Tag Archives: sin

Jesus in the Feast of Unleavened Bread

Last week, I introduced the Feast of Passover—the first of seven ordained by God. It kicks off the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Passover and the first night of Unleavened Bread are known as ‘high sabbaths.’ They do not happen on an actual Sabbath, which begins on Friday night. This, and the fact that Jesus was buried in the ground for three nights (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) and three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) and raised on the third day, help us understand that Jesus was crucified and buried Thursday day, not Friday, as is our tradition.

So, what prompted the connected Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread? As I mentioned previously, the Israelites had to make a hasty departure from Egypt after God completed ten judgments against the Pharoah. They didn’t have time to use yeast (leaven) to let the bread for the journey rise. Eventually, yeast came to signify the old life of bondage in Egypt and sin.

How is the yeast-less-bread feast celebrated? Deep house cleaning is done by the 14th of Nisan in preparation for the Passover and the first day of Unleavened Bread on the 15th. Special dishes and utensils are used to ensure no contamination. Then, pieces of yeast are hidden to be found during the Feast of Passover after sundown (the start of the 15th).  A ceremonial search for leaven and removal that night (part of the Passover feast) is done by candlelight and with a feather and wooden spoon; all are placed into a bag and burned. The head of the household then says a prayer.

The theme of old and new is an emphatic order to be free of corruption. So, how did Jesus fulfill the feast to stress that? First, He is the ‘Bread of Life’ who did not sin—leaven (John 6:32-35). Second, He had to take on sin—ours—to satisfy a sinful humanity’s debt to the Creator: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because of His sinless nature, God didn’t allow His body to decay (such as leaven-oriented fermentation causes). Therefore, He was buried in a rich man’s grave, not thrown onto the trash heap like other crucified criminals (Isaiah 53:8-9), and raised. Most important, Jesus removes the spiritual yeast/leaven/sin from our house, our lives.

How can we apply this? We can start by “. . . lay[ing] aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit” (Ephesians 4:22) and become new. Why? If nothing else, practicing sin, no matter what we may believe about Jesus, will earn a spiritual death sentence (Galatians 5:19-21).

What about next week? We’ll continue exploring God’s ordained feasts and festivals with “Jesus in the Feast of First Fruits.”

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley

www.ronbraley.com

http://www.findingdiscipleship.org

Been Cleaned, Being Cleaned!

“Ron! If we are forgiven of our sins when we answer God’s call through devotion to Him (making ‘Jesus Lord’ (Romans 10:8-10)) and obedience to honor and love, why do we have to keep asking for forgiveness??” Great question! Jesus hinted at the answer in John 13:5-10:

“Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” … Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus said to him, ‘He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.’”

This servant-leader taught that we need regenerative bathing in the New Covenant as we see in 13:10 AND regular washing to have an inheritance in God’s Kingdom. Let me explain. There are two kinds of washings referenced in John 13. The first is washing a part of the body, such as the hand or foot (e.g., verses 5 & 6). It is referenced by the word Peter used in 13:6 when he said, “… Lord, do you wash my feet??” The washing of the part of the body referenced here is the Greek word pronounced ‘nip-toe.’ This ‘washing’ for forgiveness when we mess up is part of our repentance—turning away from sin in our sorrow for rebellion against God and others.

The second washing is bathing the whole body, as in the Old Testament reference to what Bathsheba was doing when David saw her. This Greek word is pronounced ‘loo-oh,’ and we see this in 13:10. There’s a distinct difference between the two types of spiritual washing. First, the atoning work of Christ bathes – “loo-oh’s” – us from the sin and disobedience we practiced BEFORE we knew better, repented, and devoted ourselves to God through Christ. Second, we continue to repent and experience a cleansing when we fall short of God’s desires AFTER devotion to Him. In verse 10, we learn that the one who has been bathed (loo-oh’d) needs only to have regular washings (nip-toes) for forgiveness in repentance. Finally, Jesus explained to Peter that He and the other disciples had been ‘bathed’ (regenerated) except for Judas.

In summary, we are bathed (loo-oh’d) when we devote ourselves to God out of our belief in Him, and we continue to be ‘nip-toed’ in our repentance when we mess up. Next week, we’ll look at Jesus’ instruction for a disciple-maker to ‘wipe the dust off the feet and move on instead of stagnating.

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley

Wacky Zaccy!

Nearly 2,000 years ago, a short guy got up into a tree to see and hear Jesus teach and then did something remarkable after being called out. Here’s what Luke reports about that guy and time (Luke 19:1-8):

He [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.”

