Wednesday, October 6, 2010
“How can a person who believes that way be a Christian?” Oh to have a dime for every time I have heard that one. Many times it will be said by a person who has experienced a change from one doctrinal viewpoint to another. In this case it came from a gentleman who used to believe in Decision Theology. This is actively taught by many in the Christian church that a person becomes saved by deciding to follow Jesus and to believe in him for salvation. Although this can sound good to the ego that we play a part in salvation it is false in the fact one can find it nowhere in scripture. It is therefore a false teaching to believe that we are active in salvation for it would be in reward for a correct decision and a work. However, is this false teaching and the misunderstanding mean that the believer in the perfect life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for salvation is eternally damned? Do we have the ability or even the Lord’s permission to make that judgment?
Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. ESV
The above teaching of Jesus is most unpopular with those who think they have a special calling to judge the salvation of others. When presenting this to the self appointed judge he or she will claim it is taken out of context. When asked to put that back into the sermon and point out the additional verses needed to make it say we are to judge it cannot be done. The person who has read more of the scripture and more often will say something about we are commanded to use righteous judgment. The following is the only passage found where we have men commanded to use righteous judgment. The other sections have to do with God doing the righteous judgment.
Deuteronomy 16:18 You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. ESV
Having served on a jury I have also received a command from a judge to judge according to the law. As a Christian we too are to use judgment using the law of God. We find a brother caught up in an offence it is very appropriate to use the law of God to point out the sin in order for the Holy Spirit to convict and we can give the blessed Gospel to him for his salvation. That is in order for him to be restored to faith not to lord it over for us to feel more holy than him. We are to never use this as an occasion to pass final judgment upon the individual as if we know what the eternal destination for him will be. That is Jesus’ job and we are to leave the Lord Jesusing to the Lord Jesus.
John 5:22 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. ESV
Using personal opinions to judge another person has horrible consequences. It will take away any peace that said person has in the Lord. They are confessing with their mouth the Lord Jesus and believing in the heart that God has raised him from the dead. Instead of taking the conclusion the Apostle give in Romans 10 that one is being saved the opposite happens. Doubt is cast upon the confession spoken rather than giving the peace that it offers. We can never tell what the person truly trusts in the heart. God alone places it there sees that and judges it. Let us busy ourselves rather to build each other up in the true faith by patiently referring to the word of God and not do the work of the devil, the world and the lust of our flesh.
Because all judgment was given to Jesus what the person is ultimately doing is breaking the first commandment against having other gods in the face of God. This is also taking the name of Jesus in vain for he or she is misusing the teachings of our Lord that are meant to comfort and using it rather to terrify. This is much more serious for Jesus said that if one should offend one of the little ones who believe in him it would be better than a millstone be hung around their neck and cast into the deep. This is not a prescription for punishment but a threat of eternal damnation if it is done impenitently. Nor can one stop doing it on his or her own. It is another sin which needs to have its back broken by confessing it and receiving the forgiveness that was purchased on Calvary.
Lord Jesus, grant us true repentance for the grievous sin of idolatry by judging falsely. Amen †