The Heart of the New Covenant

Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 in Scripture

The New Covenant found in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:22-36 is of great importance for those who are new creatures in Christ. The central thought in this covenant is that God acts in or on the hearts of those whom He chose before the foundation of the world to be His people for the glory of His own name. Note the verses that form the “heart” of the covenant:

Jer 31:33  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Eze 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Eze 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Eze 36:28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Notice the promises attached to the covenant: God promises a new heart of flesh and a new spirit (Ez 36:26). He promises to put His law in them and to write it on their hearts (Jer 31:33). He promises to put His Spirit within them and cause them to walk in His statutes and obey His rules (Ez 36:27). Follow the order: A heart of stone replaced by a heart of flesh (stone can be broken, flesh cannot). The law written on that heart of flesh (internal) as opposed to the Law written on tablets of stone (external). The Spirit put inside them, again denoting and inward work instead of the typical working from without as in the Old. And this Spirit will lead one to be holy and blameless, the purpose of their calling in Christ. So that, God said, “I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jer 31:33; Ez 36:27). “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people…” (1 Pet 2:10a). And we see that obedience is not optional in the life His people. He has given us all that we need in His law and in His Spirit to live for Him as the children of God. May we seek to live in the power of that Spirit, keeping our conduct pure in the face of darkness (1 Pet 2:12).

 

Book Review: Beat God to the Punch

Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 in Book review

Beat God to the Punch is all about experiencing God’s grace now so we don’t/won’t experience His wrath later – to use Eric Mason’s phrase from Philippians 2:9-11 – bow now or bow later. In a word – beat God to His wrath, what he describes as God’s punch.

The book is an exposition of John 1:35-51. He gives the them of the passage and the book as an investigation into “how Jesus engages us to walk with Him as His disciples under His Lordship through the gospel of grace” (11). It is a book about the Lordship of Christ and the grace necessary to receive and submit to Him as Lord.

Mason is biblical. The grace he sets forth is not a grace that allows a follower of Christ to live however he pleases. The believer, Mason rightly asserts, is active in sanctification. Growth in Christ into His headship is a process, a process that involves grace. “Sanctification is the only aspect of our relationship with God that God demands our participation. Note an important distinction: our sanctification does not depend on our participation (it depends entirely on God’s participation), but God demands that we participate. In our spiritual growth, or our sanctification, we are called to work, and that work flows from what God has done for us in Jesus Christ” (34).

So then, this is a book about the need for God’s grace in beginning, sustaining, and fulfilling our walk with Him in Christ. Chapter 1 articulates our need for grace followed in chapter 2 by how we experience that grace in the Christian life. Chapter 3 describes the work of the Holy Spirit in imparting grace. Chapter 4 addresses the way that grace has been rightly set forth in the history of the church, and how it has been abused or cheapened as well. And finally, he concludes with how grace brings us home.

Given the controversy that exists concerning the law and grace (nothing new under the sun), this is a timely book that I highly recommend. Mason asserts the demand to bow to the King, to submit to Christ as Lord. Grace does not allow us to do what we want when we want and receive God’s blessing. Freedom, yes, but freedom that demands obedience to the King. I think he would agree, with freedom comes the responsibility to live in accordance to that freedom.

(I received a pre-publication copy of this book from the publisher with a request to review. Book release date is September 15, 2014)

Mercer on Ordination

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 in Baptist History, Pastoral

I ran across this excellent paper by the 19th century Georgia Baptist statesman Jesse Mercer. It speaks to the importance of rightly examining a pastoral candidate. I look forward to doing that this weekend as a group of men consider Dallas Goebel at Burton Memorial Baptist in Bowling Green, KY.

