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How Would You Judge You?

 

Proverbs 20:8, shows fast judgment of evil is good, “A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.”  And slow judgment brings evil, Ecclesiastes 8:11, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” 

 

A time of judgment is coming for all

 

Revelation 11:15-18, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.  And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.  And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged [i.e. the saved dead, saints], and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”  And then,  Revelation 19:1-2, 11-21, “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:  for true and righteous are his judgments:  for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand…And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood:  and his name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations:  and he shall rule them with a rod of iron:  and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.  And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.  And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.  And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image.  These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.  And the remnant where slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth:  and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”  And then look at Isaiah 9:6-7, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:  and the government shall be upon his shoulder:  and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”  The major fulfillment of what the Holy Days prophetically picture is judgment.  The Jews look at themselves in self-judgment during the ten days between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, they focus on self-judgment.  That is appropriate, because prophetically speaking the Jews will come to recognize their Messiah, Yeshua haMeshiach when the Day of Atonement is prophetically fulfilled right after the 2nd coming of Christ, pictured by the Feast of Trumpets.  For us, we tend to go into this period of self-judgment coming up to the Passover season.  Christ became our Passover on Passover day, 30/31AD, Christ will become the Jew’s Passover and the Passover for the world after his 2nd coming, at the point in time pictured by the Day of Atonement.  The New Testament parables have the same type of theme, we have the wheat being separated from the tares at the end of the Church Age, the sheep from the goats, the wise and foolish virgins, we have the unfaithful servant, we have those who have the Wedding garment on and those who don’t have one on.

 

There Are Four Periods Of Judgment For Different Sectors Of Mankind

 

Final Judgment For The Saints

 

Revelation 11:15-18, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.  And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.  And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged [i.e. the righteous dead], and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” and Revelation 20:4, 6, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:  and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  This is the first resurrection…Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:  on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Final judgment and reward of the saints, all those called, faithful and chosen spanning the time between righteous Abel and the two witnesses who die at the end of the tribulation.

 

Judgment Of Mankind During The Millennium

 

Revelation 20:4,6-10, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:  and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years…Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:  on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.  And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, God and Magog, to gather them together to battle:  the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.  And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city:  and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  That’s the 1,000 year period of the Millennium, including the judgment of Satan, so essentially, there’s two judgments taking place here.  [see also Ezekiel 37:15-28; Isaiah 11:1-16]

 

Great White Throne Judgment For All The “Unsaved Dead”

 

Revelation 20:5, 11-13, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished…And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened:  and another book was opened, which is the book of life:  and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [Hades, the grave] delivered up the dead which were in them:  and they were judged every man according to their works.” This is the Great White Throne Judgment, the period of the second resurrection, which we know is a resurrection back to physical life for the “unsaved dead,” who then receive their opportunity for salvation. [see, read also Ezekiel 37:1-14, Acts 2:1-4.]  And at the end of this period of time, the final judgment of unrepentant mankind takes place, Revelation 20:14-15, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

 

Our Judgment, the Judgment of the Saints, has begun now during the Church Age---During Our Lifetimes

 

Let’s say we could help determine the judgment process that would be used on ourselves.  What would that process look like, what would be the standards?  What part of us would be examined?  What if we could help determine that process used on ourselves?  How would you outline this process?  1st Peter 4:17-19, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:  and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”  How would you outline this process, what standards would you use on judging yourself?  Matthew 7:1-5, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:  and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”  Clearly, Jesus is advising us to be judges of ourselves and not others, to practice self-examination, self-judgment.  Matthew 23:23, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith:  these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”  We need all three, judgment, mercy and faith.  Jesus admonished the Pharisees to practice judgment, mercy and faith.  And by this he meant self-judgment, in context with Matthew 7:1-5.  If our personal system of self-judgment gets out of kilter from God’s standards, if we fail, and don’t judge ourselves properly, then God will be forced to do it for us, so that we won’t be condemned with the world.  1st Corinthians 11:31-32, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”

 

Three Pitfalls The Apostles Saw And Wrote On, Addressed In Their Epistles

 

