The cult of “Do not Judge”

The cult of “Do not Judge”

This article is being written on behalf of all the ministries and people that defend the faith with the truth and are accused of judging because they test those who teach falsely with the Word of God.

The premise- Does God tell us not to judge?

The Bible’s answer- No He does not.

John 7:24 Jesus says: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” What Jesus does tell us is not to judge by our own opinions, but instead judge by the word of God, that is what it means to judge righteously. He always encouraged the people to judge. God told Israel to judge the prophets in the Old Testament. He had the true prophets judge the false but the people reacted saying the very same things people are saying today. Your being negative oh you never have anything good to say. In the New Testament we are told to judge prophecy, to discern, to test the spirits and we are told to test ALL things. We are told to do this because it helps keep us away from what is false and evil. The apostle Paul showed us how to judge so there would be no second guesswork. The apostle Paul said, “If anyone preaches another gospel let him be accursed” Would anyone say to Paul’s face “your judging.” In 2 Thess. 3:14-15 “And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” Strong guidelines that many avoid to do today. These are done not to condemn but to bring repentance and restoration.

Lets let God decide whose right or wrong. Does this sound familiar? Except this particular statement was from a Muslim. But it can be anyone from any religion. Even Christians say we should not pursue a matter to find the truth. I realize that when one’s favorite teacher or leader is questioned the initial human response can be one of agitation and turn to over emotionalism. But when feelings do not subside and escalate into anger, rage, and maliciousness, it is not godly at all. Despite that they believe they have a cause to protect their teacher, it is not advantageous for anyone to have their emotions rule if they are trying to arrive at the truth.

There has been a trend going on for a number of years that has dulled the spiritual senses of the church and leavened the convictions of many a Christian. It has risen to new heights as of late where if anyone has anything to say about another they are told, “Don’t judge, “touch not my anointed” “do my prophets no harm” etc. Maybe if some of the people that quote these verses would look at what they actually say “in context,” they wouldn’t have such flawed arguments, they would not find themselves becoming entangled emotionally. Its not just finding a few words to prove a position, but what do they mean in the Scripture in its context and can they apply to us today.

What is ironic is that to tell people they are judgmental is to judge them. What people are doing is recommending for us not to judge by the word of God, but dispense with any discernment, just like they do it. Some even threaten and curse those who test because they cannot deal with the Scriptural proof presented to them. Christians are not to threaten or curse others because they disagree. Neither should they be warning that they are going to prayer, as though God will answer their prayer of vengeance and avenge the persons teaching that was examined and found false. The facts more often than not are; those who say not to judge are incredibly more judgmental then those they accuse of judging.

One person wrote, “Whether _______ is right or wrong is not up to you to discuss with anyone.” Lets look at this illogical statement. Now we can never discuss doctrine and peoples teachings. This means they too cannot discuss anything that they think, even if it is beneficial! But Heb.6:1-3 tells us we can discuss doctrine. “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.” In other words many of these things should be settled, but there are many things that are not.

What I have found is very few challenge back quoting from the Bible to prove their position. Rarely do they say this person does not teach this or you misunderstood, he really means this. What they argue is just don’t test it, or don’t say this because I know such and such for years and they are doing great things for God. That’s judging isn’t it? And it is done by appearance. Then when this does not work they will respond by calling names and threatening people using Bible cliché’s as “don’t judge” “don’t touch God’s anointed,” “do my prophets no harm,” etc., all taken out of context. If they were to think biblically they would realize we are all anointed, not just some, and to come against another brother or sister that is trying to obey Scripture means they too are coming against God’s anointed. Everyone in the body of Christ is anointed; nonetheless what someone teaches is to be tested. How do we know this? Paul commended the Thessalonians for doing so, even when it was Paul himself that was being examined by Scripture (Acts 17:11). That is a right Spirit.

So many have been indoctrinated into the constraint of don’t say anything against another no matter how far off they are. Let God will deal with them. If this were true, then why are we given all the commands in Scripture to judge? Why all the warnings that deception and falsehood will permeate the Church in the end and we are to be on guard? We are told to deal with it and not allow it to continue. It’s not to say that we make mountains out of molehills, but some are already mountains that need to be moved. So lets speak to the mountain, speak to those who congregate at the foot of it and tell them.

We should take note, we all judge things all day: let me give some examples. When you sit down you make sure you’re comfortable, you’re judging whether or not you are comfortable. When you eat food at restaurant you judge whether it taste good or bad, and you judge the service you were given. When you bring your car to a mechanic you look for a good one and then you judge if he did a good job. When you buy a product you make sure it works as advertised. When you receive bills in the mail you judge whether they were recorded right. Even in conversations you judge whether someone is telling the truth. So we judge not only every day, but throughout the day. You can’t help but judge! All these things mentioned do not necessarily have an affect on your spiritual life. But the things that actually can affect your spiritual life people are saying, “don’t judge.” If ever a lie of the Devil was told this was it. When the Devil tempted Eve he hoped that she would not judge what he was saying with what God had already spoke. During the conversation (Gen.3) she began to challenge him by the word of God but he responded by bringing doubt on God’s word, saying “has God said?” By the time he was finished she believed the Devil over what God said. She didn’t judge, and instead she and Adam were judged!

What Has God said?