 

Baptist History Homepage

Circular Letter
Ninth Anniversary of the Baptist Convention
State of Georgia
April, 1830″The Scriptural Meaning and Manner of Ordination”
By Jesse Mercer

BELOVED IN THE LORD:
When we last assembled, I had the pleasure of presenting you, “A Dissertation on the Pre-requisites to Ordination to the Gospel Ministry;” it was then further requested that I would prepare one, “on the meaning and manner of ordination,” which now, by the grace of God I make an effort to perform. And,     I. “The scriptural meaning of ordination” must consist in the appointment of God, involving all the gifts, graces and mental endowments requisite to, and “the scriptural manner” in those ceremonies, which the practice of the Apostles furnishes to give visibility, consideration and respect to those, who are approved as qualified of God for that high office. The meaning then must be gathered from what Christ and his Apostles said, the manner from what they did in ordaining men to preach the everlasting Gospel.

Christ ordained twelve, whom he named Apostles; and whom, as such, he gave to be the founders of his kingdom — “To bind up the testimony, and seal the law among his Disciples.” But these, in common, with the seventy, and all after ministers of God to the end of time, were appointed and commissioned to preach the gospel to all nations. Matthew, x.1. states that Christ “called unto him his twelve disciples, and (edoken autois exausian) gave them power.” — Luke, after using the same words, throws in another (denamin) to give emphasis to their authority. Luke ix.1. By an examination of the words here used , “the meaning of ordination” will be clear. The word (edoken) used by both Evangelists and rendered gave, signifies to give freely; which Matt. x8. Shews, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” — By reference to texts where this word occurs, its application, in this case, will be clearly seen. See John iii.16. “God gave(edoken) freely gave, his only begotten son,” &c. Chap. vi. 51. “And the bread which (doso) I will give freely for the life of the world.” That such is the dispensation of the Gospel, the declaration of Paul will fully testify. Eph. iii.7, 8. “I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God, given unto me — Unto me is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unreachable riches of Christ.” It also signifies to give in trust. As in Matt. xiv.19. “He blessed and broke and (edoke) gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” — And Chap. xxv. 9. “And unto one (edoke) he gave (in trust) five talents, to another two, and to another one.” And Mark xii. 9. He will come and destroy the husbandman and (dosei) will give the Vineyard to others (in trust). With this agrees the following Texts: 1 Cor. ix. 16, 17. “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of, for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel. For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.” 2 Cor. v. 18, 19. “And all things are of God; who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” — and “hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation;” with which compare 1 Cor. iv. 1. with 1 Tim. i. 11. and vi. 20. Mark records it thus: Chap. iii.14, 15. “And he (epoiese) ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have (exousian) power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils.” Here the main object is expressed “that he might send them forth to preach.” The power “to heal sickness and cast out devils” was incidental for the confirmation if their testimony. The word (epoiese) here rendered ordained, is used to express a change of character, as in Matt. iv. 19. “And he saith un to them follow me, and (epoiese) I will make (or constitute) you fishers of men.” See Mark i. 17. And Luke xv. 19. “And (the last son said unto his father) (poieson) make me, as one of thy hired servants.” But the official constitution for which this word is used, will be clearly seen in the following texts: John vi. 15. “When Jesus perceived that they would take him by force (poiesozin) to make(or constitute) him a King, he departed” &c. Acts ii. 36. “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God (epoiese) hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” The word (anedeicen) used by Luke x. 1. rendered appointed, signifies to shew openly, or to manifest, as in Acts i. 24. “Thou Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, (anedeixon) shew (openly or manifest) whether of these two thou hast chosen.”

