Sunday, June 26, 2016

"Who am I to judge?"

A judge would never say that. And judges do exist so judging is the function of some, even some who have taken the beam out of their eyes. (No one said it was impossible - Matthew 7:5). Jesus's teaching is plainly and precisely against judging hypocritically (Matthew 7:1-5). The hypocrite is even told what to do to be able to exercise the love of his neighbor and help him out in removing the speck out of his eye! That requires seeing rightly and exercising discernment/a right judgement. But some like to keep the beam in their own eyes and act like everyone else has one in theirs, walks in darkness, and so would be a hypocrite to pronounce judgement on any matter. That's the darkness they are comfortable in simply.)

One should not stand as a judge if he doesn't have a law that he is called to be a minister of, while being himself obedient to it, but he must not assume either that no one can judge (exercise a righteous judgement about a matter or person, making clear distinctions between good and evil, light and darkness, sweet and bitter - Isaiah 5:20, things that must be done to walk a right path - for not all chosen paths are right). And frankly, we all really do routinely judge. Ex: A young couple may pass a drug addict as a potential caretaker for their child and prefer a person with no such history. A new transport company may hire a driver with a clean driving record rather than one who had a DUI arrest 10 years before. Judgement is exercised in those cases and a direction is chosen between two mutually exclusive options. Is that wrong or a lot of judging is usually called common sense rather, and even personal bias, while the push to "NOT JUDGE", even with words taken out of context from the bible, can be magnified somehow as the loudest voice to be heard in society?

John: 7. 24. Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

This cannot be an impossibility. There is a way to exercise righteous judgement with a clear conscience. The gospel opens the door to it. And the following scriptures hold some guiding principles:

Matthew: 5. 6. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.

2 Timothy: 2. 19. However God's firm foundation stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let every one who names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness."

Luke: 5. 30. Their scribes and the Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?" 31. Jesus answered them, "Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. 32. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Luke: 15. 7. I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.

2 Peter: 3. 9. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

1 Timothy: 2. 3. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4. who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth.
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Remark:
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Truth, righteousness, and salvation go hand in hand, and repentance with faith towards God ushers in that walk of truth, righteousness, and salvation that Jesus died to allow man to be on (Luke 1:68-75), taking care of first things first: the forgiveness of one's sins committed up to that moment that he/she decides to ask God forgiveness (having also forgiven others - Matthew 6:14-15) in repentance (turn to God, towards careful and loving obedience to his will and away from sin). On that walk then, when one has passed from death to life, from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God (Acts 26:18; John 5:24; 1John 3:4), one has open eyes to judge especially between good and evil, in agreement with God Himself. And unlike what may be perceived by the world, if one is led by the Spirit of God, the purpose is a loving one: to bring others from death to life, from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God as it is the will of God. For no one that is saved is saved to gather with like-minded believers only, and be silent otherwise. Either one is light or one is darkness still! (2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 5:8). And light by definition is not lit to be hidden (Matthew 5:14-15).

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Without judgement, there is no justice and having laws is useless. No one can be in trouble with any law, even the mass murderer could have a pass on being a criminal. That is the allowed extreme of such mindsets that forbid judgement absolutely. It is unequivocally a push towards lawlessness (Matthew 24:12). And "where there is no law there is no transgression" (Romans 4:15). So then sin also won't be seen as a criminal matter in the eyes of God, and the loving sacrifice of his Son to reconcile the sinful world to Himself is all but a narrative that excludes the dying with Him to be resurrected with Him also to newness of life (Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:4-9; Colossians 3:1-4).

Such "Good News" does not get to most believers. Why is that? Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; the only way to the Father (John 14:6). Shall people through their denominations and traditions make their own way to the Father? Shall they portray their own 'god' and worship him/it? Idolatry is really what that amounts to: the worship of what is not the one Eternal God. It is a deception.

Truth establishes reality while lies maintain a delusion, even fifty shades of gray (pun intended). Just switch on the light in an obscure room where wicked things are happening, and the evil works along with the evildoers will be instantly exposed. It is the same when the word of God is spoken, because it is light, a light more penetrating than anything natural. In ideal circumstances, I perceive, it grinds the pride of man to powder and exposes him as "not good", in a wretched condition and in dire need of a Savior. The word of God will judge the hearts of people and expose all the foolishness therein. And pride is opposed to that work so God also is opposed to the prideful (1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6) who love their ways more than Him and cannot afford to lose the sinful life they are living by undergoing the saving correction they are called to by the gospel of peace/reconciliation. For they don't think that they are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18). They claim they see while they are in fact blind (John 9:41; Revelation 3:17-18).

Mark: 8. 35.
For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's shall save it.

Luke: 9. 23. He said to all, "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.

John: 14. 15.
If you love me, keep my commandments.

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John: 9. 39. Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment, that those who don't see may see; and that those who see may become blind." 40. Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, "Are we also blind?" 41. Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.

John: 12. 46. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

Jesus will judge the world according to the word that He has spoken (John 12:48; Act 17:30-31). Love warns. And the truth may sting, but it heals! It restores the soul (Psalm 19:7; 23:3) and ushers in life, that is, true spiritual life (John 6:63).

