Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 8:37 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song “As the Deer” in my mind this morning, and then just before I sat down to have my QT with the Lord, he put the song “Have Thine Own Way” in my mind. As the Deer / Martin J. Nystrom Based off Psalm 42:1 As the deer panteth for the water So my soul longeth after You You alone are my heart's desire And I long to worship You You alone are my strength, my shield To You alone may my spirit yield.. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 2 (NIV): http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%202&version=NIV Judging The term “judgment” is used in scripture in various contexts, some of which involve a prohibition to judge, and others of which do not. To judge merely means “to form an opinion of somebody or something, especially after thought or consideration” (Encarta); or to consider, assess, ascertain or to evaluate something, usually drawing some type of conclusion or a possible thought or opinion on something. For instance, we make judgments every day as to what to wear, what to eat, what order in which to do our work, whether to go here or there, buy this or that, etc. Scripture teaches that we are to judge (discern) good and bad (evil), and the church is supposed to judge unrepentant sin within the church. The kinds of judging we are warned against are hypocritical, which is the context here, and false judgments based upon lies, hearsay, personal prejudice and opinion, and/or the values, standards and thinking of humans, and/or gossip, etc. These types of judgment often end up condemning others, or result in slanderous remarks intended to cause harm to others, rather than for the purpose of correction and/or education, with the goal or hope of truth being revealed and the transformation of human lives away from sin to God. Hypocrisy In the first chapter of Romans we learned that, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to obedience coming from our faith, we are called to be God’s holy people, set apart for him and for his work, and we are called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to encourage (inspire, hearten, urge, support, foster, and persuade) one another in the true faith. We also learned that the righteous will live (as their daily way of living) by faith. In contrast to those who are living by faith in Jesus Christ, the passage of scripture then describes the wicked, who I believe can include those who profess Christ as Savior, or even those who once made Christ their Lord, but have since drifted away from pure devotion to their Lord back to living sinful lifestyles. These are people who know about God, and who can see his divine nature, and perhaps have even made a profession of faith and are well-versed in scripture and Biblical doctrine, and yet have suppressed the truth they know in order to follow after their own sinful and fleshly desires. They are not honoring, valuing, revering, respecting and obeying their Lord who created them for a purpose. Instead, they exchange the truth of God for a lie and they worship and serve created things instead of their creator. So, at some point, God gives them over to do what they want to do. The implication here, to me, is that many who are truly among the wicked and godless, yet think they are righteous, are guilty of condemning other wicked and godless people for doing the same things that they do, only while trying to pretend that they are somehow more righteous. Not only that, but they think they are guides for the blind and lights for those who are in the dark, and yet they do the very things they teach others not to do. We who are teachers of the word must be so careful to daily examine our own hearts and minds so that we are not guilty of not teaching ourselves. The Pharisees were particularly guilty of this during the time of Jesus and the early church. So, this is a warning, not only against hypocritical judging, but also against partaking in wickedness when we claim to know Christ. A True Follower All throughout the New Testament God makes it clear that being a follower of Christ, though not implying a life of perfection, is a life that is devoted to God/Christ and to doing his will, that turns away from sin, and that follows Christ in obedience. And here, again, we read that for those who are self-seeking, who reject the truth and who follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. Yet for those who persist in following Christ in obedience, and who seek after the things of God, they will have eternal life. This is not legalism and it is not works-based salvation. Jesus said that coming to him means death to sin and self (daily), and it means a walk of obedience and surrender to his will for our lives (See Lu. 9:23-25). Following our Lord in obedience is not the same as trying to earn our way to heaven by following a set of rules. Salvation is not attained through following a list of external rules and requirements. Salvation is attained by God’s grace, through Jesus’ blood sacrifice for sins, and through faith, all of which are gifts from God. Yet, two primary components of faith, according to scripture, are turning from sin and walking in obedience to God. This is circumcision of the heart, and it is by the Spirit, yet it requires that we cooperate fully with that work (see Lu. 9:23-25; Ep. 4:17-24; Gl. 2:20; Rm. 6; Ac. 26:16-18). May we all be true followers of Christ, and not be guilty of being hypocritical liars who falsely judge others. Have Thine Own Way, Lord / Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934 George C. Stebbins, 1846-1945 / Tune: ADELAIDE, Meter: 54.54 D Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, While I am waiting, yielded and still. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Search me and try me, Master, today! Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now, As in Thy presence humbly I bow. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Wounded and weary, help me I pray! Power, all power, surely is Thine! Touch me and heal me, Savior divine! Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Hold o'er my being absolute sway. Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me!