Judgment and Hope

By | August 26, 2015

Judgement, mercy, and hope

Teaching repentance is the opposite of unrighteous judgment. Unrighteous judgment has to do basically with eternal judgment and judging without capability or jurisdiction. Eternal judgment is not in our purview. That is God’s role. So, to proclaim that someone is hell-bound and without hope is unrighteous judgment. To do so would for be for a person to attempt to take the place of God. And none of us truly knows another person’s illnesses, understanding, and desires. Not like the Lord knows. So how could we possibly judge another person accurately, even if it was righteous to try?

That being said, would you agree that sometimes it feels like teaching repentance is received by many as being judgmental? In reality, teaching repentance is the opposite of unrighteous judgment. That truth becomes clear when we recognize that inherent in the doctrine of repentance is the idea of hope.

Righteous judgment includes discerning and proclaiming the truth. For instance, it is righteous judgment to discern and proclaim that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God” and “the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” It is righteous to promote the truth that “the family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”  The Family: A Proclamation to the World

The confusion happens in the thick of human relationships, which is right where confusion all to often abounds. You are not showing a tendency toward the prohibited unrighteous judgment by firmly standing for God’s revealed truth. The danger would come by suggesting that those who practice things like SSM are going to hell and are without hope. That is not our place. Only God has the capability to judge righteously in regards to eternal judgment.

Our duty is not to judge the eternal destiny of their souls (or our own), but to teach God’s truth with power and humility while always holding the hope of repentance (because of Christ) in view.

I think that we can do a better job of a) standing firm for revealed truth while b) showing a welcoming hand of hope to those who live a life contrary to God’s commandments (including ourselves). If we do these two things, perhaps the criticisms and mockery that could otherwise strike like poison arrows will do little to move us from standing in holy places. We’ll know by the Spirit that we stand on the high ground, even though we’re imperfect.

There will always be those who will not endure sound doctrine, but let’s not let that stop us from standing for God’s revealed truth while continuing to teach the hope of repentance.

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