Should Christians judge others?

Should Christians judge others?

Of course Christians should judge others, but there is a big difference in assessing another’s character or behavior and being judgmental about them. The scripture that people often cite is from Matthew chapter 7:

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Matthew 7:1 (KJV)

This verse is used by Christians and non-Christians alike to shut off conversation particulary when one who is sinning is confronted by another who points out their sin. Think about a husband who abuses his wife being “found out” and told he must stop the abuse. His response might be “don’t judge me, you’re not exactly perfect.”

Or think about a woman discussing her abortion with a coworker and being told that what she had done was akin to murder. The response is apt to be. “Don’t judge me. You don’t know what’s going on in my life.”

Everyday we encounter people who we believe are engaging in activities that run counter to what God expects of us. We have friends and family members who not only do bad things, but actively thumb their noses at God. Some go as far as rejecting the way God made them and seek to change their gender or participate in sexual practices that are an abomination to God. Turning a blind eye to deviant behavior is just as wrong as confronting it in a judgmental fashion.

Jesus didn’t stop in verse one, he was very specific in his explanation of his admonition to “judge not.”

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)

Jesus wanted to be sure that before you voice your criticism of others, you should be very sure that you are not sinning in the same way. He wants to restore relationships with both parties and that begins with your repentance of sin before going to someone else and pointing out their sinful ways.

Jesus even laid out a very specific procedure for judging others within the church.

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Matthew 18:15-20

What to do with those outside the church? The focus should be on helping others find Jesus, not just on trying to change their behavior. The best possible way to get a non-believer to give up lifestyles or activities that God hates is to allow the Holy Spirit to change that individual from within. That will only happen once the non-believer recognizes that he or she is a sinner, repents and accepts what Jesus did on the cross to pay for his or her sins.

When you judge others and see something that is out of step with God’s will, get yourself straight and then let God guide you as you share the Gospel message with others.

What is Heaven?

What is Heaven?

Heaven is a place where time will not exist as we know it on Earth. This means life in heaven will be eternal; no more death. Heaven is a destination Jesus promised for all who put their trust and faith in him as their Savior. He is the only way to that eternal place of peace, joy, abundant love and eternal life. In John 14:3, Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, so that where I am you may be also.” That is one of the greatest promises ever made to mankind. It’s called God’s grace. God giving us something we did not deserve and never could earn by our own good works.

While heaven is a place where those who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus will spend eternity, eternal life is much more than heaven. Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life; that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” ( John 17:3)  What this simply means is that when you have an intimate personal life with Jesus as your Lord and Savior you have eternal life here and now. Then you will experience an abundant and exciting adventure with the one through whom God created the entire universe.

As you let Jesus transform your life into his image you will see and experience life as you never could have imagined. Then you have eternal life and your spirit/soul will never die. It will go to heaven where one day you will get a glorious new eternal body. That is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you would like to be assured of participating in this eternal life, check out our post, How does one become a Christian? 

 

What does “Pure in Heart” mean?

What does “Pure in Heart” mean?

When Jesus was teaching his disciples, in what is known as The Sermon on the Mount, he said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8) At the time he was contrasting those who were authentically righteous with those who were faking it.

The religious leaders of the day looked as if they were the epitome of righteousness. They wore the right clothes, said the right things and performed the right rituals. But Jesus could see beneath their outward appearance. He saw their hearts and observed that these religious men lacked purity of heart. That’s why Jesus so often challenged these leaders and exposed their true motivations.

Jesus wanted people to know that true purity is attained when someone earnestly seeks God; when he “hungers and thirsts for righteousness.” That’s when God grants that purity. It will come partly in this life and fully when Jesus returns. The more someone recognizes that he or she is unworthy to come to God, the more receptive he or she becomes to God’s purifying work.

The promise that Jesus makes to his disciples is forward looking to the time when they will literally behold God in all his glory. This passage is not a figurative reference to special insight into the nature of God, but rather a clear teaching that one day Jesus’s true followers will experience something that no one on earth has ever done: look into the face of God and live.

I f you desire a pure heart and a closer walk with God, please check out our post, How does one become a Christian? 

What is Amazing Grace

What is Amazing Grace

Both the words and the tune is familiar.

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch; like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

The Lord hath promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

But Amazing Grace is more than the song. It is the description of God’s greatest gift to mankind–a free gift that provides a pathway to a forever relationship with the God who created everything, including every individual who has ever walked on this earth.

It is God reaching out to us. Yes, reaching out while we were separated from him because of our sin. God sent his one and only son, Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of death that we deserved.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection is God’s gift to all who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. God’s grace is his unmerited favor bestowed upon repentant sinners. People can do nothing to earn it nor do they deserve it. It is an expression of God’s love for the world he created.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

This is the Amazing Grace that the song is all about. People are saved from an eternity separated from God and all that is good. Those who accept that sacrifice that Jesus made on their behalf are no longer blinded by their own sin and begin to see what true love, happiness and contentment look like.

