Thursday, April 24, 2008

Q & A

Yesterday's post, The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day, drew several comments, including this:

"Are we at liberty to judge ourselves?"

A good question, one which I will defer to the apostle Paul, who wrote:

"So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God." (1 Cor 4:1-5, italics mine.)

All judgment has been entrusted to the Son--John 5:22--yet the Son judges only as He hears--John 5:30. While eternal judging belongs with God and not with man, there is another way or need of judging that Jesus spoke of that relies upon God for daily decisions and estimations. As I wrote in the post below, that judgment is the judgment that discerns or weighs a thing. I believe that by knowing the scriptures and by waiting upon the Holy Spirit, we can (in fact, we must) judge things as right and wrong with God.

Clearly, engaging in prostitution or drunkenness or sexual sin or covetousness and the like is wrong because God says it is. So, when someone asks me my opinion on those things, I choose His opinion and make a judgment--"It's wrong." If that someone says, "But, you're not supposed to judge me, man!" then I might say, "Since you identify yourself as a Christian--you're inside the church--I am supposed to judge what you're doing."

Another way of judging, a way that Jesus showed us, is the way led by the Spirit. For example, a friend recommended an R rated movie, Hot Fuzz. Before renting it, I sowed to the Spirit ("Holy Spirit, what's your opinion, what's your judgment about my seeing this?"), and was confident that I could go ahead and rent it. So I did. I made a judgment. Years ago, on the other hand, I sensed the leading or judgment of the Spirit when I wanted to go to a James Bond movie; "Don't do it. In fact, don't do it anymore." I discovered there was a type of film that glorified a lifestyle I, at one time, wanted--a carousing, womanizing, swash-buckling, devil-may-care lifestyle. It harmed me to watch those types of films, so, I made a judgment out of His judgment to no longer watch those films.

I have entrusted my judgment to God. He has already judged me for eternity upon the cross and through the resurrection with Jesus. Romans 6 and Galatians 2 say that my former self was crucified with Him, and that a new self, a new me was raised with Him, a holy and blameless son.

He already has judged me for eternity. As Ryan Seacrest says on American Idol, "Ralph, you are safe." If I need to know what He thinks of something I'm considering or thinking about, I rely upon His judgment and ask Him for His leading.

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