In the previous post God’s Holy Name and Discernment we mentioned that biblical discernment is critical for every Christian believer and is very important as far as our public witness to God is concerned.
To follow that, we are going to look at two more very important and practical issues about discernment. The first has to do with our knowledge of God and walk with Him. The second has to do with our future judgment by Jesus Christ. Understanding these matters should give us great assurance and confidence as believers!
#1 Knowledge of God and Walk with Him
In John 17:7 we find Jesus’ High Priestly prayer where He says, “Set them apart in truth, Your Word is truth.” The Lord Jesus asks His Father to sanctify His disciples into God’s truth! In fact, Jesus Himself is the truth of God according to John 14:6! As believers, we are set apart in Christ, set apart for God’s truth. We are made to receive truth, we are to delight in it, and we should believe and obey it!
Yet the Scriptures tell us that we are in a spiritual battle. What is that battle? It is a battle of receiving truth while combating lies.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
Our former ways of thinking consisted of vain philosophies and empty deceptions. But as saints of God, we wish to know the truths of God’s Word. When we know truth, we are able to identify the lies. When we know truth, we can appraise or give proper value and weight to things as we go through life. This is why we go to the Bible.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16 NASB
So, having submitted ourselves to God’s standard, we can then discern teachings, as well as our own hearts and behaviors. Like the Psalmist said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11)
As we gain maturity in the Word, we’re less likely to be led astray. We can have godly confidence because we have Biblical truth confidence. We get godly confidence when we take the time to understand the truth of Scripture as the Holy Spirit illumines the meaning of it to our minds and hearts. This is discernment. It is walking in truth with confidence rather than being blinded by falsehood or double-mindedness.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.” I Corinthians 2:12-15
Believers wish to know those thoughts “freely given to us by God.” Since God has translated us from our former life of sin and blindness into His truth, and brought us to know Him in the gospel – we desire to continue to grow in the light of truth. This is done through receiving the teachings of the Word of God and our understanding of that Word by the Holy Spirit who was sent to abide in us and teach us those objective truths of Scripture! This is a life-long process of growth and we need His help!
We live in dark days, even within the confines of many churches where some believe and act as if truth is not objective, but rather subjective. There are “opinions” on just about every subject matter. But only God’s “opinion” matters! In that you can have great assurance!
#2 Future Judgment by Jesus Christ
God has graciously and mercifully saved us from our sin. We are His beloved children in the gospel of Jesus Christ. But we will give an account of our life lived at His judgment seat.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10
When was the last time you thought about the reality of that moment? Is your confidence earthly or heavenly? Simply asked, what is the basis of His judgment? Solomon gave us a summary lesson when he said:
“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NASB
God judges on the basis of actual fidelity to the truths in His Word. Do we dare say: “Well I thought that…” or “my brother wanted me to…” or “I tried hard” or “my pastor told me that…” or “I had good intentions when…” My good feelings are not the judge. My niceness is not the judge. How others in the church think about me is not the judge. Whether I am liked or not liked in this world is not the judge. God is the judge – according to what His Word says. That is why the Word should always be front and center not only in our individual lives, but also in our corporate worship.
We should not be surprised when we find that God will judge us based on His standard – the Word. Do not fear what your answer will be someday! Instead, right now, fear God who told us to love, fear, enjoy, suffer for and obey Him according to the things He says in His Word. He gave us the standard of judgment beforehand and the very reason why we should discern! Believing Him and obeying Him brings us confidence toward that day!