Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Don't Judge ... but Rebuke? (1 Timothy 5:19-20)

Today’s scripture: 1 Timothy 5:19-20

Sometimes the Bible seems to contradict itself. We’re told to “judge not” (Matt. 7:1), yet here Paul tells Timothy to “rebuke” the brethren “who continue in sin.”

How do we reconcile this apparent inconsistency?

I believe—and again, I’m no Bible scholar—it’s a matter of the heart. It’s one thing to self-righteously point out the speck in someone’s eye while overlooking the log in our own. (See Matt. 7:2-4.) It’s something altogether different if we’re lovingly attempting to guide a brother or sister away from a habitual sin.

There’s another key in Paul’s exhortation: We’re not to “receive an accusation” without corroboration. In other words, if one person accuses someone of a sin, it may or may not be true. But if two or three—or more—make the same accusation, then we can be certain the accusation is sound.

However, I must interject here. I don’t believe Paul is talking about crime. If someone is raped or robbed or abused, and there is evidence to prove it, then that one person’s testimony is sufficient.

Paul’s heart in these verses is redemption and reconciliation. And that should be ours as well. We should desire that all our brothers and sisters live in relationship with our Lord, not letting any habitual sin prevent them from being all He’s created them to be. 

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