Friday, April 9, 2010

Judging Hot Potatoes

Both our little boys are on solid food now. When feeding small children you must be very careful. First you have to make sure that the food is cut up into small pieces so that they do not choke. Then you have to make sure that it is not too hot. I made a mistake with hot food a while back. I felt the potatoes and thought they had cooled enough but when A.J. grabbed them with his tender hands, he pulled back and began to cry. They were still too hot. My judgment was wrong.
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As serious as a bad judgment on hot potatoes is, bad judgments on spiritual matters are even more serious, for they can have an eternal impact. In fact, because my own judgment is so prone to error- as all our judgments are- I try to avoid making spiritual judgments. That may sound strange coming from a pastor, but let me explain. Rather than making judgments from my own intellect, emotion, or life experience, I instead recognize my inability to judge perfectly and step back and let God judge. In doing that, I allow Him to be the ultimate authority and that means that I agree with what He has written in His Word.
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In other words, I don’t make up the rules and decide what is right or wrong, God does. That means that I cannot ignore the parts of Scripture that I don’t want to see even if it would seem more convenient or popular to do so. The Apostle Paul was clear in rebuking man for making up his own rules while ignoring God‘s. “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3)
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Now even if we agree that God makes the rules, not us, the question arises, “what parts of Scripture are the Words of God?” Is it just the red letters of words spoken by Christ? Should we consider the Old Testament, realizing that many of the ordinances written in that part of the Bible were given specifically to the Hebrew people and were done away with on the cross (Colossians 2:14)?
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The answers are actually quite simple. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Now that verse was written by the Apostle Paul, yet the Apostle Peter testifies in II Peter 3:15-16 that what Paul wrote was Scripture. You see, the words for the text were not just the words of man, but were inspired by God and carried the authority of God behind them and still do today.
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The Old Testament as well still has authority. Though the Hebrew ordinances have been done away with, much of what was written relayed God’s expectations for all mankind. For example Leviticus 18 is addressed to the Hebrews and it warns them against doing the sort of sexual sins that caused the land to be defiled by the Canaanites. God makes it clear in vs. 27 that this behavior was abomination for all people. In other words, it was a universal decree of right and wrong coming from God.
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Judgment belongs to God and if we are to know what God has judged, we must look to all of His Word.

1 comment:

Cinj said...

So true Jerry. So many people like to ignore parts of the bible as being old or irrelevant or sexist, but they fail to take the context into mind. Of course it is harder for people like me to know the context of some of the texts, but I too believe that the bible is God's inspired word and that we can't just pick what we want like we would when plucking grapes from a grapevine.

On a completely unrelated note... I don't know how to follow a blog without a "follow" widget on the sidebar so I was wondering if you could add one?