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Posts Tagged ‘judgement’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. – Proverbs 5:23

– But they shall proceed no further for their folly shall be manifest unto all – as theirs also was. – 2 Timothy 3:9

Folly means a lack of good sense or judgement.  Even if folly is only in thought or idea, it births foolish and irresponsible words and behavior.  It’s not a very wise way to live as Christians.  God is the way of life to those who keep His instructions.  Folly is refusing to in err (lead verse, Proverbs 10:17, James 1:16).

Since we were children we have all known the Holy Scriptures given by God’s inspiration.  The Bible is able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  It is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and righteous instruction (2 Timothy 3:15-16).  Ignoring or forgetting any part of it is folly.

God’s Word is full of stories about folly and no one is ever immune from it.  Israel often found themselves wound up in folly, and so can Christians who aren’t diligent and sober at all times.  Our Father tells us to take constant heed as to what is filling up our souls (Deuteronomy 4:9, Luke 6:45, Philippians 4:6-7).

The world produces folly – but the Word prevents it. However, common sense can be lacking in believers just as much as it is in unbelievers.  Folly is not fully acknowledging God in all our ways, but leaning on our own understanding of how life in the world and Word is supposed to “work out” for us (Proverbs 3:5-6).

If things seem to be going pretty much the way we want in life or with the Lord, it is easy to become wise and prudent in our own eyes.  God warns of woe to those who become like this (Isaiah 5:21).  If we ever profess to be wise with mouth or in mind, we become fools, vain in our own imagination (Romans 1:21-22)

This is when problems can suddenly arise without warning.  Causing major headaches and rough rides never imagined because folly blinded our minds from seeing God’s wisdom.  Our craftiness initiated the situation, not Him (1 Corinthians 3:19).  Our Father’s foolishness is wiser than man (1 Corinthians 1:25).

Folly is present in a Christian when they are still filled with their own will and ways.  This is why believers backslide (Proverbs 14:14).  It’s not repenting as God commands, but repeating old worldly behavior.  It is not faith, but a dangerous drawing back from it, and He has no pleasure in such people (Hebrews 10:38).

Folly breeds ungodliness.  It is spiritual indiscretion instead of discipline.  It’s impatience and imprudence, instead of tolerance and truth.  Blessing and cursing spring forth from the same mouths (James 3:9-12). Hasty spirits are a folly hallmark, and anger rests in foolish bosoms (Proverbs 14:29, Ecclesiastes 7:9).

When folly exists, it is not walking circumspectly with God.  It is not understanding what His will is, nor is it redeeming the evil days wisely (Ephesians 5:15-17). Instead, folly is a readiness and willingness within a Christian to sin without care, even though there will never be another sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:26).

When folly persists, it is a forerunner to falling away from repentance, from which it impossible for God to renew a person to.  Each unconfessed, uncleansed, and uncorrected act of folly hangs Jesus Christ back on the Cross.  It puts Him to open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6), and leads to a bad ending (2 Peter 2:20-22).

When folly resists God it fosters apostasy, a total abandonment of belief in the soul, despite any lip service claims to the contrary (Mark 7:6).  Apostasy will be part of man’s last days (2 Timothy 3:1).  Folly will fill pulpits and pews as people learn a lot about God, but not knowledge of His truth (2 Timothy 3:7).

Christians have enough to stand fast in the faith, and withstand in the evil day, without wading into polluted pools of foolishness.  Doing so is making a decision to remove any section of God’s armor – giving plenty of place to Satan, and lots of space for his fiery darts of folly to land (Ephesians 4:27, Ephesians 6:13-17).

Once they ignite and start burning brightly inside a Christian, they become a fool if they still profess to be following the steps of Jesus.  Instead, they’ve turned aside after the devil (1 Timothy 5:15), and departed the living God with an evil heart of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19).  Foolishness rules in the soul once again.

Apostates have strayed too far from Jesus in the greatness of their folly.  They have refused to heed heavenly instruction (lead verse).  Even though they were once returned to the Shepherd of their souls (1 Peter 2:25), they’ve fallen from their steadfastness to wander off in err with the wicked one (2 Peter 3:17).