But the official degree of the ministers of Christ will appear by an examination into the meaning of the word (exousian and dunamin)power and authority. These words are used to express official power, or jurisdiction. Thus Christ in reference to his life says: John x. 18. “I have (exausian) power to lay it down, and I have (exausian) power to take it up again.” Matt. vii. 29. “For he taught them as one having (exousian) power and not as the Scribes.” Mark i. 27. “And they were all amazed, saying, what thing is this? for with (exousian)authority commandeth he the unclean spirits and they obey him.” Luke xx. 20. “And they watched him — so they might deliver him unto the (exousia) power and authority of the Governor.” Also xxiii. 7. “And as soon as he knew that he belonged to Herod’s (exousias)jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod.” Compare these with Matt. xxxiii. 18. And John xix. 10. And what more is necessary to show that Christ gave his ministers all the fulness [sic] of the gospel treasure, with official power to administer it? “The meaning of ordination” then is, that the individual ordained is approved as a minister of God, and sent forth, endued with power from on high, to preach the gospel and administer its ordinances, wherever he may be called, in the Providence of God.

II. “The manner of ordination” will be found in those rites and ceremonies, used by the Apostles in setting men apart to the gospel ministry — and these appear to be,

1. Designation. — To assertain whom God has called and fitted for the work is an important part in “the manner of ordination.” This lies at the foundation. It is the preservative of a sound and spiritual ministry. Inattention at this point, the indulgence of fleshly wisdom and human discretion in this matter, is the inlet to corruption, impurity, division and strife in the churches of Christ. The utmost therefore, must be had to find out and forward those, and those only, in whom the evidences of a divine call are clear.

But it may be asked, whose duty is it? It is answered, even nature teaches us, that the church has the first concern in this important duty. She is the mother. It must be her’s to rear her sons in the service of God, according to their several ability. The general instructions given the Churches in scripture prove this; but the special instructions directions given in 1 Cor. 12 and 14 Chapters, and the 4 Chapter of Ephesians, show very clearly that it is the duty of the church to exercise the same care for, and give the same direction to her members, as a natural body does, that each be found in its proper place, and all acting to edification and comfort. A careful examination of the Epistles sent by Jesus Christ to the seven churches of Asia, will show the responsibility of the churches in this respect. For if some of those were commended because they could not bear them that were evil, and had tried false Apostles, and found them liars; and others were condemned, because they retained among them those, who held and propagated false doctrines, and suffered them to teach and seduce the Lord’s servants: then it must be the duty of all the churches carefully to distinguish the good from the evil, and to know and maintainthose only, who preach and defend their Lord’s truth. But a critical notice of Acts xiv. 23. will testify that Paul and Barnabas ordained Elders in the churches, through which they traveled, at their instance, and must have been selected by them; for the word (autois) them, referring to (matheton) disciples in the preceding verse, being in the dative, shews the Elders were ordained to or for the disciples; and the phrase (kat or kata ekplesian) rendered in every church, rather shows that they were ordained in agreement with the will or desireof the church. Lexicographers agree that kata, when followed by an accusative (as it is in the text) expresses agreement, or the accordance of one thing with another. And this fact is abundantly confirmed by its use in the New Testament. Then the agreement of the intercession of the spirit with the will of God is expressed by kata theon. Rom. viii. 27. and in 1 Peter iv. 6 the accordance of holy living with the will of God is expressed by the same phrase. The agreement of the death and resurrection of Christ is expressed by kata graphas, 1 Cor. xv. 3, 4. Kata saraka (after the flesh) is used in several verses in Rom. viii to show the accordance of living in sin with the desires or will of the flesh; and so kata ekklesian, in the text, testifies the ordination of the Elders was in confirmation with the will of the church. But the work of designation stops not here. Ministers, especially Pastors, have a very responsible part in this business — They are the watchmen on the walls — have the care of the churches and the ministry both in their hands. Responsible office! No good reason can be plead why Paul and Barnabas were called on, in their journey at Systra, Iconium and Antoich, to ordain them Elders, unless it was their duty? But this is confirmed by the instructions to, and injunctions laid upon Timothy and Titus in this matter; and why should Paul have appointed Titus to seek out and ordain Elders in Crete, except it was a ministerial work? The cautions given by Paul to these young ministers, together with the command Christ gave the seventy, immediately on their appointment, to pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest, proves most conclusively the duty of ministers to bring forward others into the field; and to see well to it, whom they introduce into the sacred office. But,

