Judging righteous judgment

Posted: January 3, 2011 in Devotionals, Shared Thoughts, Study!
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This is a small study I put together on Judging and the need for the addressment of sin in the church.

Because the Word of God states, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation,” it is of fundamental importance to endeavor to interpret the scriptures in their context, i.e., to whom where they written, what subject matter do they address and their time and place, etc., etc.

Since we are going to be dealing with the second letter to the Corinthians, and the third chapter in particular, it is prudent to examine the previous chapter in which Paul does make these comments, “I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all . . . Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.”

It is evident that Paul wrote something to them which he now refers them back to, and what was presented to them was done so in order that he “might know the proof of” them, whether they would be obedient or not. Is this obedience unto him? Or unto the precepts of God’s word? That of course which was first written is I Corinthians, in which Paul dealt with an issue of sin being committed by the same one Paul is now encouraging them to “forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.”

The man and matter are address below in I Cor. Chapter 5 –

I Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Paul makes a very important comment here, “I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed.” Now I know some would like to simplify this comment and just state Paul was walking in the Spirit (to which I agree), but then go on to explain that “walking in the Spirit” was how he knew the judgment of the matter (to which I would disagree). Certainly, Paul did indeed walk in the Spirit, but his judging this matter comes from his knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and righteous precepts therein contained.

Both Leviticus and Deuteronomy clearly proclaimed, “The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover, it is thy father’s nakedness,” and “A man shall not take his father’s wife, nor discover his father’s skirt.” The Scripture also declare , “Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife; because he uncovereth his father’s skirt.” These were part of the scriptures Paul had which he testified to Timothy was “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” It is regrettable that so many believers nowadays are almost willing to rip the Old Testament out of their Bibles as irrelevant, yet here is a undeniable incident where the apostle is  moving in his apostolic authority towards the church because of them.

This person at Corinth had obviously taken his stepmother to wife, and Paul affirms what the scriptures says, that the man who does this is perceptually cursed by the Word of God, and therefore the Corinthians should “deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

These are very strong words. Try and imagine how your church, or most churches today would deal with this situation; two people who had joined the church and it becomes known that the man’s wife was actually the younger wife of the man’s deceased father? But yet they fell in love and were married and here they are now members of the church? How would they deal with it today? Would they say, “Well . . . against such there is no law since the law was abolished, done away with, nailed to the cross. Therefore, we welcome these two as precious new members of the church?”

It is evident that the most literate apostle of Jesus Christ judges this man and the situation according to the documented revelations of God’s righteous precepts in the Mosaic and Levitical laws and instructed the church to, not only disassociate themselves with him, but to prayerfully deliver him over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that he spirit might be saved.

Paul declares to them, rather commands them –

I Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Paul affirms the righteous moral precepts of the OT and then tells them not to keep our new Passover with “the old leaven.” We are not to keep the New Covenant with “old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

In the old days following the Passover was the seven day “feast of unleaven bread.” As was the custom, the Jews would literally search their houses for their old leaven prior to the passover and throw it out, sweeping every part clean. Paul here reveals that we need to purge the house of God, not from the ceremonial “old leaven” of literal bread, but from that which is contrary to truth and righteous living, referring to such a lifestyle as “the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

He does affirm to them, “Therefore let us keep the feast . . .” affirming Christ as our passover, and our need to recognize Him as such, but not with ceremonial bread or rituals, but sincerity and truth.”

1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Jesus warned the disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” warning them against hypocrisy and a vain outward religion. Jesus rebuked them sharply saying “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”

The scribes and the Pharisees had fulfilled the ceremonial/ritual part of the law which Jesus affirmed they should not “leave the other undone,” yet they neglected the moral part of it. He instructed them to “cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may truly be clean also.” They needed to keep the moral part of God’s righteous precepts in “sincerity and truth” before any of the ceremonies and rituals that were then required would be acknowledged as obedience by God.

