Category Archives: Judging

The Christian Calling

the_call_webThe New Testament continually calls Christians-the “church.”  Remember the Greek word translated “church” means “called out ones.” In other words, a minority is called out from the majority of the human race.

Consequently, many scriptures use the words “elect,” “elected,” “election,” and “elect’s” (sometimes translated “chosen”) to denote God’s dealing with Christians. Matthew 24:31; Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:10 and 2 Timothy 2:10 are a few examples of this usage.

This word describes the special selection of a smaller class (“little flock”) from the human race before all of humanity has its opportunity for salvation in the Kingdom.

What is this special calling or selection of the church? Christians are called to the multiple profession of judges, priests and kings of mankind in Christ’s Kingdom. What an honor! At first our faith staggers. But the Scriptures are explicit on this point. 1 Corinthians 6:2 states that “the saints shall judge the world.” 1 Peter 2:9 shows Christians are called to be a “royal [kingly] priesthood.” Similarly,
Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 states we are called of God to be “kings and priests” and “we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 20:6 states that Christians “shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

Judges, priests, kings! What a profession Christians have been called to! But what a rigorous training course the Christian must pursue to attain this profession. Do you as a Christian see God working in your life-preparing you for this profession?

Judges

Christians will share with Christ in judging the world (1 Corinthians 6:2; John 5:22). John 5:28, 29 states that “ALL that are in the graves. . .shall come forth, they [Christians] that have done good, unto the resurrection of life [live and reign with Christ, Revelation 20:4]; and they that have done evil [the remainder of men] to a resurrection by krisis [Greek].” Many translations say, “resurrection of judgment,” but the Greek is literally “resurrection of krisis.” A doctor will speak of a patient reaching his crisis. He doesn’t mean the patient will die. Rather, the crisis time is when the patient will take a turn for the better or the worse.

The “krisis” or probation time for the remainder of men will be in Christ’s Kingdom. Therefore, their trial will not be based on the works of this life but their works during the Kingdom. Thus, the risen Lord says in Revelation 22:12, “Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work SHALL BE.” Christians will share with Christ in judging people according to their works in the Kingdom, their probation time.

The word “krisis” has been incorporated into many different languages. The Chinese write in symbols. And they use two symbols to denote “krisis.” One symbol denotes danger, the other conveys opportunity. Humanity’s trial or “krisis” in the Kingdom will offer the opportunity to attain eternal life. But it will also be a time of danger.
Those who fail to meet God’s conditions for attaining eternal life will be condemned to Second Death (Revelation 20:13-15).

Priests and Kings

Christians will not only be judges, but also merciful and sympathetic priests who will bless each member of the world with every possible help and opportunity to attain eternal life. Thus, the Scriptures show that Jesus and his church (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6) will not only be rulers over the remainder of men but also priests,
blessers. Hebrews 9:23 reveals that Israel’s tabernacle was a picture
of better things to come. After Israel’s high priest provided sacrifices for reconciliation on the Day of Atonement, the priests during the remainder of the year instructed, judged and blessed the people. Hebrews 5:1,2, states that Israel’s priests could have “compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” Jesus was perfect, but he is able to sympathize with our infirmities as our High Priest because he was tempted in all points like us yet without sin (Hebrews 2:17,18; 4:15).

Being Made Christ-like

Unlike Jesus we have physical infirmities and moral weakness. Additionally, every hardship and tragedy that happens to the human race also happens to Christians (1 Corinthians 10:13). The word “temptation” would better be rendered trial, actually a test permitted of God to instruct us. But “God is faithful, Who will not suffer [permit] you to be tried above that ye are able.” If we are “babes in Christ,” God might remove the trial or hardship. But there is “a way of escape” that our “faithful God” would prefer to provide
during our hardships and tragedies-that His Holy Spirit would develop in us the spiritual maturity “that ye may be able to bear [endure] it.” But why should we endure tragedies instead of having God remove them? Remember God is training us to be sympathetic priests. Thus Peter says in 1 Peter 1:7, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at
the appearing of Jesus Christ.” Christians who are rightly exercised by their difficulties are changed from glory to glory into the character likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Their exercising the spirit of Christ while struggling with their infirmities and hardships develops in them love, sympathy and understanding for their fellowman.

