Know Your Bible

VOL. 5                           December 10, 2006                           NO. 46

Faultfinding And Righteous Judgment

Are Poles Apart

    Faultfinding is easy work. Those who set out to find fault with their fellow man will never be disappointed. These can easily establish their own arbitrary standards and then judge the actions of others according to them. Arbitrary standards can be established either before or after the other person acts. Such rules are, by their nature, portable and easily exchanged for other arbitrary decrees. They can be completely inconsistent with each other and yet remain in the same carrying case. The arbitrary judge carries with him ammunition for any side of any battle. After he decides to either attack or defend he can select the arbitrary standards that work in his favor and apply them to his advantage. He can justify any evil and vilify any good by the skillful application of his homemade rules. He can paint matters that are morally neutral with the black brush of contempt or with the pure white brush of virtue at his own choosing. His arbitrary judgments, though, are condemned by God.

    "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same 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 out of 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" (Matthew 7:1-5). "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!" (Isaiah 5:20,21).

    Jesus and John the Baptist were both plagued with arbitrary judges who were able to use their changeable rules to find fault with opposite behaviors! "But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying: 'We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not lament.' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children" (Matthew 11:16-19).

    Learn to ignore such critics unless you are able to find something valuable in what they have to suggest. If such men are numbered among your "friends" you will want to keep an eye on the relationships and avoid having them take your "side" in any dispute. Their syllogisms are slippery, their logic is leaky, and their reasons are unreliable. Their "assistance" will sabotage the cause of truth every time and your association with them will rob you of your influence for good.

    God's standards are revealed, fixed, and unchanging. He has defined right and wrong. He has revealed what is good and evil and He has placed His standards in an inspired volume for all to read. His children are those who have discarded their own notions about what they, and others, ought to believe and do, -- and they have replaced them with God's. When they apply what God has revealed to men's lives (first to their own, and then to others) they "judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24). They apply God's wisdom and not their own. They see and know what God has given them the standards to judge (Matthew 7:15-20).

    Learn to listen to all that God's word has to say concerning your life and conduct. Those who can and will show you your errors according to God's standards are your friends and ought to be treasured as such. Those who know God's standards and who will not show you your errors according to God's word cannot reasonably be considered your friends or God's servants.

---Tim Nichols

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The Use Of Bible Tracts

    Tracts can be, and are, useful tools to have when teaching others about the gospel of Christ. Many are available on a number of different subjects. Some are written for those outside of Christ who need to learn the first principles of the gospel. Others are written to expose denominational error. Some are intended for the member of the church who is practicing and/or teaching doctrinal error in order to get him to abandon his erroneous teachings and practices which are contrary to God's word. Still others are written to edify and strengthen the faithful.

    Tracts can effectively spread the gospel to those who are in need of hearing it. Even though many people are reluctant to attend the services of the church, they will accept a tract and read it especially if it has been given to them by someone whom they believe is genuinely concerned about their spiritual well-being.

    Christians need to avail themselves of every opportunity to evangelize. Even though the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15,16) places the burden of spreading the gospel on every generation, some fail to fulfill their share of the responsibility to it because they feel inadequate to do a good job. Using tracts, along with diligent study (2 Tim. 2:15), can help them overcome such feelings of inadequacy. Some caution, though, needs to be exercised when using Bible tracts to teach.

    First, you must recognize that a tract is written by a man who is not inspired and it has no inherent authority. The Bible is the sole source of authority in religious matters (2 Tim. 3:16,17; 2 Pet. 1:3; 2 John 9).

    You should not distribute tracts indiscriminately without knowing what is contained in them. Error can be just as easily taught by tracts as truth is. Any tract must be carefully read and compared to Scripture to see if its message is true. Only when its teachings are found to be in harmony with the word of God should it be given to another person. It is just as wrong to teach error by circulating an erroneous tract as it is to teach false doctrine from the pulpit of the church building.

    Tracts must not be used as a substitute for individual study and growth. Tracts can be properly used by any Christian whether young or old in the faith but they should not be used as a "crutch" by those who lack personal initiative to study and grow. There is no method of instruction as good as the personal teaching by a knowledgeable child of God. All Christians are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) and not just rely on such aids as tracts. Tracts are not printed to promote laziness.

    Use tracts. Use them wisely. Use them for the salvation of others and for the glory of God. Check out the tract rack today and keep a good supply on hand.

---Gene Taylor

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