Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Did Jesus ever condemn anyone with His Words?

My thinking is Yes, but He only condemned the condemned.

I have often heard people quote a verse or two from the Bible in order to reprove, warn, or discipline someone; but, they come across very condemning. In fact, it usually digresses to one proving to another how right they are. Most of the time, the “Bible Verse Quoter” simply says something like, “Hey, truth hurts”. I have probably done this myself from time to time…but I wonder, “Why?” How did it get this way? Some thoughts:

A ‘Quoted Bible Verse’ is often by itself and out of context.
For instance, I know of several oft quoted verses used for warning or trying to ‘reprove’ someone who is OBVIOUSLY so wrong, because I have used them myself at times. One of them is 1st Thessalonians 5:22 “Abstain from all appearance of evil,” which we usually say in tones which suggest our superior spiritual standing to the person who is so wrong.
We quote this one when we want to dissuade another from doing something that we think they should not do; although, it is usually not clear whether it is sinful or not. We just don’t think it is best and don’t really have any other Bible Verse to back up our claim. Sometimes, we may be right; other times, I am not so sure. I could go on about when, why, and how we use that verse, but the main thing is…Does anyone really know or understand the context of that verse and why it was written in the first place? I have not researched this for myself yet, but I bet you would need to read all of 1st Thessalonians (at least chapter 5) to get a clearer picture. And of course, we usually pick and choose where in our lives (and the lives of others) to apply that verse. If we really applied that verse to our life in the same manner we want others to apply it, we would have to live a very isolated life.

A ‘Quoted Bible Verse’ was spoken by Jesus, but was originally spoken to the condemned, not to believers.
It seems that we sometimes beat believers with verses intended to condemn the condemned; when we should be looking for Words of Jesus that edify believers. In the future, whenever I read one of the four gospels, I will be looking at this. For now, here are some verses that I have heard directed at believers. But it seems to me that they were originally directed at those who had rejected Jesus and will always reject Him. I must go back to find out exactly who He was talking to and why He said what He said…especially in Matthew 23…He was going off on somebody…

Matthew 23:15 “…For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”
Matthew 23:13 “…For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.”
Matthew 23:27 “…For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”
Matthew 23:33 "Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”
John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.”

On the other hand, look at how he treated believers.

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."
John 8:11 “…Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."”
John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Luke 15:10 “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

The Solution? Not exactly sure, but I think this is a good start…
* Let’s all read and study our Bibles a little more on our own, asking the Holy Spirit to give us Understanding…instead of depending on others to feed us.
* Let’s change our attitude and mission to one of edifying believers [building up]; and, exercise extreme caution and humility when correcting or reproving believers.


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Neil said...

True Jesus did not come to condemn anyone to hell or judicially (death penalty etc..)
but he certainly judged people's hearts and sins as evil and was very harsh at times.

- Matt 3: 7 "You brood of snakes!" he exclaimed. "Who warned you to flee God's coming wrath?
- Matt 12:34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.
- Matthew 23:15 Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!
- Matt 23:16 "Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear 'by God's Temple,' but that it is binding to swear 'by the gold in the Temple.'
- Matt 23:17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?
- Matt 23:27 "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs--beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people's bones and all sorts of impurity.
- Matt 23:28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
- Matt 23:33 "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?
- Luke 9: 41 And Jesus answered and said, "O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you, and put up with you? Bring your son here."
- John 8:44 "You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery.

Jesus denounced people:

Matthew 11:20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”