Just as the firstborn of the nation of Israel was representative of each family in Israel so the “church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23) will have experienced all the problems, hardships, tragedies mankind has endured. This preparation will qualify them to be merciful and  sympathetic priests, judges and rulers of mankind in the Kingdom. Are your difficult experiences making you
sympathetic and merciful to others?

There is much more to the Christian life than accepting Jesus. Peter observed in 2 Peter 1:5-11, “And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness
love. . .for if you do these things, ye shall never fall. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into
the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Only if we develop these character qualities will we qualify to reign with Christ as kings and priests in his Kingdom (Revelation 20:6).

With a hope like this we can only conclude as Jesus did, that no suffering or tragedy is too great. Hebrews 12:2-4, “. . .who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be
wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” With a hope like this let us follow in his footsteps and “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter
various trials” (James 1:2, NAS).

Exposing Error: Is It Worthwhile?

errorObjection is often raised even by some sound in the faith-regarding the exposure of error as being entirely negative and of no real edification. Of late, the hue and cry has been against any and all negative teaching. But the brethren who assume this attitude forget that a large part of the New Testament, both of the teaching of our blessed Lord Himself and the writings of the apostles, is made up of this very character of ministry-namely, showing the Satanic origin and, therefore, the unsettling results of the propagation of erroneous systems which Peter, in his second epistle, so definitely refers to as “damnable heresies.” Our Lord prophesied, “Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” Within our own day, how many false prophets have risen; and oh, how many are the deceived! Paul predicted, “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch.” My own observation is that these “grievous wolves,” alone and in packs, are not sparing even the most favored flocks. Elders in these “perilous times” will do well to note the apostle’s warning: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the holy Spirit hath made you overseers.” It is as important in these days as in Paul’s-in fact, it is increasingly important-to expose the many types of false teaching that, on every hand, abound more and more. We are called upon to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” while we hold the truth in love. The faith means the whole body of revealed truth, and to contend for all of God’s truth necessitates some negative teaching. The choice is not left with us. Jude said he preferred a different, a pleasanter theme-“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3, 4). Paul likewise admonishes us to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). This does not imply harsh treatment of those entrapped by error-quite the opposite. If it be objected that exposure to error necessitates unkind reflection upon others who do not see as we do, our answer is: it has always been the duty of every loyal servant of Christ to warn against any teaching that would make Him less precious or cast reflection upon His finished redemptive work and the all-sufficiency of His present service as our great High Priest and Advocate. Every system of teaching can be judged by what it sets forth as to these fundamental truths of the faith. “What think ye of Christ?” is still the true test of every creed. The Christ of the Bible is certainly not the Christ of any false “-ism.” Each of the cults has its hideous caricature of our lovely Lord. Let us who have been redeemed at the cost of His precious blood be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” As the battle against the forces of evil waxes ever more hot, we have need for God-given valour. There is constant temptation to compromise. “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” It is always right to stand firmly for what God has revealed concerning His blessed Son’s person and work. The “father of lies” deals in half-truths and specializes in most subtle fallacies concerning the Lord Jesus, our sole and sufficient Savior. Error is like leaven of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died. Exposing error is most unpopular work. But from every true standpoint it is worthwhile work. To our Savior, it means that He receives from us, His blood-bought ones, the loyalty that is His due. To ourselves, if we consider “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,” it ensures future reward, a thousand-fold. And to those “caught in the snare of the fowler”-how many of them God only knows-it may mean light and life, abundant and everlasting.