Jethro gave advice after seeing Moses was going to be burnt out on ruling. Moses responded in Deut. 1:15-18 “So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and knowledgeable men, and made them heads over you, leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, leaders of tens, and officers for your tribes. “Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. ‘You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.’ “And I commanded you at that time all the things which you should do.” This was the law to Israel and a principle of how they were to live. So they were to judge even the menial matters among themselves. This is made clearer in the New Testament about doctrine.

This is again repeated in Deut.16:18-19 “You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the LORD your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment.” You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.”

Why are some of the most drastic things said by famous people ignored, these scriptures show that it is because people are partial, loyal to the renowned, not caring if they are wrong or right. A bribe can be money or it can be other things such as promises or blessings that will be lost. The outcome is that it twists the words of the righteous when they are manipulated not to say the truth.

Judges 2:18-19 “And when the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed them and harassed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.” The judges were to implement the commands from the word. Notice what happens when there is no judgment to decide what is right or wrong, the people do what they feel like and reap the consequences. The end of the book of judges it tells us what happened, every man did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6, 21:25).

The judges were restored under Jehoshaphat king of Judah. 2 Chron.19:4-7 “So Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem; and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the mountains of Ephraim, and brought them back to the LORD God of their fathers. Then he set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, “Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment.” Now therefore, let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.”

For even Asaph said in Ps. 82:1-4 “God stands in the congregation of the mighty; he judges among the gods. How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? Selah “Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.” People are defenseless from the wicked when they put aside judgment. Today there are many people that are abused by those who Lord it over them, by manipulation, by teachings and promises that never come true. If you have a heart of compassion you cannot just sit idly by while this takes place, even to those you may not know personally. It is being done to the body of Christ and the body of Christ needs to say something.

What did Jesus actually say on judging?

Protectors of false teachers will say Jesus said, “not to Judge,” quoting Matthew 7:1, therefore that we cannot “judge.” At first glance it appears that Jesus does forbid judging, but lets continue to read the passage. Matthew 7:1-5: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?” Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

In other words you can judge as along as you are not doing the same thing. If you want to help another and have taken care of yourself in this area, then you are able to see and operate on your brother. Jesus does not say don’t operate under any circumstances, but allows us to remove the speck when we can see. But Jesus goes on and says in v:6: “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” What He is saying is that we need to make sure whom we are engaged with. When you try to correct someone with the Holy Word and they are haters of truth they will not receive the pearls and will turn on you. So we are to weigh out whom we give the Word of God out to.

Christ kept this theme throughout His ministry rebuking the people in Luke 12:55-57 “And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is.” Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time? “Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right?” This was said right after Jesus lectured on His coming, how it would bring division, not unity (Luke 12:56-57).

Jesus also said “Beware of false prophets!” (Matthew 7:15) this is a warning but comes as a command from our Lord. But how could we “beware” of “false prophets” unless we test what they say? Instead of obeying what Jesus said, some actually ignore this and support them. How? By saying, “don’t test it,” “don’t touch God’s anointed.” They do this because they have been taught “by them” not to question them. Loyalty and respect are good qualities but we cannot fall into the trap that because so and so was in ministry for 20-40 years or we know them personally that they can’t say something terribly wrong. True men of God are willing to be corrected from the Word, no matter who spoke a certain teaching or prophecy.

“Ye shall know them by their fruits,” Christ said (Matthew 7:16). In judging their “fruits,” we must judge by God’s Word. So what is fruit? Well to understand fruit we need to take a few steps backwards. The seed is the word of God, it is what gives us the new life. As it grows in us we mature until we become like a tree (Psalm 1), for a tree bears fruit. Christ is using a natural example of a spiritual principle– a mature tree bears fruit. If the seed is the word, than the tree and the roots of the tree must be of the word. So a good tree bears good fruit. The fruit can’t be good if it is not based on the word, in other words they need to have correct doctrine and teach right to have good fruit. This does not mean one is right on everything but they will hold to the core teachings and are consistent in these. They will not say one thing one time, and contradict themselves another time.

In the New Testament this statement sums up what Jesus meant on judging. In John 7:24 says: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Jesus is saying we can “judge” only do it correctly, not by what you see or hear but by the Word of truth. Just because you don’t want to judge does not mean you have the right to tell others not to. To accuse others of doing what the Bible tells us to do– is to judge without a righteous judgment.

Jesus said in John 5:30 “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” To seek God’s will in a matter is to go to Scripture to see what he says on something. Jesus had perfect judgment because he heard from the Father. He also delivered this word to us and says it is not only His Word but the Fathers (Jn.14:24). So if the Word of God is used correctly it is not you or I judging but God, therefore it becomes a righteous judgment.

Jesus again made it clear how to judge unrighteously “You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. “And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me” (John 8:15-16). Jesus did not judge by appearances, He was able to know the heart. While we do not have the same ability, He has given us directions on how we can judge and be accurate in it. A crooked stick by itself may not show that it is bent, but it will always be seen as crooked when laid next to the straight stick of the word.

Paul wrote in Phil. 3:15-17 “Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule let us be of the same mind. Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.” Paul used himself and the other apostles as our physical examples in everything. Paul could not deal individually with the many false teachers springing up like weeds in the different areas. Paul said to follow his example as he followed Christ. Christ openly showed what is false, so did Paul, and so did the other apostles. Much of the New Testament was written to publicly correct false teaching within the Church itself. Every second epistle written by an apostle is for correction or judging false doctrine. In 2 Timothy 4:10, Paul judges and warns about a man named Demas. Later in the same epistle (2:17) he warns of the heresies of two others naming them. Paul did a lot of judging and warning when it came to false teachers that could influence the church, because he cared. What if Paul didn’t judge and allowed Alexander to continue teaching, what if Peter let Simon Magus stay in the Church? Think it through!

