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The Paradox of Condemnation

The Paradox of Condemnation

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Published by glennpease
There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, and yet there is also a great deal of condemnation for them. How can both be true?
There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, and yet there is also a great deal of condemnation for them. How can both be true?

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 03, 2011
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02/03/2011

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THE PARADOX OF CODEMATIOBy Glenn PeaseThe following study is a followup to my study on the paradox of judging, the paradox of forgiveness, and the Rom. 8:1 study. They all deal with the false ideas that believers are never to judge, and never to condemn or be condemned, and always to forgive one another in any andevery situation. These commonly held views are based on taking biblical truth to an extreme withno recognition of the paradox that there is another side to the issue that is opposite and abalancing of the issue. Without both sides of the paradox in our understanding, a truth becomes ahalf truth, and a half truth is basically a whole lie. My studies in paradox are to bring back thebalance so that we do not think and act in extremes that disrespect the full revelation of God inhis Word. The paradox is that judging is both bad and good, and condemnation is both good andbad, and forgiveness can be both good and bad. So many dogmatically declare that there is onlyone side to these issues, but when you look at the facts of Scripture you see there is another sidethat we need to know to live the balanced life. For more studies on these issues see my otherstudies on the paradox of forgiveness; the paradox of judging, and Rom. 8:1 commentary. Thislast study is a focus on condemnation, but at the end of this study I will share more on that issueto make it even clearer.This study is taken from my commentary that is being developed on Rom. 14:3.
4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To theirown master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, forthe Lord is able to make them stand.
1. We are again forced to look at the paradox of judging and condemning other believers, forPaul makes it clear here that we are not to be judging fellow believers. The Christians in theRoman church were in all kinds of conflict over legalistic issues and differing opinions about theold laws of Israel. The Jews naturally were more legalistic about keeping the old laws eventhough liberated from them by their faith in Christ, but the Gentiles had no interest in them, andhad no respect for them. This led to judgmental attitudes that created division. Paul told them toknock it off, and stop judging each other on issues that do not matter, and are not essential to theobedient Christian life. Jesus is the master we all serve, and he is the one to judge us. We are notto be judging the servant of another, for it is the master he has to please and not you. If themaster says he is just fine, the keep your judgmental nose out of their business. It is a cleardemand that the believer stop judging one another, and condemning behavior just because it isdifferent than the behavior that we prefer.Then we look ahead to Rom. 16:17-19 where we read, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watchout for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teachingyou have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, buttheir own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wiseabout what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” We are to not judge, and we are to judgedepending on the issues involved. In matters of opinion we are not to judge, but in matters of doctrine and behavior that is detrimental to the health of the church, we are to be strict judges.
 
Keep away from people who are divisive and damage the unity of the body. The problem here isthat these simple issues of opinions can also divide the body, and people can get so angry overdifferences of opinion on major issues that you have division into the Calvinist and Arminiangroup. Judging is a paradoxical matter, for we have to be constantly struggling with what is to be judged, and what is to be let go as not worth judging. Obeying both sides of this judging issue islike walking a tight rope, and is is so easy to go to one side or the other and fall out of God's will.The bottom line is that we need to be very cautious in judging other people, and only when it isperfectly clear that we are dealing with what is contrary to God's will can we be just in judging.1B. In I Cor. 5:1-5, Paul shares an example where he judged a fellow believer who was way out of line in his behavior. He wrote, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you,and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And youare proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowshipthe man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I amwith you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment inthe name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled andI am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satanfor the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.”This is clearly a severe judgment of one who clearly was a born again believer, for Paul says hewill be saved on the day of the Lord. His immoral behavior had to be dealt with severely, for itwas being accepted or ignored by other believers, and this was putting a stamp of approval on hiswicked action. If a Christian is openly breaking one of the Ten Commandments, and we are notin judgment on that person, we are part of the problem rather than part of the answer. Paul isdisgusted with the whole church for their lack of judgment on this man. They would have let thisfolly go on had Paul not given them orders to deal with it severely. A believer doing what isclearly forbidden by God comes under condemnation. Paul in Rom. 8:1 says there is now nocondemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, but he did not mean that Christians can violatethe law of God without judgment. Paul meant that when we accept Jesus as Savior, we are setfree from all condemnation for the sins of our life before we came to him. He paid the penalty forour sins on the cross, and so in Christ we start fresh with a life free of all condemnation for ourgodless past. We are justified and pure in the eyes of God in spite of all the evil we might havedone. But after that we are still subject to condemnation and judgment for the sins that we thencommit. ow we are in the stage of salvation called sanctification, and when we sin we need toconfess it and be cleansed anew. If we refuse to do so, but go on sinning with no repentance andforgiveness, we are then subject to condemnation and judgment. That was the case with thisbeliever who was deliberately living in an immoral condition repulsive to God and man. Paul sayshe is out of God's will, and needs to suffer severe judgment.1C. In Gal. 5:19-21 Paul wrote, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurityand debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfishambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as Idid before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” otice that Paulsays he warned these believers before of this same thing, and so now he repeats the warningimplying that some of the Galatian believer are still living like they did in their pagan past. He isgiving severe warning in hopes that it will prevent them from continuing on this deadly roadwhen he will be forced to give other believers over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. He hasa whole list here of acts that are out of God's will, and subject to judgment. Any fellow believer
 
involved in any of these behaviors is to be judged and condemned for his or her own sake. Toaccept this kind of lifestyle by saying that a believer has no condemnation is a terrible abuse of Paul's teaching, for Paul is clearly ready to condemn any believer guilty of such wickedness.1D. In another situation we see Paul coming down on believers with a judgmental spirit becauseof their taking each other to court. In I Cor. 6:1-6 we read, “If any of you has a dispute withanother, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’speople? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about suchmatters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say thisto shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a disputebetween believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!” Paul is saying that when believers cannot have the maturity to deal with issuesbetween themselves and the church, but take them before men who have no relationship withChrist, they are worthy of rebuke and judgment. All immature behavior is rightly subject to judgment. We do it all the time with immature children, and it needs to be done with immatureadults as well. If people are acting foolishly, they need to be judged as foolish and be rebuked inorder to get them on the right path of wisdom.1E. In another situation we see Paul like an angry father ready to put his children over his kneefor a spanking. In I Cor. 14: 1421 Paul wrote, “ I am writing this not to shame you but to warnyou as my dear children. 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not havemany fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urgeyou to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who isfaithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with whatI teach everywhere in every church. 18Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were notcoming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find outnot only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rodof discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?”These people were his spiritual children, and he was not pleased with their behavior. He iswarning them that they either shape up, or feel his rod of discipline. He was judging them asbeing worthy of punishment. We all, as parents, have to do this on a regular basis. We judge thatour children are not behaving in a way that pleases God, nor us, and we warn them to changetheir ways or pay some consequence for their rebellion. If our children quote Paul in Rom. 8:1and try to escape penalty by saying there is now no condemnation for those who are in ChristJesus, we can quote the text above and say that they fall into the category where these apply fornow rather than Rom 8:1. Being justified is a one time thing, and it is awesome that we can startover with a clean slate, but when we step out of line after that we are fully accountable for oursins and behavior displeasing to God, parents, and the law. We are valid subjects of condemnation, judgment, and penalty. Out kids are not going to get by with quoting Rom. 8:1,nor will any child of God who chooses to disobey his heavenly Father.1F. Later on in I Cor. 11:27-34, Paul has to give his children another warning about behavior thatleads to judgment. He wrote, “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in

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