The Spirit of Compromise

TheDangerOfCompromise“Beloved, I now write this second letter to you, in which I stir up your pure mind by reminder to remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of the Lord and Savior by us, the apostles. First, knowing this, that there will come in the last days scoffers walking according to their own lusts and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” –  2Pe 3:1-4

Many—and very plain and positive—are the warnings of God’s Word against the “evil communications” that “corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15: 33). The Apostle Paul’s counsel (Acts 20: 28-30) to all the elders of the church was, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” And Jude said, “Beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves [from the Truth and its Spirit], sensual [minding earthly things, and gratifying the ambitions and tastes of the old nature], having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying with a holy spirit [a spirit of loyalty and devotion to God], keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 17-21).

Thus we are put on guard against the enemies of the Truth, and it is made obligatory upon all the faithful to be on the alert against them, and to be prompt in discerning and in dealing with them, so that the flock of Christ may be spared. The Apostle Paul grows very earnest in urging this matter, saying, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own desires; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple [those not on the alert against the encroachments of error]” (Rom. 16: 17, 18). Again, says the same Apostle (2 Tim. 2: 16), “Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”

HOW THE POLICY OF COMPROMISE SPEAKS

No, says the ungodly policy of this evil day of compromises and of disloyalty to “the faith once delivered to the saints,” “We cannot walk by this strict rule: we dare not recognize and admit the real character of a wolf in the sheepfold, if the wolf be attired in sheep’s clothing; we must accept his professions, notwithstanding his words and his actions to the contrary. We cannot believe that of our own selves—right in the midst of the company of the consecrated—any will arise to ‘pervert the truth’ and to ‘draw disciples after them’; and we dare not ‘mark’ any as such, and ‘avoid them,’ or ‘shun their profane and vain babblings,’ as the Apostle suggests, for that would be uncharitable, unloving and unkind.”

Lately we hear a great deal in favor of a broad-minded charity which gives loose rein to the enemies of the doctrines of Christ—a charity which would affiliate with every form of belief and unbelief; that makes no claims or superiority for one religion over another, be it heathen or Christian or anti-Christian; and that freely fellowships all and bids all Godspeed, utterly heedless of the Word of the Lord, which says, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God,” and “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11) .

The warning here is not against those who never knew the Truth, but against those who have known it and have been blessed by it, and who afterward turned away from it; of whom the Apostle Peter speaks, saying, “If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning [they are worse off than those who have always been of the world]. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Pet. 2: 20-22). Why do they do so? Because the dog nature and/or the sow nature and disposition are still there, and only wait for opportunities and circumstances to prove it. So also says the Apostle John: They that go out from us—who desert the Truth and its interests—do so because they are not of us (1 John 2: 19), because the old fleshly mind and disposition are still there and are allowed to come again into control.

In some cases the desertion may be only on one or a few items of Bible Truth, in other cases it may be many. Also, in some cases one who is fighting the Truth may never have been enlightened or is insufficiently enlightened on the pertinent truth or truths he is opposing. These things, and also the relative importance of the truth or truths that are being deserted and opposed would all have to be taken into consideration in determining how much friendship and fellowship we could give such. Certainly we should not fellowship with them in their errors of doctrine and practice, but are rather to reprove them (Eph. 5: 11).

Again, many who once were “established in the present truth” (2 Pet. 1: 12) regarding the Bible chronology, the Second Advent and the beginning of the binding of Satan and Christ’s Thousand-year Reign (Rev. 20: 1-4) as having set in with the beginning of the seventh thousand-year day after Adam’s fall, the beginning of Earth’s Great jubilee, in 1874 (B 173-200), now reject these Bible-based truths, some denying that Jesus has come again in His Second Advent, others denying that the binding of Satan has even started yet, and some even casting aside the Bible chronology and substituting a false chronology in an effort to prove that Christ’s Thousand-year Reign has not begun yet.

The love  which goes out toward the enemies of the cross of Christ–those who have been once enlightened by the truth and have turned away from it–is not the right kind of love. We are commanded to “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world,” and told that “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15); and, again, “This is love, that we walk after his commandments.”2 John 6.