I.  Spiritual Compromise and Complacency:  Romans 6:1-6, “What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid.  How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:  that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”  They misunderstood what God’s grace was all about, grace is not a license to sin.  God’s mercy and grace do not replace God’s holy standards.  Grace is not a license to become complacent in our diligence in following God, grace is not replacing God’s standard, it is not replacing judgment.  He tells us to put the “old man” to death, not just put him on a shelf somewhere.  We must have a standard that cannot be compromised against, a standard by which we evaluate ourselves.  Of course we evaluate ourselves against the mind of God, which is expressed by the Law of God.  When you read through the Epistles you see the apostles had a number of issues with the congregations: issues of fornication, issues of adultery, issues of participation in idolatrous practices, there was spiritual immaturity, favouritism, minister-shopping, gossip, alcohol abuse, the list goes on.  As you read these epistles you get the sense the apostles were not addressing one-time events, but ongoing patterns of behavior (not one-time slip-ups.)   Romans 6:10-16, “For in that he died, he died unto sin once:  but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin:  but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you:  for ye are not under the law, but under grace.  What then?  shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?  God forbid.  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.”  Proper Biblical judgment wasn’t being applied, Romans 13:12-14, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand:  let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.  He’s addressing how we regularly walk.  Ask yourself, “Is what I have on the inside not readily apparent on the outside?” It’s the Christian’s job to know himself, what’s on the inside. Where are we unequally yoked with an “unbelief,” where what we appear to be does not square with what we are on the inside?  Hebrews 3:7-13, “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:  when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.  Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.  So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”  What do our hearts look like on the inside?

 

II.  Comparing Ourselves Amongst Ourselves:  There’s always going to be somebody worse than we are, and somebody better than we are.  When we compare ourselves with others, we’re only hurting ourselves.  James 4:11-12, “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law:  but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.  There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy:  who art thou that judgest another?”  Luke 6:36-37, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.  Judge not, and ye shall not be judged:  condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned:  forgive, and ye shall be forgiven…”  Luke 18:10-14, “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican [tax collector].  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.  I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other:  for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”  The Pharisee was judging others, but not himself.  The tax collector was judging himself.  It’s our time to judge ourselves, but not to be judging each other. 1st Corinthians 4:1-5, “Let a man so account us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.  But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment:  yea, I judge not mine own self.  For I know nothing by myself; yet am I hereby justified:  but he that judgeth me is the Lord.  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts:  and then shall every man have praise of God.”  Judging others doesn’t work, it’s God’s job, not ours.  These people were busy judging Paul, but not themselves, whereas Paul was committing himself to God’s judgment, sort of saying, ‘Instead of you judging me, let God be the judge.’ This does not mean Paul wasn’t judging himself.  Romans 7 is an entire chapter on Paul’s self-judgment, where he shares with us his inner spiritual struggles.  This man certainly was judging himself.  Romans 2:1-5, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest:  for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.  But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.  And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God…”  and you could keep right on reading up to verse 13 on this one.  One point, this does not mean looking to help a brother who is struggling with a sin is wrong, gently and lovingly, in humility.  But the attitude must be one of helping and saving, not condemning.  But comparing oneself with others to determine how you stand with God, and to determine what you need to work on is spiritually dangerous.  Judge yourself by God’s mirror, the Word of God, looking into it. 

 