Regardless of what godly or spiritual words they may speak, apostates hold God’s truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).  They serve and worship the creature more than the Creator.  It is evidenced by such traits as pride, boasting, backbiting, and loving pleasure more than God (Romans 1:25-32, 2 Timothy 3:2-4).

God is long-suffering towards all, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  However, continuing in any folly is not repenting according to His Word and command.  It is not obeying Christ’s voice (Luke 6:46, John 10:27). It’s climbing to heaven the wrong way (John 10:1).

Christian folly does not do anything to light the path of the lost, except lead them into foolishness of their own.  This is not the message of the Cross.  All folly keeps believers following this world, loving its things, and falling for Satan’s lies.  It keeps one lustful and prideful, with no godly love inside (1 John 1:15-16).

As Matthew Henry once alluded to, “People who practice or prefer folly as Christians are still those of corrupt minds.  Prejudiced against the Word’s truth, and found to be without faith, just so they can keep on doing what they want in life.  Perverting Scripture – even if in their mind – to do so (Galatians 1:6-7).

Henry continues, “They follow every new notion, get swayed with every wind of doctrine, and become deceived into thinking they’re acquiring knowledge of God – when they’re not.  Because they are too easy of belief, ignorant, or fanciful, they never seek the truth of Jesus within them (2 Timothy 3:7).” (end).

Knowing he would be between flesh and Spirit, folly and faith daily (Philippians 1:23), the apostle Paul knew he had not been saved yet (Philippians 3:11-13, Romans 8:24-25).  Therefore, he walked along with prudence as he pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

Once folly begets apostates, our Father tells us such people will proceed no further (second lead verse). Just as the two Egyptian wizards Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses in their folly (2 Timothy 3:8), folly in a Christian is withstanding His wisdom.  A God who’ll give it to all who ask, without upbraiding (James 1:5).

Failing to request it from God is disobedience because folly is still not knowing Him.  It remains as a way of thinking about, and walking with God.  It has fiery consequences (2 Thessalonians 1:8).  Believers can’t endure all He commands until the end to be saved, by continuing in folly (Matthew 24:13, Hebrews 12:20).

Tragically, it seems many have been deceived into thinking they have succeeded in getting to heaven while still living.  Propelled safely beyond the Pearly Gates forever by the foolish pride that cast Satan out like lightning long ago (Luke 10:18).  Who fell forever from eternity with God by his folly (Isaiah 14:12-15).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And through covetousness shall they with feigned words, make merchandise of you.  Whose judgement now of a long time lingers not – and their damnation does not slumber. – 2 Peter 2:3

– And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her – for no man buys their merchandise anymore. – Revelation 18:11

There is never anything new under the sun to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).  Back in the days of Isaiah, nobody judged the fatherless or took care of widows, but everyone loved gifts and followed after rewards (Isaiah 1:23).  There were those during the days of Job who saw no personal profit by serving God.  Also, what was the point of praying if they could not get earthly presents in return (Job 21:15, James 4:3)?

Job himself saw his righteousness as more than God’s – at least in Elihu’s eyes – because Job said, “What profit shall I have if I be cleansed from my sins (Job 35:1-3)?”  There were men during Malachi’s time with a similar mentality – who saw no profit by keeping God’s ordinances and walking mournfully before Him (Malachi 3:14).  Samuel’s sons turned to filthy lucre as soon as he appointed them judges (1 Samuel 8:3).

In Jeremiah, Judah had become saturated in idolatry and immorality.  Deceived to the point they couldn’t conceive of the notion they had turned their temples into dens of robbers – even though God clearly saw it all (Jeremiah 7:11, Hebrews 4:13).  Basically, many in Old Testament days saw no purpose in worshipping God and walking in accordance with His way, unless there was something “in it” for them (Luke 17:7-10).

Some type of tangible earthly profit or gain to touch or see – otherwise what was the point of serving God? Sound familiar?  Doesn’t it sound like a lot of worldly lust and covetousness – completely void of God’s love despite any lip service claims to the contrary (Ezekiel 33:31, Mark 7:6)?  It was much more of the same in the New Testament (lead verse, Titus 1:11) – and it is certainly no different in far too many places today.

