How do we know if and when God is judging us?
We know we are being judged when we begin to learn righteousness.
Isa 26:9 With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
(Tit 2:11 NKJV) For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
(Tit 2:12 NKJV) teaching (chastening) us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
The first step to learning righteousness is realizing that we are disobedient and have believed many lies about God and ourselves. I suggest starting here with the milk doctrine of “Repentance from Dead Works”.
As you work your way though the milk doctrines, the truth will become more clear and you will learn more and more about righteousness.
What are the Commandments of God?
The commandments of God in the New Covenant are also called, “The Doctrine of Christ”.
(2Jn 1:9 NKJV) Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
Where does this doctrine come from? The scriptures…ALL of the scriptures.
(2Ti 3:16 NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
(2Ti 3:17 NKJV) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The sum of God’s word is truth.
(Psa 119:160 YLT) The sum of Thy word is truth, And to the age is every judgment of Thy righteousness!
This means that when you are able to rightly divide the word of truth, all of the scriptures will agree and come together to show us how we ought to believe and obey.
(2Ti 2:15 NKJV) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
I recommend this study series on rightly dividing: http://tryingthespirits.com/2012-05/rightly-dividing-the-word-part-1/
You also need to understand the difference between the Old and New Covenant. This study will help:
In Matthew 23, Christ is talking about the scribes and Pharisees.
(Mat 23:2 NKJV) saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
(Mat 23:3 NKJV) Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.
They want the glory for themselves and for others to call them “Rabbi”- that is “teacher”.
Christ then makes the point, “it is the Christ who is our teacher and the Father in heaven who is our true father.” The scribes and Pharisees were elevating themselves above the rest of the people and not being humble servants and helpers of other’s joy.
(Mat 23:8 NKJV) But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.
(Mat 23:9 NKJV) Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
(Mat 23:10 NKJV) And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.
(Mat 23:11 NKJV) But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.
(Mat 23:12 NKJV) And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
So Christ is not saying that there cannot be teachers in the Body of Christ, he is saying that we need to acknowledge that it is God through Christ who does the work and not us. We need to be humble servants of others and not attempt to rule over them like the scribes and Pharisees.
Paul said that he fathered the Corinthians through the Gospel, but his spirit is very different than that of the scribes and Pharisees because he acknowledged that it was “in Christ Jesus” that he did this.
1Co 4:15 NKJV) For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
Paul knew who was ultimately working on all things and did not try to keep the glory for himself.
(Php 2:13 NKJV) for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
There certainly is a need for teachers, but not all have this role in the Body of Christ.
(Eph 4:11 NKJV) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
(Eph 4:12 NKJV) for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
Paul for example was an apostle, preacher, and teacher.
(1Ti 2:7 NKJV) for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Who is ultimately teaching us?
(Joh 14:26 NKJV) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
(1Jn 2:27 NKJV) But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
It is not man’s wisdom that teaches us, it is the wisdom of God revealed by the Spirit of God.
(1Co 2:12 NKJV) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
(1Co 2:13 NKJV) These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
(1Co 2:14 NKJV) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
God has given his spirit to his people and he uses his people to proclaim the truth, that others might be saved through the foolishness of preaching.
(1Co 1:21 KJV) For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
(Rom 10:14 KJV) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
(Rom 10:15 KJV) And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
God is working all things after the counsel of his will (Eph 1;11), and a part of his will is that different parts of the Body of Christ have different functions. Few are given the gift to teach and preach, but there are many sheep in the flock of God. There are always more sheep than shepherds.
(1Pe 5:1 NKJV) The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:
(1Pe 5:2 NKJV) Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
1Pe 5:3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
The judgement is stricter for teachers because they are to serve as an example for others. If they teach lies, many will be lead astray.
(Jas 3:1 NKJV) My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
Teachers are not heavy handed rulers. They are simply spirit filled men speaking the words of God and living as an example.
(2Co 1:24 NKJV) Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.
Their job as shepherds is to remind the sheep of the truth and admonish them when they stray from that.
(1Th 5:12 NKJV) And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
(1Th 5:13 NKJV) and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
This is a tremendous study by Larry Groenewald, one of the teachers among us, about the different gifts, ministries and operations in the Body of Christ.
Are all men considered the “chief of sinners” just like Paul was?
This is an easy one to answer. Yes! Here are two verses that confirm this.
(Mat 4:4 NKJV) But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD.’ “
(Ecc 9:2 NKJV) All things come alike to all: One event happens to the righteous and the wicked; To the good, the clean, and the unclean; To him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner; He who takes an oath as he who fears an oath.
God’s word is the fire that judges us, so the way that everyone is saved is by experiencing every single scripture in the spirit. We do all the evil described in the bible as we live out being chief of sinners, and then we do all of the good as we are made like Christ.
I don’t mean we all literally kill people, rather we experience the spiritual application of killing, which is to hate another.
(1Jn 3:15 NKJV) Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Every sin in the bible has a spiritual application that we all experience.