We also have permission to judge false doctrine, and those who really care do so.

What about love?

John the Baptist called both the Pharisees and Sadducees “a generation of Vipers” (snakes) (Matt. 3:7), he rebuked Herod the king. Today, he would be accused of being unloving, unkind, no respect for leaders and most of all un-Christian. Jesus and Paul would also be accused of being judgmental if one would examine what they actually said. I believe God has been training the Church to recognize error and deception because the real deception that could deceive the elect may be just around the corner. If you can’t judge today’s falsehood you will certainly be unable to tomorrow when things escalate. Is it now unloving to stop someone from going over cliff when you already know where the road ends.

How else do you protect the sheep if you do not speak out? Let me give a simple example: If someone is selling a false product in your city and numerous people are buying it and becoming sick. What would you do? What if you tried to go to the manufacturer but he would not meet with you because he is an important man in the community and you are not? Do you keep silent and just let it go or is it your duty to let others know? James says not to do something you know is right is sin. So you are sinning if you have any idea it could be wrong. Here in lies the problem, the people who say don’t judge do this for protection of their teachers. But they will often admit that they know there are things wrong, but they have not come to the conclusion of how wrong it is.

The Apostle Paul also writes: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all discernment (judgment) that you may approve things that are excellent in God’s sight.” It is this same love that he applies to Eph. 4:14-15 “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ” This truth would be the word that would challenge the words from deceivers who are deceived and affecting the body with “winds of doctrine.”

We are to identify certain people for the brethren’s own safety. We are to identify false teachers for the purpose of protecting the sheep in Christ’s Church, and we certainly don’t need to apologize for this. We are our brothers keeper. This love is a discriminating love, a love that cares enough for others and is not concerned with what people think of you, especially when you know that you are right from the Word.

Hanging with people who teach falsely will rub off on you, the cliché for self protection “touch not my anointed” becomes “let it be,” it is grinded into the followers and moaned by them toward those who have anything to say about their favorite teachers. One needs to hear both sides before they can make a just decision. Find the proof that what they teach is from the Bible and not from their own imagination of what they think the Bible says.

Lets look at what those who say not to judge are actually saying the Word of God states, next to what the Word of God actually says.

Those who say “Don’t judge”– 1 Thess. 5:21-22 “Don’t Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”

The BIBLE-1Thess. 5:21-22 “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”

Is it evil to test-NO it is not! We are told to test ALL things, not just pick and choose what and when to test. Now this does not mean we become the judge and jury or walk around with a critical eye on everything. It means we are to be sober and vigilant and not take for granted that everything said is the Gospel.

Those who say “Don’t judge”– I John 4:1-3 “Beloved, do believe every spirit, don’t test the spirits, whether they are of God”

The BIBLE– I John 4:1-3 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

“Do my prophets no harm.” Meant not to lay hands on them. False prophets were to be rejected and stoned in the Old Testament (Deut.18:20). Instead , Israel killed the true prophets (Mt.23:35-37). No one is laying hands on anyone today. The Bible tells us to judge prophets. 1 Cor. 14:29 “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.” It does not just say let only the other prophets judge, but the “others.” These others may have the gift of prophecy or those gifted in the word and Spirit. This would also relate to 1 Cor.12:10 which tells us one of the gifts of the Spirit is a discerning of spirits. (judging, determining what is from God or not). Exactly what John writes in I John 4:1-3 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God” Here again we are told to judge, and in this case it could mean the whole congregation. The “discerning of spirits” is probably the most needed gift in the end times where Jesus said many false prophets and teachers would be around us. When there is a need God raises up a standard. As Paul continues to write “the spirit of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” This does not mean we turn over a meeting to false prophets to validate the prior false prophets that spoke. Today we have a repetition of the error of the people in Jeremiah’s time “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jer. 5:30-31) He asks a question that we need to answer today. What will you do?

No person is to be prevented from the right of investigating and comparing with the Bible what is said. Who would desire to prohibit the people from a full and free examination of what is said? Certainly it would not be God who tells us to judge in the Word. The guideline of testing and judging stresses the importance of truth being accepted and error being rejected. It gives accountability for what one says as a teacher to many people, this reduces the margin of error spread to the people.

Believers are not to avoid judging, just avoid judging with a final condemnation (the eternal destiny of someone). This word judge (Greek-krino) is used over 80 times in the New Testament and it means to call in question, discern, conclude, decree, and determine. The meaning does not mean to condemn in judgment; the context shows we are responsible to correctly evaluate a thing or an act. It does not mean to glean the truth and ignore the false because their good outweighs the bad. We cannot always judge someone’s motives, only God has this kind ability. We are commanded to judge what they spoke, their teachings. God is the ultimate judge on eternal life but we the church are to be keepers of the truth, to do this one must test what is said and reject falsehood.

