With the news of Bruce Jenner’s tragic decision and the recent passage of yet another U.S. law that defies our Beloved GOD’s WORD, I have heard many professing christians citing this quote from Billy Graham as their position for supporting those who live ungodly lives.
This is a perfect example of our Beloved LORD GOD’s commandment in Proverbs 4:7:
The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;
And with all your acquiring, get understanding.
It is not enough to quote The WORD of GOD, you must understand The WORD of GOD. To understand The WORD of GOD you must know what HE means by completely grasping or perceiving clearly what HE has said. This comes by four ways occurring in conjunction:
- Being filled with or having HIS Holy SPIRIT dwell within your inner man (Jhn 14:23, Rom 8:9, 1 Cor 3:16, 2 Cor 6:16)
- Knowing HIS WORD by daily study (Deut 17:18-20, Prov 8:34, 2 Tim 2:15) and help from HIS Holy SPIRIT WHOM dwells within you (Jhn 14:26, 1 Jhn 2:27).
- Being taught by a teacher who loves The LORD, studies HIS WORD, practices HIS WORD and only teaches from HIS WORD (Ezra 7:10, Neh 8:1-8).
- Personally confirming the public message by examining the Scriptures cited for truth, context and relevance (Acts 17:11).
Truly we have been called to love our GOD (Deu 6:5, Matt 22:37-39), HIS WORD (Psa 119:47-48, Psa 119:97, 127, 159, 165, 167), our brethren (1 Pet 1:22, 1 Jhn 4:19-21) and our enemies (Luk 6:27-36). But we must also hate evil (Psa 97:10, Prov 16:6, Rom 12:9, 1 Thess 5:21-22, 3 Jhn 1:11) and do not call what is evil good (Isa 5:20-21, Prov 17:15, Amos 5:6-7).
We have indeed been called to judge. Before you close down and refuse to listen to anymore, let us define what it means to judge. We will not look at the definition of one who holds office as a judge, but we will look at the behavior inherent in judging. To judge is to:
- condemn, criticize or censure
- form an opinion or estimation after careful consideration
We are not called to condemn, criticize or censure, but we are called to form an opinion or estimation after careful consideration. Our Beloved LORD GOD has called us to judge with righteous judgment (Jhn 7:24). How do we do that? By not trusting ourselves but trusting our GOD and HIS WORD (Prov 3:5-8, Prov 28:25-26). Our Beloved LORD GOD shows us how to form a right opinion through observation in Matt 7:15-20 especially when tied to Gal 5:16-25, 1 Jhn 2:29 and 1 Jhn 3:4-10.
So is it the Holy SPIRIT’s job to convict? Indeed, but you should understand that The Holy SPIRIT of GOD which dwells in us will also bring conviction through us. This conviction occurs in two ways:
- Our CHRIST filled lives gives off a fragrance; to those who are being saved we are a sweet smell of life leading to more life; to those who are headed to destruction we are the stench of death leading only to more death (2 Cor 2:14-16). For those who love our Beloved LORD GOD and those who are seeking HIM, a SPIRIT filled Christian’s life attracts them to that Christian much like a hungry man is attracted to the smells of fresh bread being baked in a bakery. But to the ungodly and disobedient a SPIRIT filled Christian’s life repels them and convicts their own conscience. One who chooses to obey GOD, living righteously, brings the ungodly and disobedient to a realization of their guilt. For example, in Romans 12:17-21 our Beloved LORD GOD speaks to us about never repaying evil with evil. In fact HE tells us to overcome evil with good, and gives us an example where feeding and providing drink to an enemy brings burning pangs of guilt and shame to that enemy. Notice it is not in what was said, but what was done. Our holy behavior (which can come only through living a SPIRIT filled life) convicts and even changes those who do not know HIM (1 Pet 1:14-16, 1 Pet 2:11-12, 1 Pet 3:1-2, 14-16).
- Through HIS WORD which HE sends us to speak in HIS presence (2 Cor 2:17). Our Beloved LORD GOD’s WORD is living and active. HIS WORD is not only grain which provides food and gives life (Jer 23:28, Jhn 6:31-35), but HIS WORD also convicts as fire shining light into a soul darkened by sin, as a hammer shattering a heart of stone, and a double edged sword piercing or cutting through everything, exposing the innermost thoughts and desires of the listener (Jer 23:29, Heb 4:12). If the message you deliver does not bring change in the listener, is your message really from our Beloved LORD GOD WHOSE WORD does not come back to HIM without accomplishing what HE desired (Isa 55:10-11)?
When the prophet Isaiah came into the presence of our HOLY and Beloved LORD GOD, he was convicted and confessed his sinfulness (Isa 6:1-8), when the apostle Peter saw what was accomplished in 14 words from our much loved LORD JESUS CHIRST that couldn’t be done by him and his fellow fisherman all night long, he too was convicted and confessed his sinfulness (Luk 5:1-11). When both men came into the presence of our Wonderful GOD and SAVIOR, they were changed, leaving their former lives behind. If a sinner can continually come into your presence or listen to your message and not be convicted or repelled, examine both yourself and your teachings (Psa 26:2, Psa 119:59, Psa 139:23-24, Lam 3:40, 2 Cor 13:5).
If you have been examined and found to be faithful, live a life above reproach, teach messages concerning righteousness and the consequences of sin, yet the people you have been sent to, continue to remain in a hardened state; be encouraged and remain faithful. Our much loved LORD GOD has not forgotten you, the work, and love you have shown toward HIS NAME (Heb 6:10-12). Remember our Beloved GOD is merciful, and it is not HIS desire that one should perish. You are part of the mercy our GOD is extending on their behalves. HE has sent you like many others with HIS message of obedience (Jer 7:21-28). Though HE knows they will refuse salvation, HIS mercy still sends us to them. You are in the company of Noah, Ezekiel, Isaiah and many others.
Noah a preacher of righteousness, in obedience built an ark of salvation that only his family would seek safety in (2 Pet 2:5, Gen 6:13-22, Heb 11:7). Ezekiel ministered to people who came and heard the message but ignored it and continued in their sin (Eze 33:30-33). And Isaiah was sent to, a people who would continue in their hardened state despite his 62 years of continual ministry (Isa 6:9-10).
When Isaiah asked “how long” he would minister to a people who would ignore the message, our Beloved LORD GOD told him “until the devastation and desolation was complete” (Isa 6:11-12). And indeed many years later, both Judah and it’s capital Jerusalem, were left desolate and the people were taken into captivity by Babylon as witnessed by the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 11:9-14, Lam chapters 1-4).
Those who sow in tears
Shall reap with joyful shouting
He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him