“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”–Gal. 6:16.

What Pastor Russell Said About Judging

“UNTIL THE LORD COME”
 
“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.” – 1 Cor. 4:5.
THE TEACHING of the Apostle here is parallel to that of our Lord in his parable of the wheat and the tares. (Matt. 13:24-30,36-43.) When the zealous servant in the parable inquired, “Wilt thou then that we go and gather them [the tares] up?” the Lord answered, “Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the Harvest; and in the time of Harvest I will say to the reapers,* Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.”
All through the Gospel Age the wheat and tares have grown together, and only the Lord, who could read the hearts, could distinguish between them with unerring precision. But both the Lord and the Apostle, in the above Scriptures, indicate a difference in the time of Harvest, and show that it will then be possible for the faithful saints to judge also. With this thought in view, they are told to “judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come.”
THE DAY OF THE LORD HAS COME

And now the day of the Lord has come: we are now living in the days of the parousia (presence) of the Son of Man – “the Lord of the Harvest,” “having on his head a golden crown [Divine authority] and in his hand [in his power] a sharp sickle” – the sickle of “present truth,” the clear unfolding of the “Word of God [which] is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword …and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12; Matt. 9:38; Rev. 14:14.)

UNTIL THE LORD COME.

And he is sending forth such “laborers,” “angels” or “messengers” into this harvest as he sent forth into the harvest of the Jewish Age, viz., his consecrated and faithful disciples, bearing the Harvest message – the now fully revealed Plan of God and its appointed times and seasons.

The Truth thus sent forth is doing its appointed work. Like a magnet, it gathers to itself all who have an affinity for it. Thrust it in wherever you will, it will invariably accomplish its work of finding the loyal and faithful. And we can readily judge, from this affinity for the magnet, who are at heart true and loyal and faithful to the Lord. “My sheep hear my voice,” said the Master, “and I know them, and they follow me;…for they know my voice [they are able to recognize his voice of Truth]; and a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers.” (John 10:27,4,5.) Again he says, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him; the Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” – John 12:48.

THE TRUTH IS DOING ITS SEPARATING WORK

Thus, in this last day, the Harvest of the Age, this day of the Lord’s invisible presence in the world, the Truth concerning the Divine Plan, which he has been revealing since 1874, and which is now being widely testified for the sealing of the elect, is doing its separating work; and the saints, who understand the present situation and watch with interest the progress of the harvest work, can see clearly where the lines of judgment are drawn between the faithful and the unfaithful. And often with astonishment they mark the divisions which the Truth makes when some prominent church-member, whom they had always judged to be faithful and true, manifests no affinity for the Truth, but turns from it and hugs the error more tightly than ever; or, when some other one, touched by the power of the Truth, awakes to earnest self-sacrifice in its service.

“Judge nothing before the time.” How could we have judged before this time as to whose hearts were loyal and true? But now, in this day of the Lord’s presence, when the magnet of Divine Truth makes manifest those who have and those who have not an affinity for it – those who refuse to recognize the voice of the “Good Shepherd,” and will not follow his leading, and who flee not from the voice of strangers, but hearken to and follow them – it becomes our duty, as well as our privilege, to judge who is on the Lord’s side and who is against him; for, says the Master, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” – Matt. 12:30.

“JUDGE NOTHING UNTIL THE LORD COME”

“Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come”; but then let your spiritual senses be exercised in observing and marking the heretofore hidden things which the Truth, in its effects, is bringing to light. See how it is bringing to light the hitherto covered deformities of the various creeds. Where is the intelligent Calvinist today who would not like to bury his creed sea deep, and forever hush this wrangle that has been exposing its deformity for a few years past? And where is the intelligent Arminian that is not trembling lest his turn may come next?

