Rightly Discerning the Body of Christ

Aduterous woman and Jesus 2

What right do you have to criticize someone else’s servants? Only their Lord can decide if they are doing right, and the Lord will make sure that they do right. (Romans 14:4 CEV)

What an amazing verse this is! Here Paul wrote that only God has the right to decide whether one of His saints is doing as they should and not only that, He has the power to put them back on the right path. There are many people in the church today who want to take this right into their own hands and speak out against anyone that is not toeing the line as they think should be done.

Another form of judging involves people who judge others in their hearts but do not verbalize it. They think they are okay because of their silence. Yet, the scripture says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. God hears our thoughts and knows our hearts. Do you still think you are doing just fine when it comes to judging? Well, listen to your thoughts the next time you are driving in heavy traffic. Paul wrote,

“For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him.” (Romans 12:3 RSVA)

Thinking of ourselves as God sees us is a rare thing. We usually think of our spiritual estate as better than it is. Not many of us see ourselves according to the measure of faith that God has given us. Satan is the accuser of the brethren of Christ. Often we find our thoughts agreeing with him as if we are the one who has the right to judge, taking the place of God to ourselves! Funny, but this is exactly what Lucifer did (see Isaiah 14:12-15).

Have you ever noticed that Jesus never went around claiming that He was the Messiah? Even when pressed by the Jewish leaders to say so, He seemed to avoid taking the title to Himself. Instead He let men tell Him what He was while they observed His actions and words (see Matthew 16:16). The title does not make the man, and neither do his degrees. On the other hand, Jesus did take the title “the son of man.” There was nothing special about being “the son of a man.” We read that when He found Himself in the form of a man, He became a lowly servant, not a Prince in a palace or a High Priest. As he grew in Christ the titles Paul the apostle claimed diminished until finally he called himself, “the offscouring of the world” (1 Corinthians 4:13). When we rightfully compare ourselves to Christ, the Father’s Standard of righteousness, it should humble us as it did Paul.

Jesus took the lowest place His whole life. He was born in a barn, and laid in a feed trough in the least of all towns in Judea. He grew up in a town in Galilee that was considered least by the Jewish leaders of that day. Referring to Him they said, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” He spent most of His life in what was called “Galilee of the Gentiles,” disdained by the Jews. He was loved by the common people, but was rejected by the leaders of His own people. Finally, he was tried like a common criminal, crucified between two thieves and His body placed in a borrowed grave. If being born in the right family and having a place of respect in the local community was an asset for gaining power and respectability, somebody forgot to tell God.

We often have this “uppity” attitude toward one another as if we think we are something when we are really nothing. It is a dead give-away when we hear ourselves saying to another saint, “When I was a younger Christian like you I thought that way too.” “I know what you are going through.” “Here is what you need to do…” And the all time classic, “I feel your pain.” We are all too quick to put ourselves in a higher place in our thinking than the one we are “reaching out to in love” or speaking to. We are all too quick to try and do the convicting work of the Spirit of God in each others lives.

One of the subtle ways we elevate ourselves over others is by posturing. We do so by flaunting our experience, our titles, our degrees, even with our attitudes and body language. “Touch me not, for you are unclean!” “I am holier than thou.” We might not say this, but we often act it out and others can sense it. Yet, Jesus, who should be our example as Christians, allowed Himself to be touched by women who were bleeding, and unclean according to the Jewish law. He hung out with sinners and prostitutes and even touched lepers!

Jesus identified with the multitudes (Greek, ochlos by definition – the common people and the rabble) and was often found mingling with them. He was criticized for it by the Jewish leaders. How often we see people who love their titles and respectability keeping the common people at arm’s length or even further, but not our Lord. This attitude is not the Spirit of Christ. He did not have an appointment secretary who acted as if she went to guard dog school. But I am afraid this is all too common today among recognized church leaders. By looking to people such as these as an example, we take on the wrong attitude toward others. Like so many children, we learn more from what we observe in our leaders than by what they say.