III.  3rd Pitfall The Apostles Were Addressing, MAJORING IN THE MINORS:  Paul said to the Galatians, “Having started in the Spirit are you made perfect in the flesh?”  Galatians 2:20-21, “     I am crucified with Christ:  nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  I do not frustrate the grace of God:  for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”  Now here’s a tough one, that gets misinterpreted all the time.  What “law” was Paul talking about here?  Was it the moral law of God, the Ten Commandments?  Let’s see.  The Galatians were being tempted by these quasi-Christian Pharisees to keep the physical law, the various washings and physical rituals, epitomized by circumcision and the decision about circumcision in Acts 15.  Now the Pharisees, just to describe what a Pharisee was, had set up a whole system of do’s and don’t’s to establish righteous behavior [in their eyes].  Those do’s and don’t’s, washings, and laws such as in order to keep the Sabbath properly you had all these do’s and don’t’s, can’t do this, can’t do that, you can’t walk more than this on the Sabbath, all those things were used by the Pharisees to help set up a standard of what righteous deeds were, right down to the minutest detail, which is why this section is called “Majoring In The Minors.”  There are two problems with this Pharisaic method of law-keeping.  First, you miss the point of God’s Word, which was to change the heart of a human, not to create a robot to do everything precisely every time.  If God wanted robots he would have created robots.  It’s not the purpose of God’s Law to micromanage everything we do in terms of deeds.  It is to change the heart of a human.  The second problem with what the Pharisees set up is that it often negated or went against what God had said with a given law.  A well-known example of that was with the Sabbath.  Christ said that with all your additions to the Sabbath, you’ve made it a burden.  It’s not a joy like I intended it to be.  Christ said what they did to the Sabbath had totally reversed the intention of why God made the Sabbath in the first place.  He said Christ made the Sabbath for man’s benefit, not for man to be a slave, those are my words, not Christ’s [Matt Fenchel speaking], but not for man to be a slave to the Sabbath, following the various minute details they had set up for it’s proper keeping.  There’s a big problem with this approach.  It’s called “Legalism.”  Paul had to address that with the Galatians through much of his letter to them.  What Paul was condemning was the Pharisaic legalistic manner in which the Pharisees and scribes, doctors of the law, the way they said the law of God ought to be obeyed.  Don’t think for a minute Paul was doing away with the moral code of God’s laws.  He wasn’t, and many misinterpret these verses that way.  The problem started when some of the Pharisees who’d come to recognize Yeshua as the Messiah physically, but obviously not spiritually, were coming into Galatia and following Paul everywhere he went, trying to discredit his ministry, saying the Gentiles had to follow all the do’s and don’t outlined in the Oral Law, which became the Talmud and the Mishna, the Pharisaic way of obedience.  These guys were also saying the ceremonial parts of God’s law which Jesus’ sacrifice nullified, because they pictured the sacrifice of Christ, still had to be kept by Christians, such as circumcision, and the ceremonial washings, and if you were in Jerusalem, the sacrifices of course.  Christ taught, and so did the apostles, Paul, Peter and John that you weren’t to be a slave to the Sabbath, with all the Judaistic rules attached to it, you can only walk so far, etc., just a bunch of do’s and don’t’s which made the Sabbath a burden and not a joy.  Actually the Sabbath is listed as a Feast day at the beginning of Leviticus 23, God’s Feast Day chapter, listing all God’s Feast days, days of rejoicing, not a day of strict regulations [ever see how the Orthodox Jews keep the Sabbath?---we haven’t been much better in the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God, I dare say].  Galatians 3:1-3, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?  This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  Are ye so foolish?  having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”  Paul is talking about the legalistic, Pharisaic method of obedience here, the whole system of Talmudic do’s and don’t’s.  God wants a change of heart, not the legalistic approach.  He’s saying, ‘Is that how it’s going to go?  You began by a spiritual calling, a receiving of the Holy Spirit to change your heart, and now you’re going back to trying to be perfected by following a list of do’s and don’t’s, and washings and things like that?’  Is your obedience based on a check list of do’s and don’t’s or going forward in faith? Matthew 15:1-9, “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?  for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.  But he answered them, Why do ye also transgress the commandments of God by your tradition?  For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother:  and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.  But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; and honour not his father or mother, he shall be free.  Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.  Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”  What we just read is a major example Jesus gave us about how these ‘commandments of men’ were actually abrogating one of the Ten Commandments, the 5th Commandment.  Romans 14:1-4, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.  For one believeth that he may eat all things:  another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth:  for God hath received him.  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?  to his own master he standeth or falleth.  Yea, he shall be holden up:  for God is able to make him stand.”  We must be careful about setting up physical deeds as righteous standards.  Romans 14:10,13,17, “But why dost thou judge thy brother?  or why dost thou set at nought thy brother?  for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ…Let us not therefore judge one another any more:  but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way…For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”  You know, throughout the New Testament and even in the modern history of the Church(es) of God, there have been things that have come up “as standards of righteousness.”  We read about circumcision, that was an issue with the Jewish-Christians in Judea in Paul’s day, they believed that you were more righteous for having been physically circumcised.  In our recent history (Churches of God) we’ve had issues with the calendar, eating out on the Sabbath [I even remember the use of crockpots became an issue on the Sabbath, oh my J], certain types of clothes that should or shouldn’t be worn, we’ve had issues about music [ie what type we should listen to on the Sabbath, and anytime too, as well as issues about watching a movie at home on the Sabbath], what type of work we should or shouldn’t do, what food to eat [he’s not talking about the dietary laws of Leviticus 11, that’s part of God’s law]…any of those things and a bunch of others, have been set up as standards of righteousness.  The problem is, you don’t find any of them listed in the Bible, you just don’t find those in the Bible.  That’s not what it’s about.  Be careful you’re not tempted to go down that road. Romans 2:25-29, “For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law:  but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?  And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:  but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”  To those quasi-believer Pharisees that were troubling the Galatians, circumcision represented the whole kit-and-caboodle of Mishna-based Pharisaic laws, it was representative of that.  Paul was doctrinally fighting these guys all the way to Rome, not just in Galatia alone. Bottom line, the Church was being either too lax with God’s Laws or too legalistic with them.  The Epistles were addressing those two major issues. What this means is we should not add to or take away from what God has given us in his Word, taking away from God’s law by complacency, and adding to God’s law by a legalistic approach.

