Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 1 (Part Nineteen)

Is God a God of Peace or War?  
Jehovah is both a warrior and One who loves peace (Exodus 15:3, Romans 15:33). For example David was not allowed to build Jehovah's temple on account of the wars he fought even though they were for God or Israel (1 Chronicles 28:3). Although God ordered war against the Canaanites it was not out of blood thirst, but a judgement of their sex-worship, idolatry and spiritism that he tolerated for about four hundred years. Clearly Jehovah does not delight in violence even when justified.  
Peace is a fruitage of the "wisdom from above" and God's word say: "How good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!" (James 3:17; Psalm 133:1) Although it is Jah’s purpose for men to dwell in peace, he cannot be peaceful to those who wickedly break his commands, so being a God of peace and a God of war is not mutually exclusive; there is no contradiction.  - Psalms 37:11; 46:9 

Can We Judge?  
 Skeptics often say “The Bible says you can judge others, yet Jesus says you cannot.” Although Jesus did say: "You shall not judge, lest you be judged" at Matthew 7:1 (ABPE) it is a stretch to state that he forbad all judgement. Paul tells us at 1 Corinthians 5:12,13 (NASB): "What do have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves." How can that be reconciled with Jesus words?  
Looking at the parallel account at Luke 6:37 we see this important statement: "stop condemning, and you will by no means be condemned. Keep on releasing, and you will be released." The judging we need to avoid is to harbor resentment against others and impugn their actions. We don't have the right to not forgive our brothers when they repent, for if we hold it against them Jehovah will hold our sins against us. – Matthew 6:15 
This differs from what Paul was instructing Christians to do. He told them to judge those inside the congregation. As a devout Jew Paul knew Deuteronomy 1:17 which (NWT) says: "You must not be partial in your judgment. You should hear the small one the same as the great one. You must not be intimidated by men, for the judgement belongs to God." Yes by knowing God's word and fairly applying it in their judgements those appointed to judge the congregation do so for God (2 Chronicles 19:6). They keep the congregation clean, not by judging by their own standards, but Jehovah’s standards. And of course we judge ourselves the best we can and judge what we do with our free time and association which is in harmony with both Jesus’ and Paul’s words.

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