Unconditional Love – BT17
The words of judgment often embrace the Law making us ‘legalistic’
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The many words for “judge” or “judgment” come from the root verb krino or noun krisis where we get our word “crisis,” essentially meaning to separate things or people into parties, right or left, right or wrong, sheep or goats – note the political party similarities of ‘the right’ elephants or the ‘the left’ donkeys/asses – like a judge would, hopefully rightfully/equitably/fairly critiquing, criticizing, and scrutinizing others but hopefully not being partial or showing favorites to some while rejecting others, as a bad judge would do. It treats people as if they were being dragged to court. What’s worse is the attitude of “I can determine a verdict and pass sentence, like a judge would, whether for acquittal of the charges or condemnation and punishment.” The context determines if the judgment is legitimate, but the NT tells people who are not legitimate judges are simply in the wrong for doing this.
The Law itself acts like a judge, doing this same critical, separating judging, sentencing, and condemnation. The Law, lawyers, and the Judge all “shoot their arrows” and “points their fingers” right at people. The Torah/Nomos Law is “a measuring stick” to evaluate people’s relationship with God under the old covenant by “pointing the way, guiding, or instructing” us about God’s will. Due to the weakness of the flesh, the Law did more than just “make sin experientially, relationally ginosko known” (a) so that “sin might be shown to be sin” (b). It actually “increases sin in us” (c) because “in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the Law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death” (d), so “through the commandment sin, sin might become sinful beyond measure” (e). Thus “the dunamis dynamite-like enabling-power of sin is the Law” (f), especially “sin, seizes an opportunity through the commandment deceived us to produce in us all kinds of” sin the commandment prohibits (g) and/thus “through the commandment kills us” (h). Is it any wonder Paul calls it “the Law of sin and death” (i)? It was called “the ministry of death” (j)! Considering how many terrible things are written about the Law in the NT – see Logos Word of God – BT8, it’s crazy that we would want anything to do with it! Yet, Christians still quote and try to follow OT Laws. These ‘legalistic Christians’ are often are the most judgmental because ‘judgment comes from the Law!’ <Notes> a) Romans 7:7, b) Romans 7:13, c) Romans 5:20, d) Romans 7:5, e) Romans 7:13, f) 1 Corinthians 15:56, g) Romans 7:8, h) Romans 7:11, i) Romans 8:2, j) 2 Corinthians 3:7.
But not all forms of judgment are wrong! Some are very right! The Greek differentiates many forms of right and wrong “judgment” that you would never see in your English bibles! We’ve seen that krino/krisis simply means “to judge or separate/divide into 2 piles/parties of right or left, right or wrong,” so the context tells if this is ‘right or wrong’ judgment. However, there are other Greek words that indicate more clearly other kinds of ‘right and wrong’ judgment – see Unconditional-Love – BT2. In face under the completely-different-in-kind, superior New Covenant, we should be relying on discernment of good versus evil by the Holy Spirit – Least Among You – BT7, – BT8, New Covenant Ways – BT16.
As Christian musicians, once again the OT Law can have profoundly negative effects on us, not just to fan the flames of sin, but to make us ‘legalistic Christian’ when we are supposed to portray Grace, not Law! Most of the time we don’t have the ‘right’ to be judging others and so when we do, we are actually doing the same thing Satan does – accuse people by the Law to make them feel guilty. We end up doing His dirty work! There are a few situations where we are called to judge others, but what we should be doing is listening to the discernment of the Holy Spirit!
Lord, give us Your mind and heart to be full of unconditional-love and grace, not the critical, pointing finger of the Law. Fill us with Your discernment by the Holy Spirit so that we can rightfully judge between good and evil in OUR own lives.