In contrast we find Jesus rebuking His disciples for trying to keep women and their children away from Him. He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” In short, Jesus was a servant to all and always accessible to the “little people,” even saying that they will fill His Father’s kingdom, not the elevated ones.

Saints, there is no substitute for the work of the cross and the excellent knowledge (intimate knowing) of Jesus Christ in our lives. There is no substitute for the unction of the Holy Spirit and the heavenly teaching that comes from Him as we open our hearts to God. Institutions can teach you the history of the church and details about the Bible, but they cannot give you the rhema word and moment by moment guidance of God. No, you must walk by faith in humility if you are to be an effective witness of God’s kingdom and love.

Remember that Paul had the best education the Jewish system could provide and he counted his history, bloodline and education, etc., as less than nothing, except for his intimate relationship (“excellent knowledge of”) with Jesus. Mark his words, “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:1-2, NKJV). It is not what we know that counts, but whether Jesus knows us and we intimately know Him (see Matthew 7:21-23). We cannot effectively teach what we have not become. As with John, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30, NKJV). There is nothing more detracting in us from portraying Christ to the “lost world” than pride. And pride keeps us from becoming truly one with God and with each other as well.

When the Lord’s people get a new spiritual Holy Ghost revelation of the Sovereign Headship of Christ, and begin to hold fast the Head, they let go of everything that is local, and personal, and different, and scattered on the earth. That is the place to which to come for unity. We cannot be at variance with one another as the Lord’s children if Christ is absolute Sovereign Head in our lives. When the Lord Jesus gets the complete mastery as Head in our lives, then all independence of action, and life, and all self-will, self-direction, self-seeking, self-glory and self-vindication will go. These are the things which set us apart from one another. You pass from Isaiah [Isaiah 6:1-8], and as you do, so you remember that you have the results of such a vision seen in this man Isaiah. Such a vision immediately has the effect of humiliating him to the dust. Oh, yes, we lose all our pride, all our importance when once we see the Lord in glory. “Woe is me….” That is humiliation! Then, after humiliation, there is consecration: “Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” And, after humiliation and consecration, there comes vocation: “…who will go for Us?” “Then I said, Here am I; send me.” ~ T. Austin Sparks http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/001461.html

By What Are We to Compare Ourselves and Others?

justice-scalesWe men tend to be what is called “left brained.” And I am told that women tend to be “right brained.” Men tend to think logically and comparatively and they love rules and order while women think in terms of relationships and making them work with love and mercy. A man sets his perimeter around his home and looks outward where a woman focuses inside the perimeter and wants peace and love to prevail there. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule. Somebody pointed out that a man will say, “I think thus and so…” But a woman will say, “I feel thus and so…” One is calculated and the other is emotional. Is God one or the other or both? In Genesis we read that He created man in His own image, male and female made He them. So on the one hand we see the God of Truth and on the other He is the God of mercy. He is both!

Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusts in you: yea, in the shadow of your wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities have passed. I will cry unto God most high; unto God who performs all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. (Psalms 57:1-3 KJ2000 – emphasis added)

Surely his salvation is near those that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. (Psalms 85:9-10 KJ2000 – emphasis added)

But with men and women it seems to be one or the other. All mercy or all truth. One old sage told me that the mercy and truth of God only meet in Christ, so when we are one or the other in our thinking, we lack Christ’s life in us. Remember that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no man can come to the Father but by Him.

Here we have been making comparisons of men to women. What I want to point out is the folly of making comparisons in our relationships. I remember how shocked I was when my dear wife, Dorothy, reacted to a “compliment” from me in our first year of marriage. I simply said, “You sure look pretty… for a change.” She informed me that I gave her a nice compliment and then I took it away in the same sentence by qualifying it. My mother did that all the time. Her love was always conditional. “Michael, do (this or that) so we can be proud of you.” I have learned the hard way over the years (fifty with the same woman) that no woman likes her man to compare her to herself or to other women. Men, to be safe, just don’t do it because they will hear it wrong no matter how you butter it up.