Heb. 5:12-14 “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

The author tells us that believers who are “mature,” are those who have trained themselves to exercise judgment, to discern between good and evil through the Word, not by feelings. That is judging; those who do not judge are babes in the word. One of the ways to show you are spiritually mature is to seek out a matter on its own without being persuaded by public opinions or the status of a person. People today often trust a person’s position or fame more than the Holy Spirits discernment given in the Word. Error can only be seen as error only when it is measured against the truth. This means judging. If you accept anything everyone says because of who they are you are just a sponge that will soak up both the good and the bad equally. Then the only way we can get rid of the bad is for God to wring it out of you. That is not always a pleasant experience.

When we ignore the false we are helping the devil’s cause because the truth becomes hidden. The Devil hates the truth because it exposes anything that is false: sometimes it is well hidden. Jesus warned us that false prophets and false disciples would arise and He told us how to know the difference. When somebody says that you are judging, they are wrong, we are inspecting the fruit that comes from the tree and we are told to do so. When we decide what someone is teaching is wrong by the Word that is not our judgment but God’s. But if we decide simply by loyalty and allegiance this does not prove it is true and it becomes what Jesus called judging by appearance.

Attacks without a biblical case– without the facts proves that one is relying on their feelings and having blind loyalty. One needs to make a case from the Bible or they become guilty of the very thing they accuse others of. Proverbs tells us to hear both sides of a matter before we make a decision.

When sheep follow sheep instead of the shepherd they will reap the consequences. It’s well known that sheep are some of the dumbest animals on God’s green earth, you and I both are not as smart as we think we are. Peter quotes Isa.53 “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls (1 Pet. 2:25). Matt. 9:36 “But when he (Jesus) saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” There are some Christians that confess Jesus as their Lord but instead of him being their shepherd they allow other men to lead them, they listen to their voice telling them what God has said. Certainly God has appointed teachers in the body of Christ, but no one is above scrutiny. Jesus said “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:26-27). We see this in cults where what the leader of the group says becomes more important than what the Scriptures say. People listen to other men’s interpretation and what “they say God said” without ever going to Scripture to see if it is true. Lets make sure we are listening to the shepherds voice and not another’s.

What we are not to judge?

These are just a few things to think about. Col 2:16 “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths.”

We are to avoid judgment on days of worship and food lest we stumble someone. Rom 14:10-15 “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: [COLOR=Red]“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.”[/COLOR] The point Paul is making is not to stumble a brother or sister by your freedom from the Old Testament law. But to allow false teaching to freely take place would be to stumble them.

Conclusion

Why do I call this movement of “do not judge” a cult? Because for the most part they follow there leaders advice and not the shepherd of their souls. They are not thinking, as the Bible tells us “to test ALL things.” Many are not being taught to think, instead they have been taught what to think. I know this may be harsh to some, but its telling it straight. When we willfully do what we are told, without our checking it out ourselves, we become like the cults. Those who do not judge teaching are actually disobeying what the Bible tells us to do. And they are telling others to do the same, sometimes by intimidation.

The early church was apologetic and polemic. They contended for the faith to those outside and had to do the same inside. If we do not take up this same attitude that is clearly presented in the Scriptures, we will be leavened beyond belief. Many of us see this as a very dangerous trend going on inside the Church. It needs to stop and we need to get back to what the Bible actually says.

2 John 10-11: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” It may not say the word judge or test but its obvious one must do so to know there is a difference in doctrine. And it is in this “spirit of the text” many other Scriptures are written. Paul writes to Titus about the insubordinate, idle talkers and deceivers “Wherefore rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13).

Jesus commended those who judged to arrive at the truth, “I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false” (Revelation 2:2). All the apostles approved judging those who claimed leadership positions.

Paul wrote Timothy who was new to the ministry “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:1-5).

What afflictions is he talking about? Those who came against Timothy in doing things that are required of God. What things? Convincing, rebuking, and exhorting those who have turned from the truth, God’s word.. If you are one who has learned to discern truth from error, continue to do so, don’t be intimidated. If you have been called to be a watchman and God has given you discernment, use it and don’t let anyone discourage or threaten you, fulfill your ministry.

http://www.letusreason.org/Pent44.htm

:amen::amen:

July 31, 2012 Bible Reading

July 31

Reading for Today:

Esther 1:1–2:23

Proverbs 22:5-6

Psalm 89:38-45

Romans 2:1-29

Notes:

Esther 1:9- Queen Vashti. Greek literature records her name as Amestris. She gave birth (ca. 483 B.C.) to Ahasuerus’s third son, Artaxerxes, who later succeeded his father Ahasuerus on the throne (Ezra 7:1).

Esther 2:5- Mordecai. He was among the fourth generation of deported Jews. Kish. Mordecai’s great-grandfather who actually experienced the Babylonian deportation. After Babylon fell to Medo-Persia (ca. 539 B.C.), Jews were moved to other parts of the new kingdom. Kish represents a Benjamite family name that could be traced back (ca. 1100 B.C.) to Saul’s father (1 Sam. 9:1).

Proverbs 22:6- way he should go. There is only one right way, God’s way, the way of life. That way is specified in great detail in Proverbs. Since it is axiomatic that early training secures lifelong habits, parents must insist upon this way, teaching God’s Word and enforcing it with loving discipline consistently throughout the child’s upbringing.