Much of the Christian landscape in the modern world appears to have turned into one giant shopping mall. Multitudes of merchandise to mull over, and plenty of purchases to ponder are available for the masses to contemplate on a daily basis – and even the foyers of some Sunday sanctuaries are not safe.  It is ungodly. It is in alignment with the worldly and Babylonian system of buying and selling as a steady way of life.

Believers entangled in such a setup can often feel like they have to open their pocketbooks and wallets on a regular basis to keep buying the latest and greatest CD’s by Christian artists – to keep their spirits lifted. Instead of speaking to themselves in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs – singing and making melody in their heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).  The former always has a price tag – the latter is always free.

Christians can also get caught up in paying money to hear those people who are maybe being touted as the hottest speakers on the Christian preaching/teaching circuit.  Perhaps promising to reveal revolutionary and new ways for a winning Christian walk; instead of the believer being led by the Spirit (Romans 8:1).  This is so God can freely teach them His way without any lie; without them having to pay any price (1 John 2:27).

If we are born-again, then we have been bought with a precious price – the blood of Christ.  We have been reconciled back to God through the Cross – meaning we are now completely in agreement and alignment with His ways (Ephesians 2:13-16).  It is no longer the Babylonian way found throughout the Bible – but with His found in the same book.  The former is for earthly gain and profit; the latter is for eternal.

Therefore, Christians are to be chargeable to no man – lest others charge that we are preaching, teaching, writing, singing, etc. about God – merely for worldly profit (2 Corinthians 11:9, 1 Thessalonians 2:9).  We are to buy His truth from above in our soul, and not sell it with a price tag attached below.  This includes the marketing of any godly wisdom, instruction, or understanding we have acquired (Proverbs 23:23).

We are to be content with such things as we have at all times – including our wages (Hebrews 13:5, Luke 3:14).  If we spend any of our brief existence here on this earth (James 4:14) attempting to exact any more than God has already appointed to us (Luke 3:13), we have uncorrected greed/gain issues to confess.  Left unaddressed, we trouble our house, God’s, and all of His flock (Proverbs 15:27, Isaiah 56:10-11).

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and it is profitable for doctrine … not for the sound of dollars and profit (2 Timothy 3:16).  However, who’s going to preach, write, teach, or sing against such things, if they’re involved in the Babylonian system of selling God for gain?  If so, they have not departed from such iniquity, nor have they been sanctified – purged from such dishonor to His name (2 Timothy 2:19-21).

To be meet for our Master’s use and prepared unto His every good work – all that He requires of us is a humble and obedient heart just like Jesus had until death (Philippians 2:8, 2 Timothy 2:21).  Our Father will then thoroughly furnish everything we require to do His work along the way, including finances (2 Timothy 3:17).  We are to always be content with food to eat and clothes to wear (1 Timothy 6:8).

The only time Christ was recorded as getting angry was when he went into the temple of God and cast out those who bought and sold within (Luke 19:45). Overthrowing the tables of the money changers, and upsetting the seats of the dove sellers (Mark 11:15). These people had turned God’s house of prayer into a house of profit – a deceitful den of greedy thieves and grievous wolves (Matthew 21:13, Acts 20:29).

There is an old Latin saying of “caveat emptor” – or “let the buyer beware” in English.  It means that the purchaser of any product assumes the risk it may fail to meet expectations or have defects.  Christians who fall victim to the Babylonian way of merchandising the gospel – are not being aware of evil and disobedient workers walking with God to attain worldly wealth for themselves (Romans 10:21, Philippians 3:2).

Believers deceived by Satan’s devices succumb to minds thinking spiritual growth, unwavering faith, and steadfast belief can only be obtained and maintained by spending money and emptying pockets.  It does not create an equality among all (Ecclesiastes 5:9, 2 Corinthians 8:13-14).  It is following the wide road of commerce to destruction – not Christ’s narrow path to heaven (second lead verse, Matthew 7:13-14).

