Friday, February 12, 2010

should we admonish

Luke 6.37, Judge not, and you will not be judged, is one of those Scriptures known by almost everyone - Christian and non-Christian alike. Unfortunately it usually employed as a defense when one is caught in sin. It is not. Jesus was addressing the "spirit" behind the judgment. He himself judged (Mt 21.13; 23.13-36; Jn 6.70-71; 8.39-47; etc...) and taught in the tradition of prophets who confronted evil (2 Sam 12.1-12; 1 Kings 18.18; etc...). Even in the Luke 6 passage we are later told the proper process (Lk 6.41-42) for addressing problems and even how to spot bad fruit (Lk 6.43-49).

Confronting in the right spirit is actually love. Allowing sin to continue or hiding behind the fear of judgement is not. BUT - the key is a humble heart motivated by the Spirit of God (Rom 3.9,23; Gal 3.22; 1 John 1.8).

Clearly, Jesus is addressing a wrong kind of judging. A judging which is unforgiving condemnation—a hypercritical, self-righteous, vindictive spirit that continually seeks to uncover the faults of others while overlooking one's own sins.

We are actually commanded to rebuke our brothers when they sin (Lk 17.3-4). And contrary to the wrong spirit Jesus confronts in Lk 6, proper rebuke is followed by forgiveness when preceded by repentance.

John McArthur writes:

Paul made [bearing one another's burdens] a high priority. It was the centerpiece of his admonitions to the Galatian churches. The first half (or more) of Galatians is a defense of justification by faith and a series of arguments against the false teaching that threatened to place those churches in bondage to the Law. In Galatians 5:14 he reminded them: “The whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

How is that love best manifest? “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (6:2).

The first and preeminent example of burden-bearing Paul mentions involves dealing with the burden of another Christian’s sin. “If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness” (v. 1). That, of course, isn’t a different approach from the steps of church discipline Jesus outlined in Matthew 18:15–17. It merely explains how that process is to be carried out (gently and meekly), and it underscores the true goal (restoration, not punishment or public rebuke per se).

In other words, the person restoring the sinning brother isn’t to approach him as if he were a master over him but meekly — as one who is willing to help shoulder the burden so that the one who has stumbled can get to his feet again.

This approach is true love (Pro 27.5-6). It is our enemies that make like we are ok when we sin. Sad so many miss the whole of Scripture.

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