2:6–10- Although Scripture everywhere teaches that salvation is not on the basis of works (4:1–4; Eph. 2:8, 9), it consistently teaches that God’s judgment is always on the basis of a man’s deeds (Is. 3:10,11; Jer. 17:10; John 5:28, 29; 1 Cor. 3:8; 2 Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:7–9; Rom. 14:12). Paul describes the deeds of two distinct groups: the redeemed (vv. 7, 10) and the unredeemed (vv. 8, 9). The deeds of the redeemed are not the basis of their salvation but the evidence of it. They are not perfect and are prone to sin, but there is undeniable evidence of righteousness in their lives (James 2:14–20, 26).

2:11- partiality. Literally, “to receive a face,” that is, to give consideration to someone simply because of his position, wealth, influence, popularity, or appearance. Because it is God’s nature to be just, it is impossible for Him to be anything but impartial (Acts 10:34; Gal. 2:6; Eph. 6:7, 8; Col. 3:25; 1 Pet. 1:17).

DAY 31: Why isn’t God directly mentioned in Esther?

The question naturally arises when reading the book. Even the usual clues about God’s presence seem absent. No one refers to the Law of God, sacrifices, worship, or prayer. God does not appear to receive public or private recognition for the preservation of the Jews. When it comes to God, Esther seems strangely silent.

In fact, the silence is so obvious that it becomes an argument. Esther challenges the tendency to demand that God prove His power and presence. Must God be apparent? All too quickly we expect God to demonstrate in unmistakable ways His identity. Yet God has repeatedly resisted human ultimatums. God reveals Himself for His own purposes, not human requirements.

Throughout history, God has more readily operated behind the scenes than in plain sight. The Scriptures are filled with unusual circumstances in which God worked obviously. But Esther comes close to revealing God’s standard procedure. God’s fingerprints are all over Esther’s story. His superficial absence points to a deeper presence. God chose to be subtle, but He was there. The events in Esther give us a model for hope when God works in less than obvious ways in our lives.

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

Your Present Deliverance

Your Present Deliverance

[COLOR=Red]”Obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:9).

In 1 Corinthians 1:18 Paul says that “the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (emphasis added). That emphasizes the marvelous reality of the believer’s present deliverance from sin. Peter stressed the same truth in 1 Peter 1:8, where he says that believers obtain as the outcome of their faith the salvation of their souls.

The Greek word translated “obtaining” in 1 Peter 1:18 literally means “presently receiving for yourselves.” It speaks of obtaining something that is due you as a result of your faith in Christ. “Outcome of your faith” refers to the logical result or end of faith. “Souls” speaks of the whole person. The entire verse could be translated, “You rejoice because you have and continue to hold onto the logical result of your proven faith–your ongoing deliverance from sin.”

You need ongoing deliverance because sin is an ongoing problem. You have new life in Christ, are a new creature in Him, and are no longer a slave to the penalty and power of sin, but you’re not yet fully glorified. Consequently you’re still subject to sin’s influence. Paul personalized that struggle in Romans 7, where he says, “The good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. . . . I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. . . . Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (vv. 19, 21, 24). The victory comes in verse 25, which says, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Jesus is the Great Deliverer, through whom you have victory over sin, death, and hell. That’s the last spiritual privilege in Peter’s brief list, but it’s by no means the least. As you love and trust Him, you’ll know the joy of present deliverance.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Praise the Lord for your deliverance from sin’s bondage.

For Further Study:

Review all the spiritual privileges and sources of Christian joy we’ve discussed this month. Keep them fresh in your mind as you face the challenges of each new day.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals

July 30, 2012 Bible Reading

July 30

Reading for Today:

Nehemiah 12:1–13:31

Proverbs 22:3-4

Psalm 89:30-37

Romans 1:1-32

Notes:

Romans 1:17- The just shall live by faith. Paul intends to prove that it has always been God’s way to justify sinners by grace on the basis of faith alone. God established Abraham as a pattern of faith (4:22–25; Gal. 3:6, 7) and thus calls him the father of all who believe (4:11, 16). Elsewhere, Paul uses this same phrase to argue that no one has ever been declared righteous before God except by faith alone (Gal. 3:11) and that true faith will demonstrate itself in action (Phil. 2:12, 13). This expression emphasizes that true faith is not a single event, but a way of life—it endures. That endurance is called the perseverance of the saints (Col. 1:22, 23; Heb. 3:12–14). One central theme of the story of Job is that no matter what Satan does, saving faith cannot be destroyed.

Romans 1:18- wrath of God. This is not an impulsive outburst of anger aimed capriciously at people whom God does not like. It is the settled, determined response of a righteous God against sin.

Romans 1:20- they are without excuse. God holds all men responsible for their refusal to acknowledge what He has shown them of Himself in His creation. Even those who have never had an opportunity to hear the gospel have received a clear witness about the existence and character of God—and have suppressed it. If a person will respond to the revelation he has, even if it is solely natural revelation, God will provide some means for that person to hear the gospel (Acts 8:26–39; 10:1–48; 17:27).

Romans 1:21- knew God. Man is conscious of God’s existence, power, and divine nature through general revelation (vv. 19, 20). they did not glorify Him. Man’s chief end is to glorify God (Lev. 10:3; 1 Chr. 16:24–29; Ps. 148; Rom.15:5, 6), and Scripture constantly demands it (Ps. 29:1, 2; 1 Cor. 10:31; Rev. 4:11). To glorify Him is to honor Him, to acknowledge His attributes, and to praise Him for His perfections (Ex. 34:5–7). It is to recognize His glory and extol Him for it. Failing to give Him glory is man’s greatest affront to his Creator (Acts 12:22, 23). nor were thankful. They refused to acknowledge that every good thing they enjoyed came from God.