 

Judgment, Mercy and Faith

 

Let’s finish up on judgment, mercy and faith.  In Romans 7 Paul laments he cannot always fulfill what his heart wants to do in the Spirit, and he’s groaning within himself that he has these struggles that go on [which to me is showing a tremendous amount of personal honesty, for Paul to be showing his inner struggles like this, which we all have, if we are genuinely trying to overcome sin].  At the end of Romans 7 Paul asks ‘Whose going to deliver me?’ and he says ‘I thank God that God does deliver me.’  Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” There is no condemnation if we are going down that path, if we’re going down the path of self-judgment, mercy and faith.  Verse 5, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”  This is what our overall walk should be, what our mind is set on.  Verses 6-7, 11, 14, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be…But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you…For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

 

What Are We To Use To Help Us Judge Ourselves?

 

2nd Corinthians 5:10, “ For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”  We as believers, ultimately will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, what is called the Bemis Seat Judgment.  So how does judgment, mercy and faith work?  God has committed all judgment to Jesus Christ. We’re judged by the Word of God. We see that in Revelation 20:12, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life:  and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”  Those books are probably the books of the Bible, no more, no less [all 66 of them].  Hebrews 4:12-13, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight:  but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him whom we have to do.”  The Word of God is there to show what’s in our hearts, what is really going on in there. [i.e. James says the law of God, the Word of God is a spiritual mirror that shows us ourselves, read James 1:22-25]  What judgment is really about, we have to be honest with ourselves about what we see in God’s Word.  1st Timothy 1:5, “Now the end of the commandment is charity [God’s agape-love] out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned…” The end result of this self-judgment is a pure heart not a robot. 

 

What Do We Do When We See Sin In God’s Mirror?

 

Now when we find sin, what do we do?  Then we have the opportunity for mercy.  We go to Jesus Christ and work it out, Hebrews 4:14-16, “Seeing then that we have a high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  We can come boldly because we have practiced judgment, godly self-judgment, based on God’s Word, our spiritual mirror.  [I would also say we are to come boldly to the throne of grace to work out our salvation with fear and trembling with Jesus, in our own Romans 7 struggles against sin.]  After mercy, then the end of this growth process, 1st John 4:13-17, “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.  God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:  because as he is, so are we in this world.”  And judgment has begun at the house of God (1st Peter 4:17). 

 

Closing Scripture

 

Isaiah 42:1-4, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him:  he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.  He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.  A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench:  he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.  He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth:  and the isles shall wait for his law.”

 

[taken from the notes I took on a sermon given by Matt Fenchel, played as a DVD in Sabbath services, 21 December 2013]

 

related links:

 

For the full audio version of this sermon, click on

http://members.ucg.org/sermon/how-would-you-judge-you/

 

Galatians 2:20-21 is often misinterpreted.  If we are not “under God’s Law,” where then are we in respect to it?  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/galatians/Galatians5-1-26.htm

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