2. Examination. — If the call of God, inspiring holy qualities, fitting men for the responsible office, be the governing principle in ordination, then an examination into these facts must be indispensable. If a man must desire the office — be apt to teach and blameless, these things must be inquired into. But by whom should the examination be conducted? By the church! by no means; the church is the only proper Judge of character. But by the Presbytery, or session of Elders. These, being duly called, should proceed to inquire of the church relative to the character of the candidate both in and out of the church, and of the usefulness of his gifts; and then of him relative to soundness of his faith — his desires of the office — his motives leading him to take it upon him, and the objects he has in view, to be accomplished by his instrumentality; of which last the Presbytery is the best judge. The whole is go be conducted according to the requisitions of scripture. And if all (both Church and Presbytery) are unanimously and comfortably agreed (for there must be no schism in this case) that the thing is of the Lord, then let the Presbytery proceed.

3. By prayer and fasting (the church uniting in these) with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery (or of one on the part of the rest) to set him apart to the great work of the ministry. In the use of prayer and fasting in the manner of ordination, all are agreed; but tolaying on of hands objection is made — First, because it is not always mentioned in cases of ordination, in connection with them. But the argument is just as fair against prayer and fasting, because they are not always mentioned in connection with it; and so by this mode of reasoning we should be left without any form or significant ceremony in ministerial ordinations. But would not this be a sinful negligence? But secondly, it is objected to, because it was used by the Apostles in conveying the gifts of the Holy Ghost. But, this significant jesture [sic] is not restricted in scripture, either to the Apostles, or the gifts of the Holy Ghost. The Prophets and Teachers in the Church at Antioch used it, and Timothy is allowed and cautioned about its use, and these were not Apostles. And there is no case of ordination to the gospel ministry on record where Apostles exclusively presided; or where the jesture was used to impart the gift of the Holy Ghost. In most instances those ordained were full, already, of the Holy Ghost — so that this objection has no support from scripture. But from the scriptural account we have of this rite in ordination to church, or ministerial offices (for it is used in both;) and from the fitness of its meaning to convey the sense of the Presbytery in approving and receiving a fellow-brother into the ministry; and from its being the only outward sign, used in ordinations, recorded in the practice of the Apostles, we are decidedly of opinion it should never be wanting in “the mannerof ordination” among us.

Let it be further considered, that Paul attaches importance to laying on of hands by the classification he gives in Heb. vi. 1, 3. He terms it a doctrine, whose foundation needed not to be laid again, but to have built thereon the Gospel practice it taught “to perfection.” By reference to the rites of the law, we shall find this among the institutions of God. First, to signify his appointment, and the inspiration of the spirit of Wisdom. Num. xxvii. 18. “And the Lord said unto Moses, take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thy hand upon him.” Verse 20. “And thou shalt put some of thine honorupon him.” — Verse 22 and 23. “And Moses did as the Lord commanded, and took Joshua, and laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge.” Compare Deut. xxxiv. 9. Secondly, this rite is used to express a transfer of any thing from one to another. Thus in Lev. i. 4. It is commanded when any one brought a sacrifice for sin, “He shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering; and it shall be accepted for him, to make an atonement for him.” And it is instituted in making atonement for all Israel, especially as expressed in the case of the scape-goat. Lev. xvi. 21, 22. “And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, putting them upon the head of the goat; and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities into a land not inhabited.” Thus it is plain the rite was instituted to be a sign of divine appointment and acceptance of honor, or official dignity transferred; and of qualification and fitness in him on whom hands were rightly imposed. And thus it is used in New Testament Ordinations. The word (anedeixen) used by Luke (Chap. x. 1.) to express our Lord’s appointment of the seventy, says Parkhurst, signifies, “to appoint to office by some outward sign,.” And that this word is used in this sense: “often by the profane writers, and in the apocryphal books.” What outward sign our Lord used in consecrating the seventy we are not told; but as he commanded his Apostles to teach all things whatsoever he had commanded them; we are not at liberty to believe they did, or taught what was not laid down in the examples and instructions of their Lord. The carefulness of Paul to distinguish his own sentiments from the commands of Christ will justify this inference. It is then, quite likely, he laid his hands on them.