It was this type of obedience with the Corinthians that was obviously a source of joy to the Apostle Paul-

II Cor. 2:8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

His letter had brought forth a “godly sorrow” and not a “sorrow of the world.” Godly sorrow is a sorrow caused by a true remorse in those who realized that their sins have been against God (and not just because they are unhappy with inconvenient circumstances) and therefore they seek God’s mercies and grace in order that they correct that situation through repentance and be reconciled unto God.

Paul attests this is what indeed took place, “What carefulness it wrought in you . . . what clearing of yourselves . . . in all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” Now as the Psalmist would say, “Selah” which means, “Pause, think on this.” So listen again to Paul’s words, “what clearing of yourselves . . . in all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” We know by scripture that all this was accomplished because (1) they heard the word of God, (2) were convicted, (3) repented and (4) were obedient unto God (5) and thus receiving His mercy and forgiveness.

It is also very noteworthy Paul’s words in II Corinthians 7:12, “Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.”

Paul was not saying he did not care for the one who had did the wrong, for he instructs them to receive him again and reaffirm their love for him. Rather Paul is stating his care for them was to protect them from their falling away from the truth by accepting such transgressions against God’s precepts in the church. He knew if it went permitted, it would corrupt the whole Church and render her ineffective with the truth of the scriptures to turn people from their sins.

We can sense Paul’s concern and heaviness of heart because of the weightiness of his words unto them-

II Co 2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,
13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.

Paul, after having written the first letter, had waited eagerly to hear what effect it had on the Corinthians. The burden of his concern was ease when a particular door to preach the Gospel open up. Yet he still stated he had, “no rest in my spirit.” Paul was greatly concerned because of the unselfish love he had for the Church of Corinth and continued to be greatly distressed because he did not find Titus to give him an account of their state. “But taking my leave of them” Paul went “from thence into Macedonia,” expecting to find Titus there, and there Titus was able to give Paul a joyous account of their state, (as witnessed later in his 2nd letter to them).

2 Co 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
4 Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

This gets us to Chapter three where Paul begins by verifying Titus and his own credibility, “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.”

He explains that they do not need something written down somewhere to affirm who they are. They were able ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ as witnessed by the very establishment of the Church of Corinth –

2 Co 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.

What I would like to stress here is that the “tables of stone” here in this verse do not necessarily denote the Ten Commandments. Admittedly, the ten commandments are addressed soon hereafter, but that does not require it to mean it is what is intended to be understood here, rather it is a comparison to something written or established as a permanent witness. The phrase, “tables of stone” was a frequent expression of the rabbinical writers referring to the unalterable state of a contract, or covenant. As many will witness, a lot of contracts actually refer to themselves in their writing as a covenant between the two (or more) parties.

The engraving of something in stone was to depict the immutableness of the degree, mandate, or agreement being established. Even today we use the phrase “written in stone,” or actually it seems to be a more popular saying “it is NOT written in stone” to convey the thoughts of some things being unchangeable, or changeable. This of course finds meaning within the Ten Commandments written in stone by the finger of God Himself, signifying the unchanging aspect of His will/commands for humanity.

But there in 2 Co. 3:3, Paul is affirming the Corinthian church’s existence was more proof to the working of God through their ministries than a monument erected and engraved thereupon. For the believers of Corinth had responded to Paul’s preaching with obedience and it had worked to the restoration of this one who was given to such a blatant sin against God and His word, having taken his father’s mother for his own wife.

This act of obedience on their part and the resulting repentance on the part of the sinner was followed by the expressed desire by Paul for them to forgive and restore the man as evidence of the working of the “Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” Meaning their “hearing” the Gospel just did not define the distinction between sin and righteousness, but it enabled those hearers to work righteousness – meaning to find repentance and restoration to God via obedience to God’s word because of Christ.

