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Obedience to Abolish Suffering
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{Mini Bible Study} “Obedience to Abolish Suffering”


            A first glance at the title to this study might make some one think that this is going to be an article on suffering, but in actuality it is going to be about judgment and authority.

            There are a few ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for 6 months or so now about where as a Christian does my authority stand when trying to decide how to apply GOD’s law, The Ten Commandments, to my life and the lives of others. Where does my authority and responsibility to teach, hold others accountable and possibly even enforce GOD’s law begin and where does it end?

            In the Old Testament there were two separate sets of laws that people had to adhere too, the Ceremonial Law and the Ten Commandments. Now that the Ceremonial Law has been done away with most people would think that we only have one set of laws left to follow, but the truth is we have two.

            First, as expected, we have GOD’s eternal Ten Commandments, and second we have mankind’s legal systems of justice. Very often we Christians get the two confused and intermingle them, in reality it is very important that we keep them completely separate for the purposes of judgment and equal justice. Even though both sets of laws have some similar criteria such as not to kill, or not to steal, they are two totally separate sets of laws. In the areas of final judgment within man’s judicial systems we have complete authority through our appointed judges and in other smaller ways, but under GOD’s Ten Commandments we have no authority.

            Let me quickly explain the differences in the two systems to make this all clearer.

            An example would be…

            A certain man commits a murder, he is caught, put on trial, found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison. While in prison he comes to know Jesus, repents and finds salvation.

            Mankind’s system of justice is “immediate”, when a person commits a crime and is caught, tried and sentenced, he must pay for his crime during his lifetime here on earth. But in GOD’s system of justice, crime, or we should call it sin, is “cumulative”, meaning man’s sinful actions are added up over a lifetime and he does not pay for his crimes or sins until judgment day, unless he has accepted Jesus who then has paid for his sins through the cross. 

            In the example above the man is fund guilty and serves his entire sentence for his crimes under mankind’s judicial system, but under GOD’s judicial system, on judgment day the man is found not guilty because Jesus paid for his sins in full.

            Same man, same crime, two different verdicts, one guilty and one innocent, and two totally and separate sets of laws at work.

            Christians often get confused and think that since the two sets of laws have similar criteria that they somehow have authority to judge under both sets.

            Nothing could be further from the truth, when it comes to judgment under the Ten Commandments the bible clearly states that.

            “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” John 5:22

            If all judgment as been committed unto Jesus is there a danger in common man judging one another under GOD’s Ten Commandments?

            Actually there is, it’s called blasphemy.

            Seem farfetched? Let’s look, study and see.

            The bible definition of blasphemy is to make yourself out to be GOD as we can see here,

             “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” John 10:33

            We can further confirm blasphemy is making yourself out to be GOD in this verse also,

             “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” Luke 5:21

            This verse clearly shows that forgiving sins, which is an act that GOD alone has the authority to do is blasphemy if done by some one other than GOD. How often has the Seventh Day Adventist church pointed to these examples to show how priests and the popes in Roman Catholicism have committed blasphemy by claiming to be able to forgive sins, but then we completely miss the same comparison when we take it upon ourselves to judge one another, and those outside the church, under, or in light of the Ten Commandments, sometimes even going as far as thinking we have the authority to bar others from the right to enter the body of Christ, by usurping the authority to judge when we see above that all judgment is reserved to Christ alone.

            To simplify, if all judgment is committed unto Christ alone and we assume that authority for ourselves have we not committed blasphemy just as the Roman Catholics do when assuming the authority to forgive sins?

             I would say that is a clear yes.

             While we have full right under man’s judicial system to block others who might present some physical threat, such as unrepentant murderers and thieves, from entering our lives and churches, that’s where our authority ends.

             How does a sinner truly judge another sinner?

             We are all defendants in an earthly courtroom waiting our turn at trial.

 

            Have you ever been in a courtroom where the defendant on trial was allowed to stand up and say, “Your Honor, I would just like to take a moment to let you know that all the other defendants awaiting trial after me are guilty.”, and it be legally binding?

             The true danger in us taking this authority for ourselves is in the fact that we simply are not mature or wise enough to administer judgment fairly, which is why only Jesus alone can do it. We are tasked with spreading the gospel, being the best example we can and inviting as many as we can into the body of Christ before it is too late. When we take it upon ourselves to stop doing that and instead start judging others, history has proven over and over again that all we do is misuse that authority to create suffering on top of suffering. Whether we believe another’s actions are right or whether we believe their actions are wrong, we simply have no authority under GOD’s Ten Commandments to make a judgment on them either way. Jesus made it very clear that more often than not those that needed our compassion and to hear the gospel the most were going to be those that made us uncomfortable or didn’t meet our ideas of acceptable Christian behavior. If you decide to take judgment upon yourself you will never get to those people.

             I am a Seventh Day Adventist because I believe in the importance of keeping all Ten of GOD's Commandments, including the command to gather for a holy convocation or "public assembly" on the seventh day of the week as can be found in Leviticus 23:3. But GOD clearly said that the following of HIS law was to make the world a better place and that if we did so "all would be well with them (us) forever", Deuteronomy 5:29. How could "all be well" with anyone if the Law is applied to people’s lives in ways that actually cause suffering instead of destroying it?

             There is a man named Ken Ham who works for an organization called "Answers in Genesis", he is a well known crusader for the idea of creation over evolution. In his lectures he often uses the term "Evolution Goggles" to describe the effect of looking at evidence through a pre-taught series of expectations. In other words if you believe in evolution you will look at all your evidence on the basis of trying to prove evolution and filter your conclusions that way and vice versa for creation. He believes as Christians we should all use our "Biblical Goggles" and filter our evidence on the basis of the facts presented without bias since the bible teaches we should always seek absolute truth.

 

            As a Seventh Day Adventist I think we all have a pair of "SDA Goggles" that we often filter our perceptions through, it's only human that we do, and one of the main filters we use is the filter "Obedience regardless of suffering". I think we would do ourselves and mankind a favor if instead we used our "Biblical Goggles" or better yet just the plain old eyes GOD created for us, and consider GOD's perception that if mankind would obey HIS laws "all would be well forever" and instead of using the filter "Obedience regardless of suffering" we filter everything through the perception of  "Obedience to abolish suffering" when determining how we should teach and apply GOD's law, and make our decisions based on what would cause the least amount of human suffering in regards to living under GOD's Perfect Law of Liberty.

 

"Obedience to abolish suffering"

 Amen.

 -ken elliott jr December 2009