DAY 30: How did Paul maintain his commitment to the gospel?

Paul tells us in Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” He had been imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16:23, 24), chased out of Thessalonica (Acts 17:10), smuggled out of Berea (Acts 17:14), laughed at in Athens (Acts 17:32), regarded as a fool in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:18, 23), and stoned in Galatia (Acts 14:19), but Paul remained eager to preach the gospel in Rome—the seat of contemporary political power and pagan religion. Neither ridicule, criticism, nor physical persecution could curb his boldness.

“For it is the power of God.” The English word “dynamite” comes from this Greek word. Although the message may sound foolish to some (1 Cor. 1:18), the gospel is effective because it carries with it the omnipotence of God. Only God’s power is able to overcome man’s sinful nature and give him new life (5:6; 8:3; John 1:12; 1 Cor. 1:18, 23–25; 2:1–4; 4:20; 1 Pet. 1:23).

“The power of God to salvation.” Used 5 times in Romans (the verb form occurs 8 times), this key word basically means “deliverance” or “rescue.” The power of the gospel delivers people from lostness (Matt. 18:11), from the wrath of God (Rom. 5:9), from willful spiritual ignorance (Hos. 4:6; 2 Thess. 1:8), from evil self-indulgence (Luke 14:26), and from the darkness of false religion (Col. 1:13; 1 Pet. 2:9). It rescues them from the ultimate penalty of their sin, i.e., eternal separation from God and eternal punishment (Rev. 20:6).

“For everyone who believes.” To trust, rely on, or have faith in. When used of salvation, this word usually occurs in the present tense (“is believing”) which stresses that faith is not simply a one-time event, but an ongoing condition. True saving faith is supernatural, a gracious gift of God that He produces in the heart (Eph. 2:8) and is the only means by which a person can appropriate true righteousness. Saving faith consists of 3 elements: 1) mental: the mind understands the gospel and the truth about Christ (10:14–17); 2) emotional: one embraces the truthfulness of those facts with sorrow over sin and joy over God’s mercy and grace (6:17; 15:13); and 3) volitional: the sinner submits his will to Christ and trusts in Him alone as the only hope of salvation.

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

Enjoying Fellowship with Christ

Enjoying Fellowship with Christ

[COLOR=Red]”Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8).

The recipients of 1 Peter, like us, had never seen Christ but they enjoyed fellowship with Him just the same. And their fellowship was genuine because it was marked by love, trust, and obedience.

The love Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 1:8 isn’t shallow emotionalism or sentimentality. It’s the love of the will– the love of choice. His readers had chosen to love Christ despite never having seen Him physically. Such love is marked by obedience, as Jesus affirms in John 14: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. . . . He who does not love Me does not keep My words” (vv. 15, 24). To have fellowship with Christ is to love and obey Him.

Another element of fellowship is trust. After hearing reports about Christ’s resurrection, the disciple Thomas declared that he would trust Jesus only after seeing and touching Him. Jesus honored his wishes, saying, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27). But then Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (v. 29). We as Christians are among those who believe in Christ, not having seen Him.

The result of loving and trusting Christ is “joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8). This joy is something beyond the ability of speech and thought to convey. That’s obvious even on the human level–as evidenced by the thousands of songs that have attempted to communicate the joy of being in love. “Full of glory” refers to the divine element in Christian joy. It’s a supernatural endowment bestowed and energized by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22).

Enjoying fellowship with Christ is one of the supreme privileges of your Christian life. Strengthen and enrich that fellowship by learning the Word and relying on the Spirit. As you do, you will learn to love and trust Christ more deeply.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Ask God to teach you how to love and trust Him more faithfully. Thank Him for the joy that comes as you do.

For Further Study:

Memorize Matthew 22:37.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals

July 29, 2012 Bible Reading

July 29

Reading for Today:

Nehemiah 10:1–11:36

Proverbs 22:1-2

Psalm 89:19-29

Acts 28:1-31

Notes:

Nehemiah 10:28- who had separated themselves. These are those who 1) had followed the demand of Ezra and Nehemiah to divorce pagan spouses or 2) had been left in the land but never joined themselves to any heathen, thus remaining separate. Intermarriage with the nations had previously precipitated an influence in Israel which had culminated in Babylonian slavery, thus playing a major role in Israel’s unfaithfulness to the covenant.

Nehemiah 10:35–37- firstfruits…firstborn…firstborn. These laws required the firstfruits of the ground (Ex. 23:19; 34:26; Deut. 26:2), the firstfruits of the trees (Lev. 19:24; Num. 18:13), the firstborn sons redeemed by the estimated price of the priest (Num. 18:15), and the firstborn of the herds and flocks (Ex. 13:12; Num. 18:15, 17). All of this was kept at the storehouses near the temple and distributed for the support of the priests and Levites. The Levites then gave a tenth of what they received to the priests (Num. 18:26).