For the sellers it is a different story … for they have run greedily after the err of Balaam for reward, and in the gainsaying way of Core (James 1:16, Jude 1:11, Numbers 16:24-40).  Making money off of God’s free gospel is the bane of any relationship with Christ.  If the sellers do not soon remove themselves from the Babylonian way, their damnation might not slumber or linger too much longer (lead verse).

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving – let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God – which passes all understanding – shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

– We pray not to inform God or instruct Him, but to beseech Him closely.  To be made intimate with Him, by continuance in supplication; to be humbled; to be reminded of our sins. – John Chrysostom

Supplication seems to be a word not attached much anymore to how and why we pray – or who and what we pray for.  It is the action of asking God earnestly (serious in intention and purpose) out of our humble hearts.  It is not presenting Him a list of demands as if He has to keep proving and demonstrating His love for us – over and over again – by giving us what we want (Psalm 23:1).  Once was enough at the Cross.

God promises to supply all our need according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).  Therefore, supplication isn’t trying to get more for ourselves.  It is learning to love others more and transgress less ourselves – how and why God commands us to (1 Peter 1:22, Acts 17:30).  So our intent and purpose in prayer becomes seeking His constant help in keeping our hearts pure and purged from sin.

So, when God shows us compassion in forgiving our sins according to His truth, we can then show the same compassion to others in forgiving their sins against us (1 Kings 8:46-50).  Our Father’s mercy towards us in this regard – not giving us what we deserve each time we sin (Hebrews 2:2-3) – is to be our motivation for showing mercy to all others.  If we cannot, He will judge us without mercy (James 2:13).

Therefore, we have to keep our hearts purified from sins like haughtiness and pride (Proverbs 16:18, 1 Peter 1:22) through abiding side by side daily with God.  So He can keep burning bitter spiritual roots away (Malachi 3:2, John 15:1-6, Hebrews 12:15) – allowing better fruits to be brought forth.  So they grow to maturity and remain as a steady and ready supply to others (John 15:16, Galatians 5:22-23).

So when we pray each day with supplication, we go into a closet (Matthew 6:6), so nobody else but God can see or hear us.  Then, we begin presenting our proper requests to Him with thanksgiving – without thinking about getting any personal thanks from Him here on earth (Luke 17:7-10).  Then, confessing our sins and humbly asking for His help in keeping our hearts clean through His heavenly correction.

Not instructing Him to give us material things we may think we want or need – as if we know long before He does what such things are (Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:8).  This is just asking amiss, making requests for money or materialistic items to consume upon our own lusts (James 4:3).  This still shows worldliness – and keeps us enemies with God – who considers us adulterers and adultresses for such (James 4:4).

All so our prayers don’t start sounding fake or feigned to others, or start feeling mechanical and empty to ourselves.  As if praying to God is just something we’re “supposed” to do.  So prayer doesn’t wind up becoming a part-time practice – because it seems to be ineffective for the most part.  For we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – because Satan preys the same way (1 Peter 5:8-9).

When we practice praying with supplication as we walk in abidance with God’s ways – without trying to guide Him into ours – we shall ask what we will, and it will be done unto us (John 15:7).  We learn to start praying for others to walk worthy of God – and His ways as well.  So they increase in their knowledge of Him, and are strengthened with all might according to His power (Colossians 1:9-11).

We begin seeking the wealth and welfare of all others through our prayers and supplications (Ecclesiastes 5:9, 1 Corinthians 10:24).  Or we ask only for godly wisdom and judgment to be given unto us, without ever asking for anything personal for ourselves (2 Chronicles 1:10-11).  So we stop leaning on our understanding of prayer (Proverbs 3:5-6), and start experiencing a peace surpassing all understanding.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in the city at the feet of Gamaliel. Taught according to the strictest manner of our father’s law – and was zealous towards God, as you all are to this day. – Acts 22:3

– But the zeal with which you play … relies on where you draw the line. – Jason Mraz

Adolf Hitler certainly had belief in a higher being. There are several historical records and writings supporting his claim to be some sort of Christian. Whatever this meant to Hitler, his zeal towards God in such a manner led to his developing a zero tolerance for the Jewish people and their ways. Because of this, he persecuted an estimated six million of them unto death in concentration camps.