2 Co 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

This is the distinction of power and grace between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The Old Covenant clearly defined God’s will, yet it did not have a means whereby the transgressor could truly be freed from his sin. Every year there was actually a recalling all previous sins one had committed into remembrance at the time of that year’s sin offering.

Heb. 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

I could easily go off on Hebrews here . . . but I will restrain myself. Christ’s sacrificial death offers to humanity what all those previously mandated animal sacrifices never could, freedom from past sins. Hence the man guilty of this sin in Corinth could be forgiven and freed, and restored to the body of Christ.

Prior to Christ, the Word of God defined the sin and declared this man “Cursed.” Here was where the Ten Commandments had their limitations, they clearly defined that which would kill man, sin. But there was not an eleventh commandment “And if thou breaketh one of these ten, doeth this eleventh commandment and thou shalt live thereby . . .”

Nowhere here does Paul ever negate the Ten Commandments, he simply clarifies their limitations, that on their own (apart from the work of Christ and the Spirit that raised Him from the dead) they “kill” the sinner by convicting them of sin. Nonetheless, Paul still declares the Ten Commandments to be “glorious.”

II Cor 3:7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

Now I know that it is going to be asked by some, “Can’t you see in verses 7 and 11, that it says that it was done away with?” Well, good question, but let’s look at what exactly is being said.

First, Paul acknowledges the Ten Commandments, apart from the Spirit of Christ and the work of the Cross, to be a “ministration of death.” Meaning as previously stated before, it still functions as it was intended, to revealed the will of God and convicted sinners . . . and that the wages of sin is death. Nevertheless, Paul still declared the Ten Commandments were so glorious “that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away.”

Let’s look at Moses and what that “glory was to be done away.”

Exodus 34:29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while He talked with him.
30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.
33 And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.
34 But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.

What is interesting is that it was the face of Moses that conveyed the glory of the Ten Commandments to the people. His face “shone” or radiated the glory of God. So much so that the people could not stand to look at Moses face. So what did Moses do? He placed a veil over his face. When Moses went in to talk to the God, he removed the veil and spoke face to face to God, when he went out to the people Moses replaced the veil so that they could not see his face. Correct?

Now it pays to ask, where in scripture does it tell us Moses ever put away this veil? It doesn’t. No where does the scriptures declare Moses ever went back to showing his face to the people. Yet, it is very likely that Moses face did return to it’s normal state. The glory covered by the veil that radiated through Moses face was done away with, yet not to the awareness of the people. Biblical history fails to document such.

Therefore, when Paul states, “Moses . . . put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.” It was the glory manifested in the face of Moses which was abolished, not the glory of God’s word. What scripture does tell us about the glory of the Ten Commandments “which was made glorious” is simply that is appeared to “had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.”

Again, this is a “Selah,” pause and consider this. Do you hear what is being said here? The Ten Commandments only had “no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.”

Let me reason this with you, and answer to yourselves honestly.

Do the stars cease to shine because the sun has risen? Or do they fade because of the light which is greater?

The glorious truth of the Gospel is simply out-shining God’s Royal Law engraven in stone which showed the righteous will of God. However the Commandments could not enable the hearers thereof to keep it, but could only define sin and make man who transgressed them “cursed” before God . . . but now there was a remedy by the body of Jesus Christ and the preaching of the Glorious Gospel.

Hebrew 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
5 Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me:
6 In [ceremoinal] burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God.
8 Above when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second.
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

We can with open face read the words of God and find forgiveness because of Jesus’ sacrificial death for our redemption. For us the veil has been taken away so that we see the glory of the Gospel.

II Cor. 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.
15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.
16 Nevertheless when it [the repentant heart] shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.
17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

What the atoning blood of our glorious Savior did for us was bring us “liberty,” for it has allowed our earthy temples (bodies) to be sanctified and indwelt by the Lord. Therefore, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” But our liberty is from what? Our SIN!

Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I hope study this will benefit some.

“Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

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