The ordination of Mathias was only a transfer (we conceive) to the apostolic number, to fill the place of Judas, and not properly an ordination to the gospel ministry. The first ordination to church-office by the Apostles, is that of the seven. Acts vi. 6. What kind of office this was we pretend not to judge, but after they were selected by the multitude of the disciples, they were set before the Apostles, and “they prayed and laid their hands on them.” For what? Not to give them the Holy Ghost; for they were full of it; but doubtless to approve and confirm them in their office.

When Paul and Barnabas were, by divine order, set apart to the work of preaching the insearchable riches of Christ to a dying world, the prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch, “Fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, and sent them away.” For what? They were already called to the work. It must have been to give the outward sign, and approval of the inward call thereto. — Paul and the Elders associated with him in the ordination of Timothy, laid their hands on him, not to give him a gift, but to give him an outward sign of that gift, which was in him by the spirit of prophecy. The solemn charge given Timothy, in reference to the use of this jesture shows that Paul viewed it as the consecrating sign.

But it is alleged, the account given us of the ordination of Elders in Acts xiv. 23. Affords us no evidence of the use of this ceremony; but it is believed, a minute construction of that text will prove the contrary. It is granted the verb Cheirotoneo is intransitive and literally signifies to extend or stretch out the hand, and is used for appointments made by sufferage, or holding up the hand as a mode of choosing. — The word used expresses the state of being chosen, as in 2 Cor. viii. 19. Here the brother is the subject of the verb, and the churches choosing, are in the genitive. But the order of words in the text is altogether different, and must receive a different construction. The word here used (Cheirotonesantes) is an active transitive participle agreeing with Paul and Barnabas understood, and governing (Presbuterous) Elders in the accusative. Now in this case the act must pass over from the agents to the objects, and if the act of the verb is to extend the hand, then the hands of the Apostles must have extended to, or on the Elders; and this is laying on of hands. But should it be said that the participle here does not govern (Presbuterous) Elders, then some preposition must be understood to govern the accusative case, and what but (eis) unto can be that proposition to make sense in the construction of the sentence. Then it will stand thus: And they extended their hands (eis Presbuterous) unto Elders, and this would be still laying on of hands. So that a fair and literal construction of the text leaves us with a conviction that these Elders were ordained by the laying on of hands of the Apostles.

I am, dear Brethren, yours in the bonds of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

JESSE MERCER.

=================[Minutes of the Ninth Anniversary of the Baptist Convention of Georgia, 1830, pp. 30-38. From a photocopy from Mercer University Library. -- jrd]

Book Review: Recovering Redemption

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2014 in Book review

Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer is both a refreshing and an honest read. Refreshing because they share real life struggles and pursuits. Honest because they show how messy ministry can be – because of sin. But the struggles due to sin and the mess of relationships because of the fall can be overcome when one recognizes the freedom and forgiveness of redemption in Christ. That is what Chandler and Snetzer seek to set forth – and they do so well. From the back cover:

Recovering Redemption, written with a pastor’s bold intensity and a counselor’s discerning insight, takes you deeply into Scripture to take you deeply within yourself, discovering that the heart of all our problems is truly the problem of our hearts. But because of what God has done, and because of what God can do, the most confident, contented person you know could actually be you – redeemed through Jesus Christ.

The book is given in two parts, though they do not break it down as such in the table of contents. The first part is doctrinal, and the subtitles of each chapter demonstrate this. The second half is given between the doctrines of sanctification and perseverance and focuses on the practical. Of course, there is some overlap as they share practical stories in the doctrinal chapters and doctrine is mingled throughout the practical chapters.