Sadly, not all will experience God’s Amazing Grace, but if you want to know how you can, please visit our post, How does one become a Christian?

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Both the words and the tune is familiar.

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch; like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

The Lord hath promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

But Amazing Grace is more than the song. It is the description of God’s greatest gift to mankind–a free gift that provides a pathway to a forever relationship with the God who created everything, including every individual who has ever walked on this earth.

It is God reaching out to us. Yes, reaching out while we were separated from him because of our sin. God sent his one and only son, Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of death that we deserved.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection is God’s gift to all who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. God’s grace is his unmerited favor bestowed upon repentant sinners. People can do nothing to earn it nor do they deserve it. It is an expression of God’s love for the world he created.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

This is the Amazing Grace that the song is all about. People are saved from an eternity separated from God and all that is good. Those who accept that sacrifice that Jesus made on their behalf are no longer blinded by their own sin and begin to see what true love, happiness and contentment look like.

Sadly, not all will experience God’s Amazing Grace, but if you want to know how you can, please visit our post, How does one become a Christian?

Why do the meek inherit the earth?

Why do the meek inherit the earth?

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:5

When Jesus spoke of the meek inheriting the earth he was not talking about people who are weak, lacking in courage, or who cower before others. Meek, sometimes translated as “gentle,” is used in the Bible to denote power under control. It is the power that allowed Moses to repeatedly challenge the ruler of a land in which Moses’ people (the Israelites) were enslaved.

Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.

Numbers 12:3 ESV

Jesus, described himself as meek and lowly in heart, (Matthew 11:29) and no one would ever mistake Jesus as a powerless weakling who would cower before others. He was the exact opposite. His meekness was reflected in his ability to keep his power under control all the way to the cross so that he could fulfill his mission of dying so that his blood would cover the sins of men.

So what exactly was Jesus saying when he talked about the meek inheriting the earth? He seemed to be echoing (Pslam 37:11) where the writer talks about the meek inheriting land and enjoying peace and prosperity. But the peace and prosperity that Jesus was referring to was permanent and would come after he returned a second time. He was also referring to the prophecy in Isaiah 61 that talked about a coming messiah who brings good news to the poor and brokenhearted, who heals the sick and restores the land.

In other words, Jesus is promising much more than the physical inheriting of Palestine, the promised land into which Moses led his people. Jesus is referring to the recreated earth over which Jesus will reign eternally–to a kingdom now in the hearts of men and a greater, physical kingdom to come after Jesus returns to earth and creates a paradise free from evil, pain, sorrow, and death (Matthew 19:28).

If you would like to personally know Jesus, the meek Son of God who calls his followers to his kind of power under control, we encourage you to read our post How does one become a Christian? 

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

After hearing the story of creation and the Garden of Eden, youngsters at Vacation Bible School posed numerous questions including these two. Let’s start with the second. Sin is everything that is in opposition to God.

God, creator of the universe is the embodiment of love, justice and all that is good. Therefore, that which is unlovely, unjust and bad, qualifies as sin. But sin is more than that. Whenever we choose to put anything—job, possessions, family, wealth, career, personal aggrandizement, etc.—ahead of God, we are turning our back on God and therefore are sinning. God has proclaimed that this sinning separates us from God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

When we lose our ability to hear God and to know how to behave according to his standards, we experience a form of spiritual death. This separation from God carries over into the afterlife where that death is forever, and heartache, torment and pain becomes an eternal punishment.

Why, then, did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? This answer is simple. God loved Adam and Eve just as much as he loves each of us. He loved us so much that he says that he made men and women in his image. (Genesis 2:1-25) He gave humans the capacity to think rationally, to communicate with one another and with God, and to love.

Everyone who has loved or been loved understands that love is a choice. God didn’t force man to love him, he offered him a choice. He created a paradise devoid of sin where Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect fellowship with God. They loved him because God love them so much that he provided for all of their needs. Unfortunately, the risk God took in giving humans free will (to love him or not) was that they might choose to reject his guidance as they did when tempted in the garden.

Listening to Satan and choosing to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree was the first act of sin and resulted in death coming to the first man. (Genesis 3:1-24) Spiritual death came first as man was separated from God and driven out of the garden. Physical death followed for Adam and Eve and everyone thereafter.

However, God didn’t give up on man. His love never stopped. In fact, he loved humans so much that he provided a way to restore fellowship with them. The death that came because sin had to be reconciled. Therefore, God performed an ultimate act of love. He sent his own son, Jesus, to take the punishment for the sins of you and me and everyone who has ever lived and everyone who is yet to be born. All he asks is that each of us who want to have a forever relationship with God, acknowledge that we are sinners in need of redemption and accept the gift of life he has to offer. To learn more about how to obtain this gift of live and turn your back on sin, we encourage you to  read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay