Condemnation, Judgment, and…Discipline: What are they and are they still around?

Most confuse the first two and hardly talk about the last one. Lets explore their real meaning and possible applications in New Testament thinking. Lets dive in and see how many don’t like what I have to say. If you don’t please comment and explain your take on the different sides, definitions, and applications.

First three(ish) Greek definitions

  • Condemnation – katakrima in Greek – an adverse sentence (the verdict):—condemnation
  • Judgment – krisis in Greek – decision (subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension, a tribunal; by implication, justice (especially, divine law):—accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment
  • Judge – krinō in Greek – properly, to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially); by implication, to try, condemn, punish:—avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think
  • Discipline – paideuō in Greek – to train up a child, i.e. educate, or (by implication), discipline (by punishment):—chasten(-ise), instruct, learn, teach

Now our English definitions according to Oxford Dictionary

  • Condemnation – The expression of very strong disapproval; censure
  • Judgment – The ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions
  • Judge – Form an opinion or conclusion about
  • Discipline – Train (someone) to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience

Does God still condemn? Does God still judge or give judgment? Does God still discipline?

Many “Grace Preachers” (a term used to describe their teaching and is in no way derogatory) teach God in no way condemns nor judges or gives judgments. I haven’t heard much if they believe God still corrects or disciplines (could be due to so much emphasis on God not judging). Many “Judgment Preachers” (a term used to describe their teaching and is in no way derogatory) teach God is still in the judging/judgment business and He does it often and without restraint. This view is usually about how God is angry at sin and sinners and is punishing them for it yet you don’t hear much about restoration or redemption in it. “Death to California and NYC” tends to be their mantra.

Funny thing is the hyper-grace people tend not to offer the same grace to those who don’t align with their thinking. And the judgment people don’t offer grace to much of anything. I think the “Judgment Preachers” need a lot more grace and the “Grace Preachers” need a lot more discernment, which true judgment is. All the while neither side knows there is a balance between the two. Look at the Apostle John. Only the Apostle of Love could receive Revelation and all it’s hard sayings.

Both sides hold very strong beliefs regarding their viewpoints. Both usually tell the other side to question what they’ve been taught. Both are tend to be hardliners. Both, in my opinion, burn bridges and castigate each other. Do they not realize they’ll be spending eternity together? God will one day set us all straight in our beliefs…but until then the schism remains and the devouring lingers. For what it’s worth, which may not be much, here is my belief, not to tear one down nor build another up. I will digress from my ratiocination above and move along.

Do I think God condemns people? In a word no. People think God does but He really doesn’t. People are not meant to condemn other people either. It’s interesting to note that Hell was never intended nor created for human beings but the devil and his angels. But Hell does exist and some invariably will choose to reject Christ and His offer and end up there, despite some Christian Universalist’s claims. It is interesting to note that in Matthew 12:41 that the men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it along with the Queen of the south. However there is another Scripture in Luke 6:37 that says not to condemn or you will be condemned. Clearly in John 3:17 it says God did not send Jesus to condemn us. Our hearts can condemn us according to 1 John 3:20. But God is greater than our hearts and supersedes it.

Now what about judgment or judging? The most common Scripture used to say we are not to judge is Matthew 7:1 which says judge not lest you me judged. Like I said most common used Scripture. However many miss another Scripture in John 7:24 which says,

Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.

There is a righteous judgment that is necessary and allowed, you may even take it as a command but that’s on you. Lets be honest with ourselves for a moment… We all judge. Everyday. Mostly based upon outside appearances. Sometimes internal. As the saying goes “Never judge a book by its cover”, so goes in life. 1 Samuel 16:7 says,

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

I ran across another blog written by an outright pagan. Now I wasn’t there and I don’t know either of the parties involved so I can’t judge their hearts but their actions may point to something here. I am not condemning them at all but pointing out something that is sorely needed, especially in Charismatic circles where some strange people seem to surface (I say in jest). She and another visited a Healing Rooms in a very prominent Charismatic church in Cali. There aim was simple and quite neutral and genuine. They wanted whatever this particular Healing Rooms had to offer.  So they went and encountered absolutely loving, gentle, and encouraging people. They received very encouraging words a

Another passage about judging is 1 Corinthians 6:1-11. To keep the word count down I won’t supply the whole passage but the gist of it is this: we are called to judge with righteous truth and discernment. We will judge angels and the world yet it is not politically correct to judge people’s actions according to some. You can see this in the current events. For fear of profiling and judging a terrorist attack in San Bernardino could have very well been prevented. The situation in question was purely an outside appearance issue. But because of the sensitive nature of people these days a person did not come forward with a concern. Spiritually speaking, discernment should one or the only criteria for judging. There is right and wrong plainly explained in Scripture and should be taught, preached, and learned. There is also much gray areas as well. There are also some areas that aren’t touched at all. Some other Scriptures that point to fact that we need to point out issues in our lives and other people’s live, if they have given us authority to do so, I repeat, if they have given us authority to do so are: 2 Tim. 4:2, Eph 4:15Eph 4:25-262 Cor 7:81 Cor. 2:10-16, and 1 Cor. 14:24-25. Many people judge others and have no clue who the person is or where they came from or their story. In these cases judgment should only be used via discernment and not outright rebuke. Discernment is but judgment devoid of outward appearances. Rashness, bigoted, hateful speech is never, ever a legitimate expression of righteous judgment or discernment. Ever. Because of the “Judgment Preachers” people are hating Christians even more these days. And this may very well be the reason for the appearance of “Grace Preachers.” However both have been around since the start of Christianity. The biggest problems with the “Judgment Preachers” are the sub group I call, “Date Setters”. Whether it’s Jonathan Cahn, John Hagee, or the eBible Fellowship people, they have an issue with sin…and obviously don’t know how to handle it. Truth with love, speech seasoned with salt to give grace, grace that empowers change and not that destroys countries. On the discipline…

I’ll start with Heb. 12:5-17

…and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

And Revelation 3:19 which says,

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

Discipline, correction, and rebuke. All three are come from judgment/discernment and are labeled as condemnation by those who don’t fully understand the terms. Hopefully the I answered that and if not then I would encourage you to study it more than I have. This blog is already getting too long…lol

God does indeed discipline and correct us and if Hebrews is right then that proves we are legitimate. And if He doesn’t there is illegitimacy. “Rebuke a wise man and he will love you for it,” says Prov. 9:8. “Rebuke a fool and he will hate you,” goes the rest of it. Look I don’t like people telling me I’m wrong. Usually people don’t. But to remove that from our lives is to remove growth in areas we don’t think we need growth. Have you ever sought the Lord for a Word concerning something but He gave you a Word about something totally different? It goes the same way. We need to have people in our lives who can challenge, correct, exhort, and come alongside us.

One scripture that is oft quoted is 2 Tim. 1:7 which says,

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

We love not being given a spirit of fear. He crave love. We yearn for His power. But a sound mind? What does that even mean? Glad I asked! Sound mind in Greek is sōphronismos which means discipline. Ever since I looked up the meaning I’ve wondered why the translators chose such a different phrase that discipline. How many crave discipline? I do as an adult. But hated it as a child. Maybe that’s the difference? Maturity versus childhood.

Redemptive shame, just like redemptive pain, is a gift from God. However, destructive shame and destructive pain from the enemy is a curse and not a blessing. Knowing the difference is key. Yes there is redemptive shame and sorrow (see Acts 5:41, 1 Cor. 1:27, 1 Cor. 6:5, 2 Thes. 3:14) Redemptive shame and destructive shame are only confused by the voice of the enemy. God brings hope. Enemy despair.

James 2:13 says,

For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Judgment and mercy. Mercy and judgment. A paradox.

In my experience, mercy, not getting what I do deserve, has often been, getting a little bit of what I do deserve. Shame, fear, hell, judgment, pain is what drove me to Jesus. I felt like a horrible human being who didn’t deserve to live. And God used that feeling to get me to dive to His feet. I was stumbling on a path the led to nowhere but hell and destruction and was enjoying it…until He put His hand on my life and said, “You’re wrong and you and I both know it.” He disciplined and corrected me in the midst of it all and 12 years later I’ve changed and I’m changing…and it wasn’t a pretty process. It was a redemptive process but not a pretty one. Sometimes God gives you what you want to show you what you need as someone has said.

