Sunday, October 23, 2022

Justified, Satan, Judge

I don't pretend to be a Biblical scholar. I read the Good-Book and ask questions. Sometimes I stumble across things that I find interesting and want to share them.

One word that gets bandied about in the tail-feathers of the Bible is the word "justified'. It shows up in Paul's letters, most especially in Romans.

The modern nuance of the word "justified" is "well, considering all of the extenuating factors the action is not one we will prosecute". That is not how Paul uses the word.

It has been helpful to me to substitute "...made righteous..." or "...righteous..." for the word justified.

The modern sense of a "justified" shooting is a shooting where the target might have presented a risk of mortal danger or risk to limb.

The modern sense of a "righteous" shooting is a shooting where the target presented a clear-and-present danger to innocents: A thug pointing  a loaded pistol at a pregnant woman's belly or an arsonist throwing Molotov Cocktails into a crowded tenement or firing into a school.


Another word that drifted is the word "Satan".

The most common understanding of the word Satan in the Old (aka, Jewish) Testament was as "Stumbling block" or obstacle. If you accept this definition, then the parable of the seeds falling among the briers (an obstacle to progress) and the beaten path takes an interesting twist. The way to find God is somewhere between the two extremes.

When Jesus told Peter "Satan, get behind me..." he was using the word in this sense. if Jesus accepted Peter's counsel he would not be able to fulfill his mission. Peter was an obstacle not the Evil-One incarnate.

The Old Testament book that gives us the closest look at "Satan" is Job. In that book, Satan slyly proposes that men glorify God based on a quid pro quo relationship. God objects and poor, old Job takes a beating. The book of Job has been a great comfort for the less fortunate throughout the ages.

The common understanding of the word "Satan" pivoted as Christianity expanded and encountered competing religions. Many of the attributes of "Satan", i.e. cloven hooves, horns, tail, tridents.... resemble the accoutrements of Druidic and Greek "gods".

The amalgam of Revelations and mish-mash of displaced gods became the popular image of Satan.

That is not to diminish Satan's power. His first appearance is in Genesis where he separates Adam and Eve from paradise by appealing to their weakness. We were created in the image-and-likeness of God. Sadly, we fail to see that we cannot BE God even as we are drawn to be like him.

Bonus link


Another word that drifted in meaning since Biblical times is "Judging".

The general sense I get from the Bible is that to "judge" was to assume (or perhaps curse) somebody into eternal damnation. If you "judged" them as unclean or not making-the-cut for salvation then you were sinning because you made them something less than human.

Paul is a good example of why we should not judge. He held the cloaks of the people stoning early Christians, yet through God's grace became one of the pillars of the church. Should we "judge" the 20 year-old tool who carries an "Abortion is cool" sign to protest those who are holding prayer vigils outside of abortion clinics?

While we cannot know the state of her soul when she slips her mortal coil, we can exercise discernment. Discernment is a critical skill in our mission to be good stewards. It is improper (in my universe) to condemn people for exercising "discernment". After condemning the very "judging" the Bible prohibits


  1. Can o worms unpacked:

    A.) Judge not - let God sort it out.

    B.) Be discerning and keep good company. Self defense ONLY when it comes to resorting to violence.

    C.) The tree of liberty must…

    D.) Kill or be killed

  2. It was my understanding that the hebrew word usually translated as "satan" can by accurately translated as "resister". Kinda has a "stumbling block" feel to it.

  3. Interestingly enough the " Gift of Discernment" is listed as one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit . Can you imagine a powerful feeling upon you to keep a close watch on one of the persons in the childrens class that may be grooming them for perverse things ? I believe we need a revival in the Body of Holy Spirit Gifts . Preaching , teaching , healing , discernment , etc. Would they kill me if I walked through a hospital laying on hands upon and healing people or even if my shadow passed over them and they were healed ?

  4. I've always thought of Satan as a "tester." I believe that in the oldest books in the bible he is not a fallen angel. Rather, he is an angel working for God and his assigned job is to test people. Take the example of when he's wandering the world in Job and then has a conversation with God, From their interaction in that book, it doesn't appear that he is a formerly rebellious angel. I believe that the rebellion/cast into hell stories came later and it's unclear whether they are actually talking about the same angel.

  5. God does not put us to the test.

  6. Let he who is without Sin cast the first stone....

  7. I’ve been making $80 every hour since I started freelancing over the internet half a year ago. I work from home several hours daily and do basic work I get from this company that I stumbled upon online. I am very happy to share this work opportunity with you. It’s definitely the best job I ever had.
    Check it out here... Www.Profit97.Com


  8. Those of the world already stand in judgment in light of the righteousness of Christ and will be condemned if they do not turn away from worldliness.

    It is not our place to condemn. Condemnation belongs to God and Him alone. Christ did not come to condemn the world but to save it. However, His return will not be in regards to salvation but to bring about the redemption of creation from the curse of sin and those who who have been redeemed by the righteousness of God.

    Those of Christ do have a responsibility of judging and passing judgment, not of the world but within the body of Christ. For it is through the body of Christ living as he has called us to live that the world can truly know that God is, that he sent his son, and that he does indeed love us all. It is through us carrying out the will of Christ - living as one as he and the father are one - that the world can know salvation.

    Believers must maintain a form of unity that can only be brought about by the spirit of God through Christ. It is a form of unity that will cause the world to say, “we need to change our way of life because of how these people live” or say “we need to destroy these people because their way of life expose our unrighteousness and evil”. To maintain this unity we must judge ourselves daily and our household of faith so that those of the world will not have a reason to say that we were the cause of their unbelief.

    Judgment amongst ourselves does not come without sacrifice. We must individually decide what we need to do in order to maintain the unity that Christ has called us to, and we also must decide as a body to do what we need to do in order to maintain the unity Christ has called us to.

    As it stands today, the world blasphemes God and righteousness because of the division that exists in all of Christendom; because we have failed to exercise judgment within ourselves and our body of faith. The world has a reason to say to God why should we believe in you when your own believers don’t believe in your word.

    What judgments must be made and what must we give up amongst ourselves as individuals and as a body to carry out the will of Christ so the world will have a reason to believe that God is, that he sent his son, and that he truly does love us all?


  9. ERJ, a difficult but not unworthy topic about which much ink (and sadly, blood) has been spilled over the years.

    The "pause" you are alluding to in "judgement" versus "discernment" is found, in my mind, in Christ's admonition in John 7:24: "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement" - which gets back to admonition in Matthew for the Sermon on The Mount to "Remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

    The other useful thing, at least for me to remember, is Paul's admonition that Christians are not to judge those "out in the world", but only those that name themselves as Christians (1st Corinthians 5:12) as they are the ones who, as in theory follow Christ's teachings, hold to the standard all Christians should judge themselves by.

    As to those who, often young, adopt positions which seem counterintuitive to what is in the larger best interest - I remember that I, too, lacked experience to see things in a larger context, and that many people who undoubtedly knew better were patient with me (my parents among them). When things collapse - and not just big things, but little things as well - the last place people are likely to go are places where bitter acrimony has been the experience and "I told you so" is the price of entry to acceptance.

  10. Oddly, when I think of Satan and imagine what he looks like, only my ex-wife comes to mind.


Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.