This is a book about change, how the gospel changes the heart, once you’ve received Christ and His transforming power. If you are struggling with sin – read it. If you are in bondage to sin – read it. If you’ve never trusted Christ as Lord and Savior, read it. And if you think you’re ok – READ IT! Find out more @ RecoveringRedemption.com.

(I received a pre-publication copy of this book from the publisher with a request to review.)

Camp of Champions 2014

Posted: Monday, June 30, 2014 in Orphan Care

ABCH logoLast week I had the privilege of attending  Camp of Champions at Shocco Springs. It is a time sponsored by Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes where their foster families, group homes, workers and supporters come together for fellowship. The adults receive training and the kids have a sort of VBS. It is an intense time for all, but one that is profitable for the kingdom of God.

I gleaned much from the seminars this year – but I wanted to pass along a few of the unfortunate yet truthful things I heard from and/or discussed with others:

1)  Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes currently has to refuse 85% of referrals across the state because they don’t have enough homes to provide care. Executive Director Rod Marshall stated that while he is thankful for the 15% they do take in because he knows they are going to good homes, he loses sleep at night not knowing where the other 85% will go. His prayer is that the church would rise up and put the government out of the foster care business. HOWEVER…

 2)  The percentage of children coming into state DHR care from adoptive homes is on the rise. This is tragic, but history often repeats itself. The orphan care emphasis in religious circles is cyclical and is currently on the upswing. Some presume that they are called to bring children into their homes from outside, often thinking they are a lesser Christian if they do not. We need families given to orphan care. All should have a heart to help in some way. We need folks to prayerfully consider bringing these children into their homes. All are called to orphan care – but not all are called to house children. Imagine the horror in a child who has waited for adoption, been taken in, only to be given up again. This breaks my heart.

 3)  There is a hierarchy of “price” for domestic adoption based on race. Yes, prejudice exists even in domestic adoption. White children are the most expensive to adopt, followed respectively by Asian children, Hispanic children, and lastly African American children (who are sometimes free). This too is tragic.

 4)  Finally, I asked one of the social workers how the surge of illegal children crossing the the Mexico/Texas border would affect orphan care. While these children are considered “incarcerated” at present by the government, this administration will have to decide what to do with these illegals – and we don’t know what will happen. These children come from situations in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and other places where they have seen violence such as we will never see. And some have participated in such violence. Childcare services in some states have already been alerted and/or asked to help relieve the pressure and have denied to this point because they simply are not prepared – and may never be – for this difficult situation.

Pray for these children! And pray how you might help children who need God-centered homes, gospel-oriented families, and gospel-focused care.

Thoughtful reflection on T4G from Iain Murray http://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2014/thoughts-together-gospel-conference-2014/

Edwards’ Resolution #30

Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 in Resolutions

download30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

This is not a call to higher religion in a cultural sense, nor simply a striving for more religious knowledge. It is not to strive for standing with God but striving because of standing with God. It is striving to please God. It is the pursuit of holiness and godliness. It is the desire to walk in closer communion with Him.

This is also a commitment to “exercise” grace. God has given numerous means by which man might discipline self for the purpose of godliness. Bible intake (reading, studying, memorizing, meditating on, praying through, listening to, and applying God’s Word); prayer (corporately and privately); worship (with emphasis on preaching and teaching of the Word and the right practice of the ordinances); missions & evangelism; and joyful giving — these are but a few of the ways God has provided His grace for us to grow and be conformed to the image of His glorious Son.

And by necessity this is a call to examine ourselves, to evaluate ourselves for progress in our sanctification. Are we “higher” than we were the last week? Examination is not simply for the purpose of finding and killing sin – though that is certainly a part. But as Paul suggests at the Lord’s Table, examination is to remember the grace of forgiveness and the freedom from the bondage to sin that is ours in Christ.

Rom 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Rom 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.