The apostle Paul had zeal towards God, too.  Except he was born a Jew as Saul in the city of Tarsus – and taught according to the perfect manner of Jewish law (lead verse).  Paul developed a zero tolerance towards the new Christians of his day – persecuting them this way unto their deaths (Acts 22:4).  Wasting God’s church – more exceedingly zealous of earthly traditions than eternal truths (Galatians 1:13-14).

Two men of the human race – killing scores of other members of the human race; all because of zeal. All because both felt they were doing the right thing for God (Proverbs 14:12).  One wrote a terrible chapter in human history.  The other wrote nearly half of the New Testament.  If both men had zeal towards God – what was the difference between good and bad zeal? The answer is God Himself.

The One who is always the difference between wrong or right zeal, and whether ours is directed towards earthly or eternal things (Luke 12:33-34, Colossians 3:2).  Hitler steadfastly stuck with his worldly zeal to pursue and promote a political plan of his own mind and creation.  To chart his own course against the Jews, using our Creator as a covering for evil (1 Peter 2:16).  The results were tragic.

Conversely, Saul was struck down by God on the road to Damascus.  The Lord chose Saul to be a Christian that day … and made him the apostle Paul (Acts 22:5-9,16).  So God could then correct and redirect his zeal from the inside out, and set it in the right direction towards the Word – and His will (Acts 22:14).  So Paul could help others turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6).  The results were truth.

This is not intended by any means to compare Hitler with Paul.  It is meant to make us attuned to the many dangers of becoming overzealous in anything we do throughout life … this includes Christianity. Being so can warp our judgement.  Too much wayward zeal can lead to us developing a near zero tolerance of certain people groups, religions, or general lifestyles (Matthew 23:13).

Having such a strict heart or mind like this leaves little space to extend any grace or mercy to others. Any religious rigidness does not permit much room to show or grow in either (James 2:13, 2 Peter 3:18). Having a zeal for the Lord does not mean we can deem and decide everything we do in His name as being right in our eyes – if they are still wrong in His (1 Kings 14:8, 1 Chronicles 13:4, Proverbs 20:6).

However, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said “We have guided missiles and misguided men.”  Misguided men and women of God, mixed in with any type of overzealous mindset, can quickly go astray from His way.  They can teach or preach much misinformation when presenting God’s Word. Any pastor leading a church in such a way – can end up offending many of its members along the way (2 Corinthians 6:3).

Zeal is not wrong by itself.  It means great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective. Some synonyms of zeal are fervor, passion, and devotion – all admirable attributes for any Christian.  However, outward zeal can conceal many misguided intentions in the heart.  God will not be fooled (1 Chronicles 28:9, Hebrews 4:12-13) … but it can take years for other people to find out they’ve been taken.

Sadly, to their graves at times.  Our human history gives us many tragic examples of what can happen when religious zeal runs rampant.  Under the cover of such zeal, Magellan’s thirst for personal glory finally led him fatally astray.  Then there were self-proclaimed godly men such as Jim Jones and David Koresh, who guided a total of 992 people to their deaths – all because of misguided zeal.

Elisabeth Elliot once penned these words: “It takes a while for revelry to turn to reverence, and much repetition of truth to eventually turn young zeal into habitual channels for good.”  Paul echoed this when he wrote, “It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing (Galatians 4:18).  So, where does zeal cross the line from good to bad, and can it be prevented?

Out of control children and cars can cause a lot of damage.  Both have lost their steering mechanism. Kids are operating independently of a parent; cars are operating independently from a driver.  Out of control Christians or churches can behave the same way. Too much zeal of this nature can be a strong indicator someone besides God is at the wheel (Psalm 48:14, Isaiah 30:21, Micah 7:5).

Without such courses being corrected within us from above – the path to eternal damnation is still being paved before us.  This is where repentance enter the picture.  God’s goodness leads to it (Romans 2:4).  As many as He loves, He rebukes and chastens.  We all are to be zealous about repenting (Revelation 3:19). We are to be happy about correction  (Job 5:17) – but it might be painful at times.

