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Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Facts on Punishment, Discipline, and Condemnation

God punishes, God disciplines, God is a perfect Father
When I wrote God Punishes, some of my readers insisted the Bible teaches that God doesn't punish believers.

This is an important subject, so let's address their objections:

Objection: God disciplines but never punishes. We simply suffer consequences. 

In English and Greek, discipline can include punishment. More relevant is the fact that Hebrews 12:6 says God disciplines and punishes.(1)   

Objection: God is good and only gives good gifts (James 1:17). Therefore, He's not a part of punishment, trials or difficulties in our lives. 

Good isn't the same as pleasant. 

Discipline and punishment can be good for us, increasing our faith - Hebrews 12:11; Revelation 3:19. (2) 

Objection: Since there's no condemnation for Christians (Romans 8:1-2), there's no punishment. 

Condemnation (a final verdict) is different from discipline and punishment. Believers are not condemned, but neither are we freed from consequences or punishments here on earth.(3)
It's important we have the correct view of God. If we believe God is perfect and loving, we'll accept His right to punish His children.

(1) In Heb.12:6 the Greek word for discipline can include punishment.
And there's no doubt about the Greek word for punish which literally means "whip." 
(2)  1 Peter 1:6-7, James 1:2-4, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 
(3) Condemnation is a different word in the Greek than either discipline or punishment. It involves punishment after a verdict of guilt. We often say a man is "condemned to death." See Romans 6:23.  

Bible Study

Here's some longer passages that talk of God's perfect punishment and discipline. For the sake of space, I've linked them instead of including the full text.

In Revelation 2-3 Christ warns the churches how and why He will punish them.

In Acts 5:1-11, God publicly punishes Ananias and Saphirra to instill a healthy fear in the church. It's clear that these are direct punishments from God since dishonesty in spiritual matters doesn't result in instant death for everyone (i.e. it's not a natural consequence).

In 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, Paul tells the church to punish a church member in the name of Jesus.

In Numbers 20:1-12, Moses was punished for the way he handled one situation as a leader.

In 2 Samuel 12, God punished David in specific ways that are not natural consequences for his sins.

Psalm 106 gives an overview of Israeli history and the many times God punished them for their good.

We must be willing to say like the Psalmist:
Psalm 119:75: I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.    

1 Peter 4 contains a number of clear principles regarding suffering and punishment.

copyright 2016, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Biblical Judgment: 5 Errors & 5 Commands

Appropriate Biblical Judgment, Judge Biblically, Matthew 7:1-4
If we are going to judge Biblically:

1. We can't have a critical spirit. 

We must judge things fairly, not negatively or hopelessly (Philippians 4:8).

2 We can't be hypocritical.

We must honestly confess our own sins before we can help others deal with their sins (Matthew 7:1-5).*

3. We must not judge externals like wealth, popularity, looks, or position (1 Samuel 16:7; John 7:24; James 2:1-8). 

4. We must have genuine concern for those we confront.

Confrontation in love and humility is constructive, not destructive. (John 13:34-35; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 4).

5. We must reject cut and paste explanations about Biblical judgment.

By taking a single phrase out of context (Matthew 7:1), many Christians are letting culture, not Scripture, shape their thinking.

Our culture hates judgment, not sin. God hates sin and encourages appropriate judgment.

Let's follow Jesus, not culture. 
*This is where the famous "Judge Not" passage is pulled out of context. Verse 5 says after we remove our own "planks" we are then in a position to judge the "specks" of others. "First....then..." 
Want to read more about Biblical Judgment? Check out the "Misunderstandings About Judgment" Archive.

Bible Study
Below are 5 situations when the Bible commands us to judge.

Appropriate Biblical Judgment, Judge Biblically, Matthew 7:1-4
1. Corporate/Church/formal Judgment.