Everything is being dragged to the light, whether men are willing or not; for every hidden thing must be revealed. And not only the hidden things of creeds and systems of error and iniquity, but also the hidden things of individual character; “for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known. Therefore, whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” – Luke 12:2,3.

Ah! it is the day of reckoning with the Church, and “the Lord hath a controversy with his people.” And this controversy, this reckoning, is not merely with the Church-nominal in its great sectarian branches; but in a special sense it is with those who have escaped from the bondage of error and sectarianism, and who, because faithful to their consciences and the truths brought to their attention, have been served by the Master with “present truth” as “meat in due season” (Luke 12:37), and who have been permitted to enter into some of the “deep things” of God’s Plan.

THE CHURCH’S JUDGMENT NOW – THE WORLD’S NOT YET HERE

The world has not yet come into its judgment; its reckoning is yet future; but ours is now upon us. We, to whom the testimony of Divine Truth has been borne, before whose mental vision the whole Plan of God with all its specifications has been spread out and carefully explained, now stand on trial, yea, under the final tests of that trial, which is either to prove or disprove our worthiness to enter into the promised reward of the faithful. Many, as predicted (Psa. 91:7), are proving unworthy, and some still stand.

And among those whom we fellowship and bid Godspeed as faithful brethren in Christ, it is our duty to judge as to whether they are still faithful when the magnet of Truth makes their judgment so manifest in this day of the Lord; for it is written (2 John 10,11), “If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed; for he that biddeth him God-speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

Here is a responsibility with reference to our endorsement of another which we cannot ignore and still be faithful; and except we judge of one’s course by his fidelity or infidelity to the Truth, we shall be endorsing error quite as often as Truth. It is our privilege to know the Truth and to hold it firmly and to be faithful to it to the end, and if we so abide and walk in the light we will quickly know when one has turned away from the light into darkness, and will be able to render wholesome counsel and warning to such, and to help those who still retain enough of the spirit of meekness to accept the proffered assistance.

But, if such a one still pursue the path of darkness and call it light, thus deceiving himself and others, we cannot further endorse him and be guiltless. To do so is to add our influence in some measure, at least, to the error and in opposition to the Truth, and thus we become partaker of his evil deeds.

“IN THE LAST DAYS PERILOUS TIMES SHALL COME”

The necessity for this careful discrimination and jealous guarding of the Truth in these last days is very manifest, both from the warnings of the Scriptures and from observation of their fulfilment. “In the last days,” says the Apostle, “perilous times shall come.” (2 Tim. 3:1.) Why? Because the Prince of darkness will make every possible effort to retain his power and dominion; and ignorance, error and superstition are his strongholds. He first used all his power to keep men in ignorance and to foster superstition. But now God’s due time has come for knowledge to be increased (Dan. 12:4), and the Millennial dawn is breaking; and not only the Church but the world is now waking up and beginning to think.

So the policy of Satan at present is to devise plausible counterfeits of the Truth, whereby to entrap and mislead those who have been making progress in the knowledge of the Divine Plan. As, in the beginning of our Lord’s ministry at his first advent, Satan’s efforts were concentrated upon the one object of causing him to stumble, thereby to nip the Divine Plan in the bud; and as during the Gospel Age the consecrated members of the Body of Christ have been specially opposed and beset by him, so now his efforts are concentrated specially upon the last members of that Body, “the Feet of him,” who are running the race for the prize of the high calling. It is for this cause that so many new and plausible forms of error have been brought forward within this Harvest period.

SATAN USING EVERY EFFORT TO STUMBLE
THE FEET OF HIM THAT PUBLISHETH PEACE

Satan is using every effort to thwart God’s Plan and to stumble the Feet. And God even more than permits this: he encourages it by sending these strong delusions of Satan among his professed followers – at the same time assuring all who at heart are faithful to his Word and to their covenant of self-sacrifice that they need fear no evil, for he will be with them and uphold them though a thousand fall at their side.