No life change is easy.  It tends to upset “the way it has always been done” mindset.  If we still like any of our old worldly ways, repenting will not seem joyous. We will not likely see it as a sign of God’s love – but of His somehow messing with us again without rhyme or reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  However, divine discipline will happen.  It will hurt – but it’s meant to get us to heaven (Hebrews 12:5-14).

This keeps our zeal on the right course.  It is a contained flame of faith focused on our rewards up above (Colossians 3:2).  The wrong zeal is an out-of-control wildfire usually focused on the fleeting and passing (but often fun) things down here below (Matthew 6:19-20).  Wavering zeal crosses the line back and forth between the two.  It can become a type of spiritual tightrope walk (1 Corinthians 10:21)

Without daily and focused zeal regarding repentance (2 Corinthians 4:16), we’re in great danger of falling away.  This is serious.  It is impossible to be renewed again to repentance (Hebrews 6:4-6).  A sure sign of misguided zeal is being more passionate about participating in Christian activities; repeating certain traditions and customs – than repenting according to truth (Mark 7:7, 2 Timothy 2:25).

Zealously crossing items off our Christian “to do” list is not repentance,  It all means nothing without the pure, fervent, and unfeigned love we are to learn if we are born-again believers (1 Corinthians 13:1, 1 Peter 1:22).  We will all be justified of our sins and saved – only by God’s grace and steadfast faith in Christ until the end (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 3:24, Titus 3:7, Hebrews 3:14, 1 Peter 1:13).

The Pharisees tried justifying their words and works before men (Luke 16:15); despite having hearts that were still dirty – and in desperate need of cleansing from the inside out.  Jesus called them all hypocrites (Matthew 23:25-26).  Although they might have appeared outwardly zealous to others by honoring God with their lips and labor – their hearts were far from Him (Mark 7:6).

We can become the same if we are not fully committed to repentance.  This is all part of proper zeal.  If we should discover inner change is too difficult because of our Father’s sometimes painful and persistent correction, we can become zealous for Him in every area except repentance.  We can go about establishing our own righteousness without it, a misguided mistake made by Israel (Romans 10:1-3).

They certainly had a zeal of God – but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2).  They sought salvation by works of righteousness – but not by faith and repentance (Acts 17:30, Romans 9:31, Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5).  They did not submit themselves to God’s righteousness.  This means Christ is the end of the law unto all who believes by faith unto the end (Romans 10:3-4, Hebrews 12:2, Hebrews 3:14).

Our hope and promise of eternal life through Christ was given because of God’s zeal towards us from the start (Isaiah 9:7, Titus 1:2).  Our Father’s truth set up an eternal throne in heaven to establish justice and judgement through Jesus forever (Isaiah 9:7, Luke 1:31-33).  Christ became the final offering for sin (Hebrews 10:14), so justification can only come through the Cross (John 14:6).

Self-justification wreaks havoc with repentance. Without us having a good conscience towards the latter, faith can shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:19).  If the focus of our zeal is zeroed in on external Christian activities – but not inner change – danger is on the doorstep.  We can be easily putting ourselves back on the broad way heading straight to eternal destruction and darkness (Matthew 7:13, Matthew 8:12).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord has given me to edification, and not to destruction. – 2 Corinthians 13:10

It can often seem like any attempt to edify each other in love as Christians today – has fallen into the catch-all category of judging.  Even offering up a spiritual opinion can be met with such a call.  Thus, anyone’s sin open beforehand to others, can be a difficult matter to be brought up among believers.  Despite such sin preceding judgement – fear of being called judgemental can keep many silent (1 Timothy 5:24).

Maybe the human race has finally reached the point prophesied by God in His Word – where iniquity is abounding so much in the world – edifying Christian love has gradually grown stone cold (Matthew 24:12). Because we will just get a cold shoulder and stony stare from another if we speak edifying words.  We might get a “You’re just judging me” response.  Or, “You do the same, so stop telling me what to do.”

Edifying means building someone up spiritually or morally – or both.  It is where we get our word edifice.  An edifice is large and imposing building.  It can also refer to a complex system of concepts or beliefs.  Edification is not exhorting.  Exhorting means to encourage and lift up the spirits of others daily, so hearts do not become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Exodus 9:34, Hebrews 3:13).