Luke tells us that Zacchaeus was a Chief Tax Collector. Is that important to the story? Yep! He was a Jewish man who collected taxes from his people for the Roman government. Think of it as the ancient IRS! So, you can imagine that Zacchaeus wasn’t very popular with the townspeople! Strike one! Here’s the rub: tax collectors could collect as much as they wanted as long as the Romans received a certain amount. Collectors were to keep a small portion for their trouble. Anyway, the problem was that many kept more than was reasonable. Strike two!

Why did Zaccy’s homies think he was a sinner? It’s because he likely stole from them by keeping more than he should’ve. He all but admits to the defrauding in the final verse above. But what appears to be a story about a short guy and a tree is a beautiful lesson in true repentance—a change of behavior that came about because of a new heart. Zacchaeus could’ve, like many of us, just said something like, “Well, I’m sorry!” But he didn’t stop there, volunteering to give back more than he stole.

As a result, Zaccy is likely someone who stands tall in God’s Kingdom. How can we do the same? To start, we must turn “I’m sorry” into something useful by changing our behavior and making things right, as Zacchaeus did. Then, we learn about God’s ways and do them consistently! What about next week? Well, I think we’ll test our priorities in What’s in Your Wallet?

God’s blessings and peace to you,

Dr. Ron Braley

Would Someone Please Turn on the Lights??

What we think and believe matters greatly, generally driving what we do, which also matters for good or bad, better or worse. Ideally, we would have a standard to determine whether our intents or actions are, or will be, good and wholesome—right with God. Otherwise, we could justify thinking, believing, or doing anything that seems reasonable to us like we often do today. Well, that standard has existed for thousands of years, and it illuminates a good path and drags the bad out of the dark.

God established His Law thousands of years ago to guide the Israelites in their relationships with Him and each other. We know the basic form as the “10 Commandments:” Five pertain to our relationship with God (e.g., don’t abuse God’s name (authority or character)) and the other five to our inter-personal relationships (don’t steal, for instance). The commandments and the rest of God’s Law contained in Deuteronomy and Leviticus became a light turned on to illuminate God’s standard, His ways. Jesus’ first visit to earth did the same.

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. —John 1:4-5.

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God. —John 3:19-21.

What deeds does the light of Christ reveal? Sexual immoralities and ungodly treatment of God and people (e.g., Leviticus 20:10-21; Romans 1.26-27; 1Corinthians 6:9-10 & 15-20; Galatians 5:19-21). Because Christians, by nature, move by God’s Spirit and carry His light, we must live by His standard and display His ways to others. This is how we evangelize the Kingdom of God, which has come to people who will devote fully to Him.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. —Matthew 5:14-16.

Like studying end-times stuff? Well, next week, we’ll poke the bear a bit in my article The Wrath of Con!

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley

The Holy Spirit Part I: a Life-saving Gift!

Last week, I mentioned that the Ruler of heaven gives His Spirit to anyone who is wholly devoted to Him and His Kingdom. We often allow humanmade doctrine and a lack of knowledge to complicate the simple, pollute the pure. The subject of the Holy Spirit is no exception. So, I thought I’d devote the next three weeks to providing clarity.

This week, we’ll learn about the Holy Spirit and why He is necessary for our transformation now and salvation to come. Next week, we’ll explore if and how the Spirit gifts and equips us for God’s good pleasure and our spiritual growth in this life. Finally, in the third week, we’ll uncover the fruit (manifestations) of the Spirit at work in Christ-followers as well as the consequence of being unfruitful.

First, the Holy Spirit is a gift from God to Christ-followers. By the way: I’ll write about the Bride of Christ soon to help you understand that gifting is part of a holy betrothal process!

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”Acts 2:38.

Second, the Spirit of God regenerates the one who receives the living water of heaven, Christ. No regeneration, no heaven or dwelling with God in the new age to come.

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. —John 3:5.

Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God1 Peter 1:23.

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy SpiritTitus 3:5.

Third, rejection of the Spirit of God = spiritual death.

Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sinMark 3:28-29.

Why is the rejection of God’s Spirit the only rebellion against Him that is unforgivable? Because God’s forgiveness requires repentance (change in behavior because of a changed heart), no repentance is possible while someone rejects God.

So far, we’ve learned that the Spirit of God is our connection to the Kingdom of Heaven. Regeneration by the Spirit after devoting to the Father in response to Christ the living water is the only way to enter. So, learn, decide, and devote. But what then? Next week, we’ll see how the Holy Spirit of God equips for spiritual growth, faithfulness, and service.

Blessings and peace,

Ron Braley

God – the Christ

No one’s perfect and everyone will sin – miss the ‘mark’. Because of this and God’s desire to dwell with us, Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. All we have to do is believe that, act appropriately out of our faith, and repent of sinful behavior for God to save you from His future wrath.

You’ll find several references in the Bible to Jesus: Messiah, the Christ, His Christ, our Christ, and Jesus. Why so many names and titles? It’s important first to understand that His name isn’t Jesus Christ.  It isn’t as though someone named Jesus was born to Mr. and Mrs. Christ.

The name of Jesus is just a loose translation of the Greek word Iēsous for Jehoshua, Jesus’ proper Hebrew name. The word Christ is a title, not a proper name, which comes from the Greek word Christos – anointed one, or Messiah.  So, Jesus Christ is a loose translation of Yehoshua the Messiah. Interestingly, the Bible also refers to Jesus as God’s Christ (His Christ):

And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” —Luke 23:35.

I think the reference to Jehoshua as God’s Christ is appropriately used to label the Son of God sent as the Christos – Messiah – to save mankind through His sacrifice and resurrection. God asked Him to do this; Jesus was obedient to live and die among men so God could raise Him on the third day to fulfill a promise and serve as a sign for all who would believe and follow.

So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”; just as He says also in another passage, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.” In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation —Hebrews 5:5-9.

Yehoshua’s reward for His obedience? A seat at the right hand of God the Father of Spirits, a right earned by redeeming and reconciling mankind to the one true God, which is certainly His one overarching will.

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. —Acts 5:30-31.

Son of God. Redeemer. Savior. These are all good ways to refer to the one who has offered everlasting life. Believe and follow!

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and rescue from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Purity & Holiness

God desires righteousness and blamelessness from us. Therefore, purity would describe the level of attainment of that state whatever the thing we want to be pure in. Think of it this way: in nature, something nearly pure (like fine gold or diamonds for instance) has little if anything else mixed with it. The purer, the more desirable the object is.

We, in covenant with our God through the Christ, must be set apart from worldly behavior (be holy, by definition). It’s not a mere suggestion, but a mandate. Those who practice immorality and sinful behavior will perish; the righteous who pursue purity and holiness through discipleship and application will live and enjoy their reward.

Be an example through purity, which may come at least in part through understanding of the Word of God.

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. —1Timothy 4:12-13.

As followers of Jesus, we should be ‘dead’ to immorality and impurity.

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. —Colossians 5:3-8 (see also Ephesians 5:19-5).

Be pure, and therefore set apart from wicked behavior.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. —2Corinthians 7:1.

So, just how do we learn and apply God’s ways in the pursuit of holiness?

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. —Philippians 4:8.

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. —2Peter 1:5-7.

Speaking of self-control in application of what we learn: Just as our belief in Jesus must result in obedience to be effective, our desire for purity must be put into action through self-control of the body and its desires. When we didn’t know better, it was easy to become slaves to lusts of our body. Paul had a lot to say about this in Romans Chapter 6 (definitely worth a read!). Other excellent Scriptures that highlight the importance of self-control in the pursuit of holiness include the following.

  • Exercise self-control to avoid being disqualified from the race and prize Paul equates to righteousness and eternal life. 1Corinthians 9:25-27.
  • Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22-23).
  • We should always ask whether what we’ll use our body for will be pleasing to God. 1Corinthians 6:18-20.
  • We must no longer be enslaved by our body and its lusts but the other way around. Romans 6:6 & 12-13.

Purity and holiness are possible when we learn God’s ways and apply them consistently. Like the body builder in pursuit of an exceptional physique, application can be difficult and painful at first; however, the rewards far outweigh the pain of achieving them.

What’s your pursuit?

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Freedom Fighters

We celebrated this Independence Day by rejoicing in our freedom and remembering the sacrifice of so many! As Jesus said, there’s no greater love than giving our lives if necessary for one another (John 15:12-13). This is exactly what Jesus did to free us from the bonds of sin – rebellion against God and the resulting judgment – through choice (Romans 5:6-9).

What does freedom mean in the context of our Christ and His death for us? The Hebrew text (Isaiah 61:1) quoted by Jesus (Luke 16:4-21) gives a glimpse: “To proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners . . .”

The Hebrew word for freedom in this case means ‘opening’ and ‘jail delivery’ (figuratively salvation from sin according to Strong’s Concordance). We are set free from slavery (Galatians 5:1) to sin (John 8:32-36 and 1Peter 2:16).

You’ll encounter the word ‘law’ in related study. What law . . . or laws? Here are at the two you’ll be faced with:

  1. The ‘Law of Moses’ necessary to teach the people of Israel how to honor God and treat their fellow man. We learn that one of two of Jesus’ commandments sums up this ‘law’: Galatians 5:13-14. That ‘law’ also served to show that it’s impossible to meet every single piece and work your way into salvation (Romans 3:19-25 and 5:19-21). This idea of the Law and its conviction of sin and inability to save from God’s wrath are confirmed by Paul (Romans 8:1-4).
  1. So, if the Law of Moses can’t set us free by obedience to it, what will? Obedience to the perfect law written on our hearts by the Spirit of God, given to all who believe and follow Jesus. (James 1:21-25).

True freedom summed up: it’s the freedom to choose the alternative to sin and its death sentence. That alternative is eternal life and righteousness that comes from doing what we ought, not what we want, through guidance of the Spirit. It’s this freedom that enables us to deal effectively with temptation as a result.

Remember those who gave their lives for your freedom: your fellow human and your Christ. Honor; believe; follow.

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

The Lamb & the Lion

Our Jesus – the Christ – is certainly the lamb of God’ that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Unfortunately, we often miss the real point in our experiential Christian culture, feeling good while we imagine our Jesus as a cute and cuddly lamb . . . I think you’ll find that a better visual would be that of a ‘mamma bear’ who is kind, just, and protective with her own but ruthless against opposition.

The truth is that the dress rehearsal of Passover and its sacrificial lamb, and prophetic utterance by the likes of Isaiah, were fulfilled by our Christ’s obedience to God to become the once-for-all sacrifice for sin. Jesus ‘bought’ us with His sacrifice; we must now choose whether to believe and obey – follow – or to ignore this new covenant with God through the Christ.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. —Isaiah 53:7 & Acts 8:32.

Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. —1Corinthians 5:7-8.

When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb . . . “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” —Revelation 5:8-9.

Also true is that those who wish to follow the lamb must consider the cost as Jesus said, for they may very well go to their own destruction or be afflicted in their bodies (just look at all the apostles, except John, who were martyred for their faith!).

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. —Revelation 12:11.

What about the ‘Lion’? Well, Jesus our redeemer is also referred to as the ‘Lion from the tribe of Judah’ in God’s revelation given to John by Jesus.

Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” —Revelation 5:4-5.

So far, we understand that the picturesquely mild and meek ‘lamb’ is that way in symbol only. The example was used to show how Jesus was voluntarily slaughtered as a lamb to assist God the Father in the accomplishment of His desire to reconcile with His creation.

Our creator is a just God who will keep His promise to reward the faithful and destroy the wicked. Jesus, because of His obedience, earned the right to save and judge as a faithful arm of God’s wrath.

and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb —Revelation 6:16.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. . . .  From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” —Revelation 19:11-16.

So, the lamb and the lion are one and the same: savior and judge. Rescuer and executioner. Which will you experience?

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2016 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

The “A-B-C’s” of Judging Others and Discipleship (Originally “Judge Dread”)

The idea of judging really trips people up. Many know their own faults or past sins and feel they have no right to judge others about anything as a result. On the other hand, some people behave as though it’s their duty to inform everyone around them of every act they feel is contrary to God’s ways. The truth regarding judging others resides somewhere in the middle.

Are we to judge at all? Definitely! How else will we disciple others or ‘sharpen’ (which is more of a complete reshaping, by the way!). But, let’s take a look at what the word judge means before we go any further.

It comes from the Greek word kree’-no, which means to ‘call into question’. Of course, we can’t call anything into question if we don’t know what should be questionable or why. Who should judge whom? According to Jesus, God will judge the world – those who aren’t Jesus’ followers – and Jesus will judge followers at His return and the end of this current age. Meanwhile, we’re to hold one another accountable for growth and moral positioning.

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst . . . Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. . . . Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. 1Corinthians 5:1-13.

So, how are we to judge other followers of Jesus? We are to be careful and gentle, basing the ‘questioning’ on adherence to the Christ’s commandments and not on emotion. The goal must always be to help those followers who are ‘sinning’ to turn back to the truth and be reconciled with the church (e.g. James 15:19-20).  The text below not only confirms that but also reminds us that we’re not to tolerate the unrepentant practice of sinful behavior within the Church.

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” —Matthew 18:15-17.

Want to ‘love’ your brother or sister in the Christ? Then judge them according to God and our Christ’s commandments with a sense of urgency before it’s too late for those who are practicing sinful behavior that will earn them a one-way ticket to God’s judgment!

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!