Psalm 89:27- My firstborn. The firstborn child was given a place of special honor and a double portion of the inheritance (Gen. 27; 2 Kin. 2:9). However, in a royal grant covenant, a chosen person could be elevated to the level of firstborn sonship and thus have title to a perpetual gift involving dynastic succession (Ps. 2:7). Though not actually the first, Israel was considered the firstborn among nations (Ex. 4:22); Ephraim the younger was treated as the firstborn (Gen. 48:13–20); and David was the firstborn among kings. In this latter sense of prominent favor, Christ can be called the firstborn over all creation (Col. 1:15), in that He is given the preeminence over all created beings.

Acts 28:8- sick of a fever and dysentery. The gastric fever (caused by a microbe found in goat’s milk) that was common on Malta. Dysentery, often the result of poor sanitation, was widespread in the ancient world.

Acts 28:16- centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard. Many Greek manuscripts omit this phrase. If part of the original text, it indicates either that Julius delivered the prisoners to his commanding officer or to the commander of the Praetorian Guard. dwell by himself…guarded. Possibly through Julius’s intervention, Paul was allowed to live under guard in his own rented quarters (v. 30).

DAY 29: How does Nehemiah fit into the time line of world history?

It is unclear how Nehemiah became King Artaxerxes’ cupbearer, but the fact that Esther was the king’s stepmother may have inclined the king to consider a Jew for such a trusted position. When Nehemiah carried out his mission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, the Persian Empire had been dominant for almost 100 years. King Cyrus’s decree of repatriation given back in 539 B.C. had instigated a group of Jews to return to Israel under Zerubbabel. Their desperate state almost a century later spurred Nehemiah into action.

Ancient Egyptian documents (Elephantine papyri) dated around the 5th century B.C. independently confirm part of Nehemiah’s account. Sanballat the governor of Samaria (2:19), Jehohanan (6:18; 12:23) and Nehemiah himself receive mention.

The events recorded in Nehemiah, along with Malachi’s prophecies, make up the final inspired writings of the Old Testament. God chose to then remain silent for 400 years. That silence ended with the announcements of John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ births.

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

The Joy of Anticipated Reward

The Joy of Anticipated Reward

[COLOR=Red]”That the proof of your faith . . . may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:7).

The joy you experience after your faith has been tested and proven genuine is largely due to your present blessings and assurance of salvation. But there’s a future aspect as well: the joy of anticipating the reward you’ll receive from Jesus when you see Him face to face and hear “Well done, good and faithful servant! . . . Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt. 25:21, NIV). Peter described it as the “praise and glory and honor [you’ll receive] at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:7).

“Praise” in that text speaks of verbal commendation. To receive “glory” is to be made like Christ. Jesus is the incarnation of God’s glory (John 1:14) and “we know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). Paul spoke of those who “by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality” (Rom. 2:7). As a result they will receive what they seek (v. 10).

Peter probably used “honor” as a synonym for rewards, which God will grant to all who faithfully serve Him. I believe those rewards are various capacities for heavenly service and are directly related to the believer’s service in this life. Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12, emphasis added). Paul said, “He who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor” (1 Cor. 3:8, emphasis added).

God alone is worthy of praise, glory, and honor, but He will give you all three because you’ll be in the image of Jesus Christ–sinless and fully glorified (1 John 3:2). Until that time, “watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 8).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Praise the Lord for the joy of anticipating your future reward.

For Further Study:

Peter spoke of a time when Jesus will reward believers. What do these verses teach about that time: Romans 8:18, 1 Corinthians 1:7-8, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, and 1 Peter 4:10- 13?[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals

WF Heretic Rod Parsley Calls Steven Furtick One of Nation's Most Infl

WF Heretic Rod Parsley Calls Steven Furtick “One of Nation’s Most Influential Young Leaders”

The heretical Word Faith gospel continues to subtly weave itself into the fabric of the visible church. It seems that James MacDonald’s Elephant Room 2 and the subsequent embracing of prosperity preacher T.D. Jakes opened the door and welcomed these aberrant teachings into the mainstream.

The continued and growing acceptance of Word Faith teaching and teachers was demonstrated again several days ago in a seemingly blossoming friendship between young, evangelical pastor Steven Furtick and notable Word Faith heretic Rod Parsley. As Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries reported:

Parsley is WF royalty and a regular on Trinity Broadcasting Network, which is a haven of heretics. He also pastor of World Harvest Church and his bio boasts:

Rod Parsley has been clearly called to a pre-eminent position of leadership within the Body of Christ, as his numerous roles – including TV host, evangelist, educator, humanitarian and statesman – will attest…

His other ministries include the Center for Moral Clarity, a grassroots organization focusing on the biblical response to moral issues; Valor Christian College; Harvest Preparatory School, an educational institution for local students from preschool through 12th grade; Hispanic and urban-outreach ministries; a national ministerial alliance; Bridge of Hope, a world-wide missions organization.

Through Bridge of Hope, he hosts the television show “Breakthrough,” which airs on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Daystar and 1,400 other local channels and cable outlets worldwide.

(Source)

As you might imagine, Rod Parsley is influencing a lot of people and has quite the growing dynasty.

(Source)

I think Steven Furtick reveals quite a bit in his tweet. First of all, he informs the world that he’s watching the heretical Parsley at the time; and secondly, the exclamation point tips us Furtick’s likely excited to hear from him and apparently wants Parsley to know about it.