Paul had something to say about making comparisons among ourselves, as well,

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV)

In Hebrews it is clear that there is only one measuring stick that we are to compare ourselves to–God’s own Son.

Therefore seeing we also are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (Hebrews 12:1-4 KJVCNT – emphasis added)

When we think we are really doing quite well by comparing ourselves to another human or even to the way we used to be, what have we accomplished? The Bible says that Jesus is the First Born of many brethren, and when He appears we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. We are to be looking to Jesus who is the Author and the Finisher of our faith, not our fellow man. Yet in our pride, we choose a lower standard so we look good in our own eyes and the eyes of others.

Another failing in us is the tendency to make another person our idol. Oswald Chambers wrote,

Refusing to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering of human life. And this is how that suffering happens— if we love someone, but do not love God, we demand total perfection and righteousness from that person, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; yet we are demanding of a human being something which he or she cannot possibly give. There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

(http://utmost.org/the-teaching-of-disillusionment/)

Does the love of God in us compare ourselves with others or their conduct with ours? I was thinking about what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends… (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 RSVA)

So, to put it in the negative form for contrast — a lack of God’s love (actually a lack of Christ) in us makes us impatient, cruel, jealous, boastful, arrogant and rude when we are with others. We insist on getting our way and are irritable and resentful. We can’t wait until those we don’t like get theirs and rejoice when bad things happen to them. We find things that don’t go our way unbearable, we are filled with doubts and have little endurance in us. Our love for others fails as soon as they cross us.

In the verses above, we do not see a lot comparing going on in the love of God, but in the negative, more human form of it, we see lots of comparisons that have no grace or love toward others. That is the nature of the old man, Adam, that is in us. But with God there is hope because God is love.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;) And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-10 KJ2000)

In and of ourselves we are wretched and without hope, but in Christ we have great faith, hope and love. It is all a gift from Him. This transformation is totally by the working of God in us. When we have our eyes fixed on Jesus as the Author and the Finisher of our faith, we will not be looking at the failings of others or even at our own. Instead, we will be looking at “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8 RSVA)

Great advice! (I want to thank Susanne Schuberth for her valuable input on this subject)

Love Personified

By Michael Clark and Susanne Schuberth

woman-at-the-wellSusanne wrote in an earlier blog,

“I was just pondering on the fact why we as human beings are not always the same. I mean, there are people with whom we dare to be more open than with others. People of whom we know that they love us and that they will forgive us whatever we might say or do. But there are other people we do not know that intimately and therefore we are a still bit cautious of how to deal with them.” (https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/be-who-you-are-since-there-is-no-other-you/)

There is something that the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well felt about Jesus that made her dare to be totally open with Him. When we hear the story about her preached, many like to say that Jesus confronted her with her sins. Susanne and I hold that this was not the case, but rather she was confronted with how much Jesus loved and respected her in spite of knowing what her past history was. She was shocked that He was even talking with her and asked her for a drink, knowing that Jews did not have anything to do with Samaritans, much less a Jewish man with a Samaritan woman! She was the dog of dogs in the mind of an orthodox Jewish Rabbi.

Yet, Jesus personally shared the gospel with her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10 RSVA). Jesus told her that He was the Gift of God and that as such He could give her the water of life that flows freely. “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14 RSVA). What is amazing is that she did not for one moment doubt His offer that He could give her living water and eternal life! She responded, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” (John 4:15 RSVA). She wanted all that He had for her because she realized that she had met the lover of her soul, the first man in her life who was not interested in what she had to offer him, but who wanted to give her what she really needed. We know that this man was God, too. A human being can never fill the void in our hearts which were created by God to only be filled with His Spirit. His love is the only love that can make us whole again.