We are God’s building as Christians (1 Corinthians 3:9).  Edification means we might have to lift up an entire Christian life completely up off its initial foundation.  If we should find it was built upon the wrong one from the beginning (Romans 15:20, 1 Corinthians 3:11), it is going to have to be completely torn down.  Then it has to be rebuilt the right way, according to God’s instructions (Proverbs 8:33).

This is when edifying gets tough, trying, and time-consuming.  The longer we build anything the wrong way in life – it is only a mere matter of time before something collapses to where the wreckage and ruin is great.  The same goes in building anything with God (Psalm 127:1, Luke 6:48-49).  Therefore, finding out one has built a Christian life upon the wrong foundation for a very long time, can be sobering.

Any “so be it” attitude at this point is dangerous to our soul.  Although we may know something has been wrong in our spiritual walk with God for years. we never fully calculated construction costs from the start (Luke 14:28).  Still, we let it be – and keep on building some other way than His.  Even though we run the risk of being called a robber by Jesus, being eternally rejected at the door to heaven (John 10:1).

 

 

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– God is angry with the wicked every day. – Psalm 7:11

– This is your wickedness.  Because it is bitter – because it reaches unto your heart. – Jeremiah 4:18

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just wipe out wickedness in the world once and for all?  Wouldn’t our lives then be no trouble at all, and evil would never befall us again?  There would finally be the world peace pursued by so many prophets, poets, and politicians alike – for so long?  However, if it were all so easy, wouldn’t our human intelligence and inventions have eliminated evil by now?

If you’re reading this right now, you may already be asking yourself questions about the lead verse. Maybe one such as: “If Christ is the Prince of Peace, then where is the peace (Isaiah 9:6)?”  Perhaps the query is, “Why do bad things always seem to happen to good people (Isaiah 57:1, Daniel 9:5-14, Mark 10:18)?”  Or, “If He is angry with the wicked daily, why isn’t He doing anything about them?”

Well, He is.  However, our Father handles wickedness from heaven with long-suffering, and the mercy He abounds and delights in every morning we are able to wake up (Exodus 34:6, Lamentations 3:22-23, Micah 7:18, 2 Peter 3:9),  How often does man deal with evil the same way, with such patience and much pardoning?  How often do we want someone to get what we think they deserve?

God is always ready to pardon, if we return to Him when we err and go astray.  Our Father is gracious and merciful – being slow to anger and of great kindness (Nehemiah 9:17).  It means every evil work or wicked act is not going to be met with heavenly discipline.  If God did punish us each time we messed up, who among us would be able to stand the pain for very long (Ezra 9:13, Hebrews 2:2-3)?

Still, some just can’t stand letting others get away with the evil God seems to permit freely.  They can have attitudes of  “I have to do something about this matter here on earth – because it does not seem to matter very much in heaven.”  Many movie and TV show story lines these days seem to be centered on characters seeking vengeance.  This is never wise with God (Hebrews 10:30-31).

However, maybe this is you.  Have you ever thought, “Where is this loving God I hear about?  Where is this God of justice?  Everyone who does evil is good in His sight – why He even seems to delight in such people sometimes.”  Or, “God’s law is slack and His judgement never goes forth.  The wicked surround the righteous – therefore, wrong judgement has to be proceeding from heaven.  I must fix it.”

There is never anything new to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  Some felt like this in Biblical times (Malachi 2:17, Habakkuk 1:4).  However, projecting the wickedness problem on others is not the solution.  It is easier – for it keeps us from pointing the finger of fault at our hearts.  But – God did not fashion them to be wonderful.  If He had made perfect hearts, He never would have had to sacrifice Christ.

Our hearts were designed to be desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).  So we would not foolishly trust them (Proverbs 28:26). So we could not pave our own path to heaven – proclaiming our own goodness or innocence as the way to get there (Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 2:35).  So we would have to get there how God designed before this world began (Titus 1:2).

Next Sunday:  Why the road to heaven is narrow (Matthew 7:14), why the righteous scarcely get saved (1 Peter 4:18), and where we can err and go off course so many times along the way – even as Christians.

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