(Source)

Apparently this friendship has gone beyond the boundaries of Twitter, as today Rod Parsley visited Furtick at his Elevation Church.:dizzy: It seems that both men considered the encounter to be a worthwhile one:

Rod Parsley believes that Steven Furtick is “one of the nation’s most influential young leaders.” He is influential, to be sure, and apparently is himself being influenced by some dangerous men.

Steven Furtick calls Parsley a “preaching machine.” Well, let us see just what type of preaching this [COLOR=Green]”machine” produces:[/COLOR]

The true body of Christ best be prepared, because this type of teaching no longer is merely on the fringes of professing Christendom. It is infiltrating and has infiltrated the visible, evangelical church. Put on your armor, Christian, because the battle is coming to your own backyard.

Further Reading:

James MacDonald Celebrates 35 Years of T.D. Jakes

Steven Furtick, Hillsong Conference and ‘Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire’

Louie Giglio to Join Word Faith Lineup at Hillsong 2012

Christine Caine “Honored” to Speak at Lakewood Church Youth Conference

http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2012/07/wf-heretic-rod-parsley-calls-steven.html

WRETCHED: STEVEN FURTICK SOUNDING LIKE WORD FAITH PREACHER

WRETCHED: STEVEN FURTICK SOUNDING LIKE WORD FAITH PREACHER

By Ken Silva pastor-teacher

Further reading:

ELEPHANT ROOM’S PROPHET-FÜHRER STEVEN FURTICK BEGINS BROMANCE WITH WORD FAITH HERETIC ROD PARSLEY?

STEVEN FURTICK: T.D. JAKES IS MY FAVORITE PREACHER IN THE WORLD

STEVEN FURTICK CALLS JOEL OSTEEN GREAT MAN OF GOD

http://apprising.org/2012/07/28/wretched-steven-furtick-sounding-like-word-faith-preacher/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+apprising%2F2+%28Apprising+Ministries%29

July 28, 2012 Bible Reading

July 28

Reading for Today:

Nehemiah 8:1–9:38

Proverbs 21:29-31

Psalm 89:11-18

Acts 27:27-44

Notes:

Nehemiah 9:1- this month. Tishri (Sept./Oct.), 445 B.C. (7:73b; 8:2). with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust. The outward demonstration of deep mourning and heaviness of heart for their iniquity seems to have been done in the spirit of the Day of Atonement which was normally observed on the tenth day of the seventh month (Lev. 16:1–34; 23:26–32).

Nehemiah 9:2- separated themselves from all foreigners. This call for divorcing all lawful wives taken from among the heathen was needed, since the last time, prompted 13 years before by Ezra, had only been partially successful. Many had escaped the required action of divorce and kept their pagan wives. Perhaps new defaulters had appeared, also, and were confronted for the first time with this necessary action of divorce. Nehemiah’s efforts were successful in removing this evil mixture.

Nehemiah 9:3- they stood…read…confessed and worshiped. The succession of events helped to reestablish the essential commitment of Israel to God and His law. They read for 3 hours about the sins of their fathers and for 3 more hours confessed that they had been partakers of similar evil deeds. In response to all of this, they worshiped.

Proverbs 21:29- The wicked become obstinate, maintaining what suits them without regard for others or the truth, while good people proceed with integrity.

Acts 27:27- fourteenth night. Since they sailed from Fair Havens (v. 13). Adriatic Sea. The central Mediterranean Sea, not the present Adriatic Sea located between Italy and Croatia. The modern Adriatic was known in Paul’s day as the Gulf of Adria. sensed. The sailors probably heard the sound of waves breaking on a shore.

Acts 27:28- took soundings. With a weight attached to a length of rope they measured the depth of the sea. twenty fathoms…fifteen fathoms. 120 feet…90 feet. The decreasing depth of the water confirmed the ship was approaching land.

Acts 27:42- the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners. Knowing they could face punishment or death if their prisoners escaped (12:19; 16:27).

DAY 28: How do repentance from sin and rejoicing go together?

In response to the people’s request, Ezra brought the Law of the Lord to the people (Nehemiah 8:1).At this time, the Law was a scroll, as opposed to a text consisting of bound pages. Such a reading was required every 7 years at the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 31:10–13), even though it had been neglected since the Babylonian captivity until this occasion.

From daybreak to noon, a period of at least 6 hours, the Law was read and explained. Other men, probably priests, stood with Ezra to show agreement, and all of the people stood, as well (Neh. 8:5). This was in respect for God’s Word, as though they were in the presence of God Himself. Some of the Levites assisted Ezra with the people’s understanding of the Scripture by reading and explaining it (vv. 7, 8). This may have involved translation for people who were only Aramaic speakers in exile, but more likely it means “to break down” the text into its parts so that the people could understand it. This was an exposition or explanation of the meaning and not just translation.

When the people heard and understood God’s law, they wept (v. 9). Not tears of joy, but penitent sorrow (v. 10) came forth as they were grieved by conviction (v. 11) over the distressing manifestations of sin in transgressing the Lord’s commands and the consequent punishments they had suffered in their captivity.

The event called for a holy day of worship to prepare them for the hard days ahead (12:43), so they were encouraged to rejoice. The words they had heard did remind them that God punishes sin, but also that God blesses obedience. That was reason to celebrate. “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (8:10). They had not been utterly destroyed as a nation, in spite of their sin, and were, by God’s grace, on the brink of a new beginning. That called for celebration.

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible