Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Cleaning!

This week, observant Jewish people all over the world will be cleaning out the "chametz" from their homes. What does this mean? Here is a brief commentary on the custom from

Before Passover, the house needs to be cleaned so that all chametz (leavened products) are removed. Don't forget the bag of baby crackers in your diaper bag. What about the Purim treats your 3rd grader has stashed away in her desk? Gotta lift the sofa to get all that popcorn vacuumed up. While you are at it, you might as well throw some Spring cleaning in there - get out the summer clothes and put away the winter blankets and coats.

Spring cleaning is always a good thing.  I'm doing quite a bit of it myself.  Physical and spiritual cleaning.  The clutter in the closet and the clutter in my heart have to go.  Spring is a time for new birth.  However, trying to get all the leaven out on our own is absolutely impossible, and fortunately, we are not expected to do it all on our own.  In fact, in removing the leaven (which spiritually represents sin) prior to Passover, we are, in fact, doing it backwards.

In a week, we will celebrate the Feast of Passover.  Passover was fulfilled by Yeshua, who by His sacrifice paid for the sins of all who will trust in Him.   The seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread follows the one day of Passover.  The number seven (sheva) represents completeness.  Those seven days are a picture of the rest of our life.   After our sins have been forgiven at the cross, we are commanded to live a holy life - to spend the rest of our lives becoming more and more like Jesus.  In other words, getting rid of the leaven day by day.

Hebrews 10:14 says, For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8 says this:  Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Like I said, spring cleaning is good.  Self-examination is good.  But don't forget that we have One who forgave us once for all, the moment we trusted in Him at the cross.  He will help us get the leaven out!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Judge not?

Lately, it has seemed to me that "You're so judgmental" actually means "I am enjoying my sin and I don't want you to remind me." 

Are we really not to judge anything?  Let me pose a question. Isn't the statement "You're so judgmental," um, making a judgment?   (I am speaking to myself here as well).

What do the scriptures say?

First, Matthew 7, from the sermon on the mount:
Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

Because of the context, "Judge not" is actually not a command, but a warning.  Why else would the passage warn us to get the specks out of our own eyes FIRST?  And from whose eye are we to help remove the speck?  Our brothers - meaning those in the household of faith.  Not those on the outside -the passage tells us that we are not to give what is holy to the dogs, or they will turn and tear you in pieces. 

1 Corinthians 5 offers further confirmation:
I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.  But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.  For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?  But those who are outside God judges. Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person.

Galatians 6:1 says how we are to approach our brother who is caught in sin:
 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

Is there judgement when we do this?  Yes!  Is it difficult?  Yes!  Nobody wants to be called "judgmental."  As believers, we need to be careful to follow what scripture says, and to challenge, exhort, and restore those believers who are caught in sin - NOT for the purpose of condemnation, but for the purpose of restoration.  If someone comes back at you with "Stop judging me!," then perhaps this is a clue that they either don't understand the role of fellow believers in restoration, or they are not a fellow believer in the first place.