Ever since the Plan of God has been made manifest to the saints, the delusions of error have been rapidly multiplying. This was foretold by the Apostle who, referring to our Lord’s second coming, said, “And then shall that wicked [the Man of Sin] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the bright-shining of his presence, whose parousia [Christ’s presence] is with [or accompanied by] the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they might all be condemned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” – 2 Thess. 2:8-12.

One after another the deluded ones who have fallen into the various snares set for their feet have become active advocates of the several causes they have espoused since they departed from the Truth, and are advanced by the Adversary as teachers, angels or messengers of new light. They never seem to realize that they have gone into darkness, but imagine they have made great strides of progress in the light. This is because they have been overcome by the strong delusions of this evil day. They verily mistake the darkness for the light, the error for the Truth. But, though they be cast thus into the outer darkness of the world and of the nominal professor, thank God, we can now see that by and by the shining forth of the Sun of Righteousness in the Millennial morning shall open all the error-blinded eyes to the full and glorious Truth, though too late to assist any to win the great prize of joint-heirship in the Kingdom.
THE STRONG DELUSIONS SHALL CAUSE
THE UNWORTHY TO BELIEVE THE UNTRUTH

However, none are ever permitted to be thus overcome who have not in some way been unfaithful to the Truth and hence unworthy of it. Upon all such God has said he would send the strong delusion, so that they shall believe a lie. The Truth being designed for those only who are worthy of it – the elect – all others are bound to lose it. But it is impossible to deceive the “very elect.” God will keep them by his mighty power because of their faithfulness and loyalty to him.

The Lord distinguishes between the nominally elect and the finally elect, and so should we. Not all who have accepted of the Redeemer’s favor of justification from guilt, and have heard and accepted the high calling to joint-heirship with Christ in his Kingdom and glory, will attain that great prize. All such have entered the race as now the nominally elect, and all such are eligible to membership in the glorified Church as the finally elect; but in order to gain that prize they must fulfil the conditions specified when they entered the race – when they in Christ’s name and merit made a covenant with God, to sacrifice themselves in his service. In no other way can they make their calling and election sure.

“LET HIM THAT THINKETH HE
STANDETH TAKE HEED LEST HE FALL”

It is this nominally elect class that is being tried now; and God is now making manifest the secret counsels of the hearts of his people. He puts us all on guard, too, saying, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall”; and telling us to take heed that no man take our crown.

How great is the responsibility of our present position before God, the great Judge of all hearts! He has shown us special favor in revealing to us the wonders of his Plan and in setting before us the grand prize of our high calling. Thus far we were counted worthy of those favors and eligible to the prize of joint-heirship with Christ. How worthy have we proved ourselves since receiving this knowledge? Have we received it with meekness and humility and with a gratitude which manifests itself in active service of the Truth – in proclaiming it to others and in defending it and standing by it nobly in the midst of all the reproaches hurled against it? Have we refused to compromise the Truth to any extent to avoid its otherwise inevitable reproach?

If we are not thus jealous for the Truth we are not worthy of it, and one of the deceptions of this “evil day” will surely number us among its victims; for it is in this time of the Lord’s presence that Satan is to work so mightily, with great power to deceive, with signs of success and with lying wonders of error. His various schemes will have great success, in comparison with which the success of the Truth will seem small; for with these, as with Gideon’s band, it will be a time of sifting, and “who shall be able to stand?”

But let those who stand girt about with Divine Truth fear nothing; the Lord is permitting these delusions that they may serve his own wise and benevolent purposes in the separating of the worthy from the unworthy, and for the manifestation of those who are at heart loyal to him and to his Truth.

 

Righteous Judgment and Criticism

Question.How may we distinguish between “righteous judgment” and criticism?

Answer. – The Lord says, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24.) St. Paul says, “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come.” (I Cor. 4:5.) The question then arises, What is “righteous judgment”? A righteous judgment is a right decision. But since we cannot read the heart, how can we render a right decision? The Scriptures answer that we cannot read one another’s hearts and therefore should not attempt to judge them.

