This article explores the responsibilities of citizens to judge in the affairs of state.
Therefore there is a responsibility of every citizen and every governing ecclesia to walk according to God’s statutes and employ God’s judgment.
In the end, people should be judged by their actions, since in the end, it was actions that defined everyone.”
? Nicholas Sparks
The word ‘judge’ is used in various contexts and can be understood in diverse ways. It is most commonly viewed as negative; hence even amongst believers the belief is that judgment is intrusive. Conversely, the use of it in the ecclesia is not in that capacity. However, it is important to emphasise that to ‘judge’ is an attribute of maturity in every citizen. Thus it is a requirement for all citizens in a governing ecclesia to ‘judge.’
When I speak of the word judge: I understand it to be that the ecclesia in any territory is to establish a process of decisions and verdicts (judgement) upon sin and issues that arise within the community. Once this process is legislated, this then can be enforced by the collective or an individual depending on the issue or sin.
The word ‘judge’ has various meanings. Below are just a few of its varied definitions.
The Strong dictionary defines ‘judge’ as:
Properly to distinguish, that is, decide (mentally or judicially); by implication to try, condemn, punish: - avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence and to think.
In addition, the Thayers dictionary defines judging as:
To separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose, to approve, esteem, to prefer, to be of opinion, deem, think, to be of opinion, to determine, resolve, decree, to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong.
In the Kingdom of God and in His theocratic government there have always been judicial procedures which ensure God’s law is upheld. God’s law has to be maintained amongst His citizens through correct judicial procedures (the process of ensuring judgment and justice) occurring, that guarantee an honour of God’s law.
God desires that in every ecclesia His law is upheld by His citizens. His citizens are required to ensure that as His government; all citizens are clear of all judicial procedures that the ecclesia legislates. In every ecclesia the judicial procedures will vary, however the essential elements will remain the same. God’s law is holy and it remains unchanged, thus obedience is required and not optional. Failure in obeying thus necessitates a certain type of judgment (depending on the violation) by fellow citizens. (Numbers 11:29)
There are two types of judgement: the ecclesia will judge (pronouncing a verdict and arriving at a decision) a matter addressing the situation at the time. Every citizen has the right and responsibility to also judge a fellow citizen if the citizen is at fault. The next type of judgement is the type that the Lord has commanded that a citizen should not partake in. No citizen is omniscient (all-knowing), we do not know a person’s end. Thus, it is wrong for any citizen to condemn (sentence) a person to hell or of never attaining repentance. This is not our jurisdiction, only the Lord can pronounce that type of judgement, as He has determined who is of His Kingdom and who is not. (Matthew 7:1, Matthew 18:15-17, John 3:18, 36)
A governing ecclesia will foster an atmosphere of accountability thus promoting the citizen’s responsibility to each other; hence, judgment is not viewed as intrusive. This will warrant the ecclesia to legislate judicial procedures producing maturity in its citizens. Not, however, in the current church system that relies on one person or a few to make verdicts upon actions, thus incurring immaturity amongst the congregation. (Exodus 18:15-27 + Numbers 11:16-17)
The nation of Israel remained immature as they were not able to understand the law. They became increasingly dependent upon Moses and the elders. The Israelites were not able to judge between themselves and constantly relied upon Moses to decide amongst them. God then ordered that Moses should not bear the burden alone. God then appointed officers and elders (matured) to share the burden of the people’s problems and troubles so to govern within the Israelites. Israel failed to govern the way God intended because they rejected His mediation. The Lord required the Israelites to uphold the standard He set. Therefore the capacity to keep the law can only be done through the mediation of the Spirit. Since the Israelites rejected the capacity, they could not judge amongst themselves and remained immature. Only the few that received the mediation of the law through communion with God were capable to judge. When Joshua and the elders died, Israel forsook their authority and rejected their government, producing a cycle of immaturity. (Numbers 11:16-17, 29, Exodus 24:9-12, Judges 1, 2)
The corporate process of judging is the application of justice. The act of stoning was instituted as punishment to ensure that everyone in Israel participates in the judicial process. Those who witnessed a sin would partake first in the judging of those guilty. This was followed by all the people participating in the judgment. The emphasis is on the corporate body being involved within the judicial procedures. There are other examples of placing the responsibility on all Israelites to apply judgment correctly. This can be seen in responsibility of fathers to protect their daughters’ purity. The father holds the decision whether to release his daughter to the man who seduced her albeit the man still has to pay a dowry. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7, Exodus 22:16-17, Leviticus 19:15)
In comparison we see Apostle Paul’s rebuke of the Ecclesia in Corinth for their immaturity and their inability to not properly handle civilian cases. Instead of honouring God's law they preferred to go to the law courts of the lawless, therefore, declaring that God’s law is not superior and is not sufficient enough to resolve the affairs of the Kingdom. (1 Corinthians 6:1-6)
Therefore there is a responsibility of every citizen and every governing ecclesia to walk according to God’s statutes and employ God’s judgment. In the New Covenant the citizen’s capacity to obey the law can be achieved. The prophecy of Jeremiah of the mediation of the Law being written upon our hearts is fulfilled by the pouring out of the Spirit. Thus the Law of the Spirit is operating in every citizen in the new covenant producing the capacity to Judge as He judges. The ability to judge is generated from each citizen disciplining oneself according to the covenant. Then judgement can be placed upon the collective. The implication of not having a judicial system is that matters of the Kingdom will be decided by inferior law courts and incorrect justice being administered. (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:27, 1 Corinthians 2:15)
'And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.' (Revelation 1:15)
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