Jesus, after offering her eternal life and she wanting it, pointed out to her that she was living with a man who was not her husband. Yet, where was the condemnation? It was not there! Rather He commended her for telling the truth, “I have no husband.” This woman felt no shame or condemnation from Him, only love and respect. And what was her response to this divine encounter? She said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he. ” …So the woman left her water jar, and went away into the city, and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’” (John 4:25-29 RSVA). Jesus had shown her in a few words the very inner thoughts and longings of her heart. Messiah had come and showed her all things including that men would no longer worship God in special buildings or in special places, but that true worship would be done by God’s Spirit within them from lives filled with and demonstrating His truth.

“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did!” I don’t know about you, but we believe that if this woman had been shamed by what Jesus said to her, would she be telling everyone she knows that there is a man down by the well that knows every sin she ever committed? No, she would be hiding out in her house, hoping He would go away and keep silent! But she ran into her village and rejoiced for having met the Christ. THAT IS THE GOSPEL. She met LOVE personified. He showed her compassion and understood WHY she had sought love in men and had been married five times before. But He did not condemn her in the slightest, but rather told her about where to find eternal life and what real worship of our heavenly Father is all about; therefore she trusted in Him.

All too often the gospel today is presented to people in one of two extremes. On the one hand people get the idea that they have to “clean up their act” before they can come to Christ. The other extreme is that we can be a Christian without ever having to change a thing, we can just go on living in sin with impunity. Neither is true. But we finally see that the love our Father has for us is not contingent on our performance, for He makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall of both the bad and the good. We love Him because He first loves us. What follows from that love relationship is a longing to please the One who loves us so much. We are given the Spirit of God who speaks in our hearts when He wants us to change and what it is that pleases Him and it is because of our love relationship with our Father that we are empowered to change. Love is the most powerful motivator known to man and GOD IS LOVE.

Why Do We Reason in Our Hearts?

Mary & Risen Lord

But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why does this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned among themselves, he said unto them, “Why reason you these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:6-8 KJ2000 – emphasis added)

And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they discussed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were held that they should not know him… Then he said unto them, O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?… And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem… and Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have. (Luke 24:13-39 KJ2000 – emphasis added)

As I read the above passages it occurred to me that Hearts were not given us to reason and judge with, but to love. Jesus said, “Why do you reason in your hearts?” Too often as Christians we let our reason displace His love for others in our hearts. As I read these words, the truth of what He was saying hit me. Many of us left-brained religious people do not love with our hearts, but instead turn to “reason” to decide what we are to do in each situation and how we treat people. These early disciples were like the scribes in Mark chapter two, constantly reasoning in their hearts. As a result, they were blinded to the Truth that Jesus had risen from the dead just as He said He would. He had told all of them before He went to the cross that He would have to die and then rise again.

It is interesting that one woman was moved by love and not by reason, and she was the first to see the risen Christ and recognize Him!

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-bo’ni!” (which means Teacher). (John 20:15-16 RSVA)

Mary Magdolin, upon hearing Jesus say her name, knew it was Him. Unlike the men that Jesus appeared to, she did not reason in her heart that Jesus was dead, so there was an immediate heart connection! This is one of the most touching scenes in the Bible.

Oh, dear saints, why do we reason in our hearts? God is love and if we are to apprehend all that He has for us, it will not be by our reasoning, but by responding to His love, being moved by Him, and being led of Him with our hearts filled with His love.

Jesus was motivated always by the love and mercy of the Father! Satan used reason to appeal to Eve–if she would eat of that forbidden tree, she would be on the fast track to becoming like God. That got us all in this mess we see today!

The woman was convinced [through Satan’s reasoning]. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, and it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too. (Genesis 3:6 NLT)

God has given us new hearts in Christ and filled them with His love. Agape love should be the most powerful thing operating in us, telling us how to respond in each situation. The love of God in our hearts is the one earmark of those who are truly born anew of the Father. Jesus said:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

[But it was as if Peter didn’t hear a word of what Jesus was saying.]