If, then, we cannot judge each other’s hearts, motives or intentions, what can we judge? The answer of Scripture is that we may judge each other’s conduct. If we see one of the Lord’s people doing something improper, we might say, “Dear Brother (or Sister), your conduct would seem to be contrary to the Word of God, and to be bringing forth bad fruitage.” If that person should reply, “It does not seem to me that I am doing wrong,” we must not judge or condemn that one’s heart. But we should judge between good and evil conduct, and at the proper time and place call attention to the matter and leave it there.

There is a difference between judging the heart, which we have no right to do, and judging the conduct, which is right to do. But it does not always follow that our judgment of another’s conduct must always be right. We are all prone to make mistakes.

If we should come to a brother and say, “Dear Brother, your conduct seems to be wrong, but I am sure that you want to do right. Will you explain?” He may be able to show us that the fruitage was good when we thought it bad. We may have misunderstood the matter. We are not to condemn our brother, but to go directly to him and get his view. Then if we cannot agree, we should tell him how it seems to us, and ask him to judge his own heart. We can do no more.

 

Is it Right to Judge?

judgingThe Bible is clear that Christians are supposed to judge matters within the church (1 Cor 5:12-13). Yet most professing Christians refuse to judge even the simplest things according to the Word of God for fear that they would be considered judgmental of brethren. But all throughout the Bible we see many Scriptures that tell us to reason, to think, to be on guard, to test and prove, to test all things, to reprove, rebuke and exhort with all long suffering and doctrine, that the spiritual man judges all things.

Yet due to a common and popular misunderstanding of the context of Matt 7:1,  “Judge ye not lest ye be judged”, most Christians will not proclaim the clear judgments of Christ that we find in the Word of God, that which the Lord Jesus Christ has already judged to be good or bad. Further, these same people often get angry at Christians who do their duty and are willing to be persecuted, those who “earnestly contend for the faith” as we see in Jude 3.

We see clearly in Matthew Chapter 7, verse 1-5 that the context of Jesus’ warning here is not to judge hypocritically:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete [apply], it shall be measured to you again. And why behold you the mote [twig] that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote [twig] out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote [twig] out of your brother’s eye.”

Many lift the above verses out of context to the exclusion of what the rest of the Scriptures teach in the area of judging sin, false doctrine, church-related issues, etc. They falsely justify judging nothing and refuse to proclaim the clear judgments of Christ as given in the Word of God. Certainly we need to clean out our own closets before attempting to help others clean out their closets. It is hypocritical to point out things in the lives of other people if we have not first repented of those very same things ourselves.

Also, Romans 2:1-6 is commonly misinterpreted as a command not to judge anything, when in fact that is not what is being said at all.

“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whosoever you are that judges: for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you that judge do the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And do you think this, O man, that judges them which do such things, and do the same, that you shall escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:” Rom 2:1-6

These verses simply prohibit the act of passing condemning judgments such as sentencing a person as the judge in a court might do, or taking vengeance on them, etc. Romans 2:1-6 in no way contradicts the other Scriptures that, in so many words, clearly tell us to judge rightly according to the Word of God. There is a big difference between these false judgments and properly judging all things according to the Word of God, which is exactly what every Christian is supposed to do.

Additionally, 1 Corinthians 4:5 must not be misinterpreted as a license to avoid proper judgment:

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, 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.”

This verse is referring to things like not presumptuously judging someone’s standing with God. That is obviously not our job. That is for the Lord to judge. This verse is not negating our responsibility to test and prove someone’s teachings and properly judge their doctrine to make sure that it is Scriptural.

Lastly, there are no conflicts in the Bible. We must therefore look for the harmony of all Scripture on a particular subject and then balance those verses together. If we elevate one verse to the exclusion of what the rest of the Bible teaches on the same subject, then we will misinterpret and misapply what the Bible is actually saying.