Matthew 18:15-17: “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

2. Judging fellow believers to save them from destruction:

James 5:19-20: My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

3. Judging our influences and associations:

2 Corinthians 6:14: Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? (NLT) 

1 Corinthians 5:9-11: I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

4. Judging for our protection:
1 Corinthians 15:33: Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 

Ephesians 5:11-13: Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 

5. Judging teachings and teachers by what they teach and how they live. 

Matthew 7:15-20: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

copyright 2016, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Monday, October 10, 2016

2 Ways to Maintain Healthy Thinking & Word Study of Philippians 4:8

Philippians 4:8, Healthy Thought Patterns, word study of Philippians 4:8
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and some of us find it especially challenging to "take our thoughts captive" (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). 

I can over-think things and make myself miserable. Others can under-think and become irresponsible. These two steps can keep over and under thinkers on track.

1. Dwell on what's good in your life (Philippians 4:8-9). 

What if we can't think of anything good? Usually we need to re-focus. But even when our life is at its worst, we can always dwell on these: 

   A. Our salvation (Romans 6:23). 

   B. Our knowledge that one day all 
       suffering will end (Revelation 21:4).

   C. Scripture passages and songs that 
       give us hope and strength 
      (Colossians 3:16).

2. Guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).

 Make sure that the influences in your life are uplifting. That includes: 

A. Entertainment (TV, Movies, etc.) (Psalm 101:3).
B. Music (Ephesians 5:18-20).
C. Relationships- as much as it depends on you to choose the right companions (1 Corinthians 15:33).
D. Sleep and proper nutrition are also necessary for right thinking. (See Eat, Rest, Cry).

I'm thankful we serve a supernatural God who gives us practical ways to deal with life! 

Each word linked in this devotion is linked to a 1-minute devotion that develops the truth in more detail.

Bible Study

In this Bite Size Study, we're going to do something different. We're going to study the meaning of the Greek words used in Philippians 4:8 describing the type of things we should think about. I pray God gives you insight as you do this. At the bottom, I explain how you can use an online resource to do a word study of any verse.
Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

Greek: alēthḗs 
("what can't be hidden") stresses undeniable reality when something is fully tested, i.e. it will ultimately be shown to be fact (authentic).] 

Greek: semnós 
(an adjective derived from sébomai, "to revere, be in awe") – properly, what is august (dignified, has "gravitas"); weighty, deeply respected because viewed as majestic (having "gravity"); grave. 

Greek: díkaios 
("righteous, just") describes what is in conformity to God's own being (His will, standard of rightness); hence "upright." 

Greek: hagnós 
(an adjective, which may derive from the word "holy,") – properly, pure (to the core); virginal (chaste, unadultered); pure inside and out; holy because uncontaminated (undefiled from sin), i.e. without spoilation even within (even down to the center of one's being); not mixed with guilt or anything condemnable. 

Greek: prosphilḗs 
(an adjective, derived from prós, "extending toward" and philéō, "affectionate caring") – properly, worthy of personal affection; hence, dearly prized, i.e. worth the effort to have and embrace (used only in Phil 4:8). 

Greek: euphémos
well reported of, spoken in a kindly spirit, laudable, reputable. 

Greek: areté 
goodness, a gracious act, virtue, uprightness. 

Greek: épainos 
(from epí, "on, fitting," which intensifies aínos, "praise") – properly, fitting (apt) praise, i.e. accurate acknowledgment (appropriate commendation, recognition); enthusiastic acknowledgment for what deserves praise. 

All of these meanings from Bible Hub.

If you would like to do a word study, you can do it easily without a library of resources by using Bible Hub. 

  • Book mark this Entry Page
  • Type in any single verse in the top box and click the search. 
  • When the verse comes up, click the word "Greek" in the light blue band. This will bring up a list of each word in the passage. 
  • To find a definition, click the number in the far left column.
  • I would suggest you start by studying the words that describe love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Remember that you must put each verse in separately to use this tool on Bible Hub.

copyright 2016, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
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