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” (John 13:34-37 RSVA)

Again, his reasoning made him blind to the truth. We cannot apprehend the truth of God by our reasoning, but only by abiding in His love. It was the love relationship between the Father and the Son that opened Jesus to hearing His Father in all things.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. (John 5:19-20 RSVA – emphasis added)

Paul wrote that knowledge will pass away, but the greatest of all these gifts from God is love and it will never pass away. The scribes used their knowledge of the law to judge Jesus for forgiving the lame man’s sins. If they had been in their hearts instead of relying on their reason, they would have rejoiced that this man’s sins had just been forgiven and he was made whole and walked again, but they had no love in them, only judgment based on human reason. The law is subject to the knowledge of good and evil. Satan still hangs out in that tree, not the Tree of Life. Jesus came that we might have life, not death.

The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:56-57 KJ2000)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 RSVA)

And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17 KJ2000)

There is one commandment that we are to follow in the New Covenant… Love.

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:10-12 RSVA – emphasis added)

Or as Paul wrote:

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10 RSVA – emphasis added)

John also expanded on this theme in 1 John 4:17-21.

So dear saints, we should seek to be perfected as children of God. That perfection is found in those who abide in and are moved by His love. The world doesn’t need any more death-preaching of legalism that knows no love. It is the love of God that leads us to repentance, not preaching about His wrath and judging people for their sins. Remember, we will be judged just as we judge others, but mercy triumphs over judgment. Let us love all men with our hearts and not displace His love with our cold reasoning. Amen.

Judging or Loving One Another?

Jesus in Synagogue

There is a propensity in carnal man to usurp things that belong only to God. It is a form of self-worship that is detestable to Him. Men rise up and try to take the place of Christ in the lives of His sheep when there is only one Good Shepherd they answer to. He has bought us with a terrible price and we belong to Him! One of the worst things we can fall victim to is the need to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we do this, we fall right in line with the devil himself, who is the accuser of the brethren. He tried to take God’s place in heaven and as a result he was cast down on this earth. He is the serpent that still eats the dust of fallen man and uses him for his purposes (see Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28). Paul opposed this very same religious spirit in one of the churches that he established, the church in Corinth. To them he wrote:

 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God. (1 Corinthians 4:3-5 RSVA)

Paul knew where he stood in Christ! Being judged by other believers did not deter him in the slightest. He was confident of his place in the Son of God and no man was about to change that with their carnal judgments. As a result he felt no need to vindicate himself.

We are not to judge anyone (“before the time, before the Lord comes”). To do so is to know them after the flesh and not after the completed work of Christ that is still in progress. We who are Christ’s do not have a ministry of condemnation or judgment, but rather of reconciliation. To talk or write about people behind their backs as their judge is not an effort to be reconciled with them or to see that they are reconciled to God, but is counter productive. Paul wrote in his follow-up letter:

 Therefore from now on know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from now on know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Corinthians 5:16-18 KJ2000)

Here he appeals to us to not only not judge the servants of the Lord, but know them after the Spirit and not after the flesh. If we are having a problem with loving our brother we should pray, “Father, show me how You see them not as I see them,” and He will. Our Father sees us in Christ, not in the flesh or the world. We were crucified with Jesus and we rose again in Him. It is in Christ that we live and move and have our being, not in our flesh. God is all about restoration and has been from the beginning. He knew man would choose against Him and His ways, but this did not deter His plan that man would be brought back into perfect alignment with Him as our Father and we as His sons. Our Father placed us in His Son to die on the cross, and He also placed us in Him so that we might be raised in the newness of resurrected life. God is all about restoration and reconciliation, and as His sons and daughters, this is what we should be about as well. Paul wrote, “Who are you that judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Yea, he shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4 KJ2000)

 Behold, the LORD has proclaimed unto the ends of the earth, Say you to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and you shall be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken. (Isaiah 62:11-12 KJ2000)

God’s work in our hearts is still going on. No one is where they will be at the end.

 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3 RSVA)

It is very easy for the un-crucified fleshly man to judge and condemn others, but very hard for him to love and extend to others the grace of God. But the one who has been forgiven much and knows it, loves much.