gave man various responsibilities which are all relational. First, God gave man the responsibility of dominion over the physical world and all things therein (Gen. 1:26-2:15). Second, God gave man the responsibility of honoring, obeying, and serving Him with promise of reward and punishment depending on our actions (Gen. 2:16-17). Third, God gave man the responsibility, of embracing the relationships, formed within the biblical worldview beginning with man’s relationship in the home and marriage which are foundational to society.

The Role of Man’s Free Will:

Responsibility implies free will; meaning man can choose to obey or choose to disobey God. The biblical worldview reveals the sad story of man exercising his free will resulting in sin. The result of man’s disobedience to God resulted in the first secular worldview. As Genesis 3 closes there exists two worldviews—God’s and man’s. As time progressed and man continued to reject God’s biblical worldview, man developed various competing and contradictory secular worldviews. These secular worldviews continue to compete and conflict with God’s biblical worldview. Some secular world views are:

  • Atheism: the philosophy that denies the existence of God. It is truly a belief of unbelief.
  • Agnosticism: the philosophy that enough evidence does not exist to know if God exists or does not exist; such as, God may exist, or God may not exist. We cannot determine which.
  • Darwinism: the philosophy that all things have their origin from the development of biological life resulting from a one-celled organism. In this development of life, to some Darwinian philosophers, man just happened to be the highest form of evolution which currently continues to work.
  • Determinism: the philosophy that all events, including human choices, are determined by previous causes.
  • Empiricism: the philosophy that all of man’s knowledge comes from his senses; therefore, we can only know things by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching.
  • Existentialism: the philosophy that all truth is subjective and individualistic and is not universal, objective, and absolute.
  • Humanism: the philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively. Thus critical thinking and evidence (rationalism and empiricism) are preferred over acceptance of dogma or superstition.

It is easy to understand why and how these secular worldviews conflict with God’s biblical worldview. Yet, we must always understand, God’s view is right!

“Have You Considered, Then What?”

Looking into the future

Much of the time young people do not think too far into the future. Perhaps it is because of the fact they are young. But what would the answer be if they were asked what they were going to do in the future?

What Then Questions

But, what would the conversation be like if a father were to ask his son if he had given any thought to his future, he might get several different answers. It quite possible he would be somewhat surprised if his son was to tell him he had it all figured out. If we were to listen in on the conversation we might hear something like this.

The father asks his son to tell him about his plans. So the son proceeded to tell him that after he graduated from high school he would go on to college. “Fine, son; what then?” Then his son stated that after he graduated from college, he’d get a well-paying job and buy a big house and a nice car. “Great, son; what then?” The boy said he’d then get married and raise a family, just like his dad. “Wonderful, son; but what then?” Well, the son figured that he’d probably work until he was old enough to retire. Excellent, son; so, what then?” Perhaps somewhat perplexed by this time by his father’s continued inquiries, the son figured he’d live out his golden years traveling and enjoying his grandchildren. “Splendid, son; have you considered what then?” Realizing the inevitable, the young man said of course he’d die! And then his father looked straight into his son’s eyes and asked one last time, “Okay, son; have you considered what then?”

Planning For The Future, Have You Considered What Then?

It is always wise to take time to plan for the future. A young couple will usually try to plan their finances so they can afford to buy a home. Most of the time, they also plan for the size of family they want and the children’s education, even going so far as to set up a savings plan, shortly after each child is born.

People make sure they have car insurance before driving their car. They also buy health insurance to cover the event of serious illness or injury and life insurance to protect the family against the loss of a loved one, particularly a bread winner. Sometimes they look far enough into the future to set up some kind to plan for retirement. All kinds of people carry day planners around with them to plan their daily schedules. It’s wise to plan!

Death Comes, Have You Considered What Then?

But in the face of all the planning we typically do, many carelessly fail to put God in their plans (Jas. 4:13-17). So, it isn’t surprising so many also fail to plan for the most important day of our existence, the day we’ll all stand before our Lord at judgment (2 Cor. 5:10). The young boy in the story above sounded as though he had his life and future well under control. But he had failed to plan for eternity which awaits everyone after this life is over. And that’s probably the way it is, to one degree or another, for most people.

Seventy, eighty, ninety or a hundred years sounds like a long time. But, it’s less than a drop in a bucket compared to eternity. To consider planning for the time we will spend in this life is wise.  But to give little thought to what lies just beyond this life is utter foolishness! Someone has said there are only two sure things in life: death and taxes. But, with death come the judgment (Heb. 9:27). Have your future plans gone as far as that ultimate day of reckoning? When you reach the point of first drawing in and then releasing that last breath of life in this physical world, have you considered what then???

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