Proverbs: 16. 6. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged (atoned for). And by the fear of Yahweh men depart from evil.

John: 8. 31. Jesus therefore said to those Jews who had believed him, "If you remain in my word, then you are truly my disciples. 32. You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (from bondage to sin - John 8:34)."

Romans: 6. 23. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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John: 16. 7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I don't go away, the Counselor (the promised Holy Spirit - Acts 2:38) won't come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8. When he has come, he will convict the world about sin, about righteousness, and about judgment;

John: 8. 12. Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Those who walk in darkness champion a tolerance that is first of all self-directed, and is a dark hiding place where what is surely evil can coexist with what is surely good and be left alone. No truth/light/justice is allowed in. So then what is often lauded as tolerance which springs from the quality of being open-minded cannot be an expression of love, when stripped of a foundation of truth. But it is good news that honesty is universally appreciated, it seems. It is a good way forward from any place or personal circumstances. That way, one's state of need can be acknowledged and embraced before God, and so He can intervene on the basis of that agreement with the truth and show his saving power. What one is saved from is then made manifest and exceeding peace and joy and eternal gratefulness sets into the heart to put a new life "in Jesus/Christ" into motion (John 15:1-8).

1 Corinthians: 13. 6. (Love) doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

The love of God towards mankind functions on the basis of truth - not flattery. For at the root of every sin (sinful behavior or sinful thinking) is a lie that is believed and acted upon. That is the very story of the fall of man: a departure from the word of God that is true for something else that sounded good (Genesis 3:1-6), thereby instituting enmity with God through sin (Romans 5:6-11; 2 Corinthians 5:20). We all go that way and are called to return to God/repent/be reconciled with Him/walk in righteousness and truth/live in obedience to his will.

Acts: 17. 30. The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked. But now he commands that all people everywhere should repent, 31. because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead."

(Isaiah: 59. 1. Behold, Yahweh's hand is not shortened, that it can't save; neither his ear heavy, that it can't hear: 2. but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.)

Again...
2 Timothy: 2. 19. However God's firm foundation stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let every one who names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness."

Matthew: 4. 17. From that time, Jesus began to preach, and to say, "Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."

Still...
John: 3. 19. This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light; because their deeds were evil. 20. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, lest his deeds would be reproved. 21. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be revealed, that they have been done in God."

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Acts: 26. 15. "I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' "He said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16. But arise, and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you a servant and a witness both of the things which you have seen, and of the things which I will reveal to you; 17. delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I send you, 18. to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Marriage / Divorce - Bible Study Notes

*Legally means according to God's law. For "I speak to them that know the law" (Romans 7:1).

If a husband puts away his wife, casts her to the side like an unwanted object and goes to marry another woman, he commits adultery against her. If she, while put away from her husband, goes ahead and marries another man, she commits adultery along with that man who takes her as his wife, because she is already one man's wife; although that man put her away, she is not a legally divorced woman. (Luke 16:18; Mark 10:11)

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If a woman decides to put away her husband to become another man's wife, she commits adultery. (Mark 10:12)

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If a husband puts away his wife for any reason other than fornication/whoredom, and he divorces her, and goes to marry another woman, he commits adultery against her. If she, while put away from her husband and given a writing of divorcement even, goes and marries another man, she commits adultery along with that man who takes her as his wife, because she is already one man's wife, although that man put her away and divorced her. His divorce was illegal and she is still his wife. (Matthew 19:9).

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If a husband puts away his wife for the reason of fornication/whoredom, and he divorces her, and goes to marry another woman, he does not commit adultery for he has legally divorced her, though he could have forgiven her. (Matthew 19:9).

Mercy triumphs over judgement. And a man having the Spirit of God dwelling in him will handle this differently. He will rebuke his wife, and if she repents of her whoredom, he must forgive her (that, I suppose, may be harder than just wiping her off his life). He must act according to the measure of his faith. But if he divorces her, on the grounds of fornication/whoredom, he does not sin. (Matthew 19:9). And if she, while put away from her husband and given a writing of divorcement, goes and marries another man, she does not commit adultery with that man who takes her as his wife, because she has been released from the bond of her marriage to the first husband. She is legally divorced and free to become another man's wife and shall not be called an adulteress (Deuteronomy 24:2).

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Matthew 19:9 and Matthew 5:32 say "put away". There is no divorce there unlike suggested in Matthew 5:32.

Matthew 5:32
But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away (G630) his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced (G630) commits adultery.

Matthew 19:9
And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (G630) his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery: and whosoever marries her who is put away (G630) does commit adultery.

Look up the Greek word apoluō (G630: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=G630).

If putting away means divorce (through the giving of an act of divorcement) why does that step need to be mentioned at all? (Deuteronomy 24:3). Also note in that verse that a "bethroted" wife would be at the father's house, not living in her husband's house. So the whoring of the wife that is mentioned (also in Matthew 5:32; 19:9) is not exclusively a so-called bethrotal period kind of whoring.

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If a man who is a brother has a wife who is a sister in Christ and she departs from/separates from/leaves him (G5563), she is to remain unmarried (1 Corinthians 7:10-11). Unmarried because that departing of hers is a breaking of bonds, the very thing Jesus said not to do: "What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder/separate (G5563)" (Matthew 19:6). It's not that it's undoable, but Jesus said not to do it, which itself implies that man can separate "what God has joined together". She has acted as an unbeliever who doesn't know God's law, let alone have it written on her heart. Look up the Greek word chorizo (G5563: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g5563).

This process can be followed to determine if she legitimaty should be regarded as a sister who will receive counsel from the body of Christ:

Matthew: 18. 15. Moreover if your brother (sister) shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother. 16. But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglects to hear the church, let him be unto you as a heathen man (woman) and a publican.

We'd better learn to discern between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14), testing spirits (1 John 4:1) and be checking those fruits (Luke 6:43-45).

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A brother or a sister who has an unbelieving spouse is entreated by Paul to not put that person away, that is, end the marriage. The KJV translators wrote "put her away" (G863) when it's the man doing it, and "leave him" (G863) when it's the woman, yet it's the same word used in the original text (1 Corinthians 7:12-14). The sense of that word is to forsake. Look up the Greek word
aphiēmi (G863: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g863).

See if there is something you could possibly study in context and understand here:
Mark 10:28-30
28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left (G863) all, and have followed you. 29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that has left (G863) house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife (what's 'wife' doing here?), or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

What's your relationship with the things you have left/forsaken for Jesus' sake and the gospel's? Are you still bound/attached/married to them?

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But unbelievers will do what unbelievers will do. Let them.

1 Corinthians 7:15.
But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God has called us to peace.

"depart" is the same word (G5563) as above in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11. See that note.

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Jesus met a woman He said Himself has had 5 husbands (successively of course), and a present man in danger (I suppose) who was not her husband (John 4:18). Think. Who was that woman and by what manner can she be said by the Lord himself that she had had a first, and second, and third, and fourth, and fifth husband, when you also read: "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wills; only in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7:39; also Romans 7:1-3). Oh she must have killed them all! Maybe, maybe not. Find in you if possible the same wisdom and meekness that was in Jesus when he spoke to that woman. We don't know that she was an adulteress nor a murderess at that point. But let's concede, going back to her first husband is utter foolishness in that context. What that woman needed at that point and that she found was Jesus (the Word of God) to set her free and set things in order in her life, not name calling and ill advice with scripture throwing with no mercy.

John 4:27
At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, "What are you looking for?" or, "Why do you speak with her?"

Will you speak with a woman like her?

Luke 6:36
Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful.

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Not everybody is in Christ. And Jesus did not only come across or speak with people who were his disciples. If you have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), you can discern this and tame your tongue, seek wisdom and understanding (which you shall find if you have unweavering faith and don't assume that you have already figured it all out); then tailor your speech accordindly, learn to become all things to all men and women (1 Corinthians 9:22), rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), forgive if you have been hurt in marriage, and wait on the Lord if you haven't had the opportunity to share in his sufferings yet, in marriage, in singleness or otherwise. Do not be haughty nor bitter.

2 Timothy: 2. 24. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26. And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

These words stand as a witness against all of us who are led to speak on these matters (let us do so with good judgement):

James: 3. 1. Let not many of you be teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment. 2. For in many things we all stumble. If anyone doesn't stumble in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.

2 Peter: 2. 1. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

Seek your guidance from whom you should, that is God Himself, and do not cause the way of truth to be evil spoken of nor be a stumbling block to anyone.

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Romans 2:11-13, 26-27
11 For there is no respect of persons with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keeps the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfills the law, judge you, who by the letter and circumcision does transgress the law?

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I am open for discussion before the body of Christ. No need to get puffed up with our understanding and kill ourselves and destroy others over a matter hundreds of scholars pushing their PDF's left and right attempt to clarify. We can't go around, ashamed or half-ashamed of God's Law (Torah), content to study things superficially, and being unmerciful, trying to push a one size fits all rule on people regardless of who they are and their circumstances with respect to marriage, while we are too caught up in ourselves and our world to relate to them in their shoes, or perhaps to even pray and fast to seek the Lord about a particular case. Paul at least was humble to note what was his opinion on certain matters, as an unmarried man who had the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 7:12 and following, 1 Corinthians 7:25 and following up to 38; 1 Corinthians 7:40).

Note that he said a man who forbids his virgin daughter to marry does well (1 Corinthians 7:37). Try to apprehend that with your renewed and anointed 21st century mind for a second!

God is not the author of confusion and has made his will known concerning marriage from A to Z. It is knowable. Seek it thoroughly and without bias; and especially, bring your mind outside of your own confort zone and the simplicity of your circumstances that may be no burden to you (Praise God!), or that are perhaps distressing you (O praise God still!), regardless, and learn to relate to another as you would want another to be able to do also concerning you.