For me I must be open to His many ways of dealings with me. I cannot turn a blind eye or a deaf ear if He wants to show me how I’m wrong. I should crave it! King David said his judgments (which He uses to correct and discipline) are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired than fine gold or a winning Powerball ticket. Sweeter than honey or stevia, whichever you prefer. For by them your servant and son are warned. In keeping them is great reward.

Condemnation is a no-no for humans. Judgments are a yes-no but only when love, mercy, and true righteousness is established in their heart. Discipline is a yes-yes for without it we are illegitimate. And fear not because God doesn’t correct but for our own benefit and not destruction.

So I did my best, which is far from perfect, but I thought I’d open a dialogue that many have shut down. I aim to regain bridges that have been burned. A good scribe brings from his storeroom treasure both old and new.

There are two sides to every coin and only when a coin has two different sides is it ever of any worth.

 

 

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7 comments

  1. I certainly share the thrust of your thinking in this article. You did leave out the most authoritative statement on ‘condemnation’ as exemplified by Christ himself.

    It concerns the woman caught in the act of adultery and how literal we should take the Bible.

    You know the story of the Pharisees tempting Jesus saying, it’s the Law written in the Bible, this woman must be stoned to death and Jesus’ attitude “let the one without sin cast the 1st stone.” A fundamental of the Faith is the recognition we are all sinners, Christ Jesus being the only human exception. In my understanding, this is a high priority insight into the nature of Christ and dealing with other sinners. Too many false Christians adopt a ‘holier than thou’ attitude which God hates.

    I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, to a nation that was not called by my name.
    I have spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, which walks in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
    A people that provokes me to anger continually to my face; that sacrifices in gardens, and burns incense upon altars of brick;
    Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
    Which say, Stand by yourself, come not near to me; for I am holier than you. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burns all the day.

    When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said to her, Woman, where are those your accusers? has no man condemned you?
    She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said to her, NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU: go, and sin no more.

    In the Old Testament, it is written God creates good and evil, makes war and peace. In the New Testament, the God and Father of Jesus is ALL Good and a Peacemaker. The world still operates under the terms and conditions of the Old Testament. Many are called, but few are chosen, and it is only Individuals who accept the terms and conditions of the New Testament or new way of looking at things through Christ Jesus that know the Salvation and Freedom that comes with genuine Faith in The Eternal God while living a finite life in the flesh

    Interesting to note you reference 1 Samuel 16 The latest article posted to my Blog is based on 1 Samuel 8. Do you see the purpose of writing it?

    KINGS OF THE EARTH
    http://ray032.com/2016/01/13/kings-of-the-earth/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this. When I pray, I often ask the Lord for discipline. I know He will discipline me as He chooses when I am not living according to His commands, but for me, it is a way of humbling myself; acknowledging that I am wayward despite my faith, and admitting I need His correction to get me back on the right path.

    I also like your explanation of righteous judgment. For me, I think of it as a sort of discernment. If, through my experience with someone, I see that they are a force who perpetuates harm, etc. I may “judge” that they are a person I want to avoid (and pray for!) for my own well-being.

    A lot of food for thought on this one. Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I considered this article an excellent read, however there is no way we can touch on every nugget or scripture to get a point across concerning biblical view points. In a nutshell, there is a BIG difference between religion and Kingdom. Kingdom is balance and KINGDOM is what will be established upon the earth, as it is in heaven. God does require Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness. I do believe these are also delegated but with responsibility of the actions of the person, we cannot expect a babe to digest meat or a mature disciple to drink constant milk. We merely bring judgement upon ourselves when we allow sin to rule our life. The consequences of the sin is based upon what sin we choose to indulge. There is a consequence for every sin, that’s the judgement we bring upon ourselves. One that continues to SIN is not of Him, so this does not exclude judgement. We judge (make decisions on a daily basis,) we are to judge righteously. When righteous judgement is delegated properly, it is in every case to RESTORE.

    Liked by 1 person

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