First posted: November 7, 2004
Last updated: December 16, 2004
Luke 6:38 is one of the most commonly quoted verses in the Bible. This article will study this verse in detail, considering the context in which it was declared by the Lord.
Recently, I received a teaching in the mail from a very well-known ministry. The teaching was on Luke 6:38:
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." (Luke 6:38)
[It is worth noting that the word "men" does not appear in the original Greek text, and was incorrectly added by the King James translators]
The teaching spoke of this verse in the context of financial success. However, such an interpretation has become like a spiritual stumbling block that has prevented the Body of Christ from really understanding the powerful spiritual principles hidden in this verse. As you read this verse in the context of the verses that come before and after, it becomes evident that Jesus was not speaking here about "financial success". As I stared at the verse, I asked the Lord, "What did you really mean when you said this?", and He said the following to my heart: "The key is in the word bosom".
The word translated as "bosom" in Luke 6:38 is the Greek word kolpos, which appears 6 times in the New Testament. It appears twice in the following passage:
"22And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abrahamís bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." (Luke 16:22-25)
Notice how Abraham is spoken of as a "father" in this passage (v24, 25), meaning that he was receiving Lazarus into his bosom as his son. The spiritual connection between "bosoms" and "sons" can also be seen in the next two appearances of the Greek word kolpos:
"18No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." (John 1:18)
"Now there was leaning on Jesusí bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved." (John 13:23)
We can therefore say that the "bosom" in Scripture refers to a father's bosom that takes in sons where they will be cared for, discipled, and made to grow.
The final appearance of kolpos in the New Testament is in the book of Acts:
"And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship." (Acts 27:39)
[The word "creek" was translated from the Greek word for "bosom", kolpos; a better translation, therefore, would have been "bay", since a bay acts like a "bosom" that takes in ships.]
The verse quoted above appears in the passage that describes the wrecking of the ship on which Paul was being taken to Rome as a prisoner. Paul had warned the centurion in charge of the ship to stay at the bay of "Safe Havens" for some time, because he perceived in the Spirit that there would be much "hurt and damage" if the ship departed then. However, the centurion decided to believe the pilot and the owner of the ship more than the words of Paul the prisoner (Acts 27:8-11). Paul's words, however, came to pass, and the ship was hit by tempestuous weather that forced the crew to throw many things overboard (Hebrews 12:1). This tempestuous weather continued for many days, to the point that everyone in the ship thought that they would perish at sea (Acts 27:12-20). Paul then spoke the following:
"21But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. 22And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any manís life among you, but of the ship. 23For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, 24Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. 25Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. 26Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island." (Acts 27:21-26)
Notice how God gave all the people in the ship to Paul (v24). This explains why the Spirit of God says that the ship was thrust into a "bosom" (i.e.- bay) in verse 38 quoted previously. In a sense, one can say that the entire crew became as "sons" given to Paul by God.
We can now say that Luke 6:38 is really referring to God giving us spiritual sons and daughters who will be poured into our bosoms so that we may care for them and help them to grow in the Spirit. Consider how the passages that follow verse 38 continue with the theme of "people under our care":
"39And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master." (Luke 6:39-40)
The word "master" in verse 40 is a mistranslation of the Greek word didaskalos which literally means "teacher". Notice, therefore, how, we, as teachers of others, must expect our disciples to be like us in the area where we may be instructing them. Many pastors, unfortunately, hold a position of "permanent superiority" over the people under their care. They see themselves as people of a superior spiritual caste that were sent to Earth to serve as spiritual guides to the "inferior" masses of believers who will never be as spiritually endowed as they are. The Lord Jesus, however, had a different attitude:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (John 14:12)
Notice how Jesus did not say something like this:
"Look, disciples, I am the 'Son of God', and the great works that I have done are a result of my superior spiritual nature, so don't ever expect that you will do any greater works than the ones I have done. That would be blasphemy and a disrespect to me as your leader and your God. You will never be like me, because I am 'top gun'"
Even after resurrecting, the Lord Jesus never considered Himself to be of a "superior caste":
"15Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her." (John 20:15-18)
By saying what He said in verse 17 above, the Lord Jesus was saying, "I have resurrected, and I don't rejoice in My resurrection because that makes me 'permanently superior' to My disciples; I rejoice in My resurrection because, now, My disciples have direct access to the Father as I do. I ascend to My Father and their Father; I ascend to My God and their God. I am the first of many, and My suffering and death have paved the way so that others may be just like Me."
"10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me." (Hebrews 2:10-13)
The Lord Jesus was given many spiritual children (v13) because He was willing to give of Himself; throughout His entire life, He showed the willingness to pay a price for others so that God's purposes might be fulfilled in them. His purpose was never to gain the adulation of others, but rather to have others enter into the Glory from which He came; this is why verse 10 above says that He brought many sons unto Glory.
"4I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." (John 17:4-5)
"18As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." (John 17:18-19)
"22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." (John 17:22-23)
[The word "one" here refers to "Oneness with God", since "Jehovah is One" (this is what Deuteronomy 6:4 says in the original Hebrew text)]
As we said at the beginning of this article, most preachers associate Luke 6:38 with making financial offerings in order to receive financial blessings and success from God. Financial offerings are not wrong, but it must be emphasized that Jesus did not pronounce the words of Luke 6:38 in order to get His disciples to give money. When John heard these words, he did not turn to Peter and say, "Hey, Pete, what Jesus is saying is that the key to a life of riches and success is to give generous donations at the local synagogue". When John was an old man (chronologically), he was exiled by the Roman government to the island of Patmos for preaching the Gospel, and I can assure you that John did not stay at the Patmos Hilton's VIP suite!! If Jesus had emphasized the promise of financial blessings for those who give, wouldn't John have felt just a little disappointed and deceived when he found himself living out his final days in isolation and relative poverty? John gave his life for the Lord, so it can't be said that his situation was caused by a lack of "giving". John did not feel the least bit disappointed or deceived by Jesus when he found himself contemplating the island of Patmos in loneliness and privation. Why? Because he was there when Jesus said these words:
"33Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Luke 12:33-34)
[Notice that the passage above speaks of sacrificing temporal things in order to obtain a "treasure in the heavens". In verse 34, the Lord makes a very strong statement: "If all you can think of when reading Luke 6:38 is money and other temporal things, I can tell where your heart is".]
"Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me." (Mark 10:21)
[Here, the Lord was speaking to a rich young man. Notice that Jesus did not say to him, "Give to the poor, and the Father will multiply your wealth". He told him to give away everything he had, not so that he would double the value of his stock portfolio, but to have a "treasure in heaven". It is worth noting that Jesus not only told him to give away everything, He also told him to take up the cross and follow Him, which meant that He was calling the young man to "die" figuratively (if not literally). Does this sound like the promise of a financial bonanza?]
John did not feel cheated by God when he was in the island of Patmos, because he knew that God had fulfilled his promise:
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:" (1 John 2:1)
"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:18)
Notice how he calls the epistle's readers "my little children", and notice also how both verses end by speaking of "right-handed" concepts such as "righteousness" and "truth". Why? Because John was overjoyed to have spiritual sons birthed in truth and righteousness, not illegitimate children begotten by offering them a "gospel" of blessings and comfort. John gave of himself, and, as a result, John was given many spiritual children ("give, and it shall be given unto you"). John understood the spiritual meaning of this verse in the Old Testament:
"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." (Psalm 127:3)
At one point, Peter reminded Jesus that he, along with the other disciples, had left everything to follow Him, in an effort to find out what the reward would be. Here is what Jesus responded:
"28Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 29And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospelís, 30But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life." (Mark 10:28-30)
Notice that Jesus spoke of hundredfold multiplication, even in this lifetime (not in heaven). Girgashite preachers who interpret Scriptures with their natural mind would conclude from this passage that believers who give away 1 house for the Lord's sake will be rewarded with 100 new houses. However, the preachers who make such foolish interpretations would then have to say that Peter's wife must have given birth to 100 new children for every child he left behind when he followed Jesus!!! They would also have to concede that Peter's mom must have given birth to 100 new baby girls for every sister Peter left behind to follow Jesus!!! Notice, therefore, how Jesus phrased the passage above in such a way that it becomes completely ludicrous when interpreted in a literal sense. The houses, brethren, sisters, mothers, children, and lands that Jesus refers to in verse 30 are all spiritual, and even the number 100 has a spiritual connotation. Notice that the number "100" has 3 digits, and each digit position has a meaning: the least significant digit (the "0" on the right) represents the "body"; the second least significant digit (the "0" in the middle) represents the "soul", and the most significant digit (the "1") represents the "spirit". In other words, God will give you a multiplication that transcends the physical and soul realms and reaches into the spirit realm. Notice that the number "100" is nothing if you take away the "1" (i.e.- the spirit value). So is with the reward you receive. If your reward does not transcend the physical and soul realms, your reward is worthless in the eyes of God.
Many believers who deliberately ignore the spiritual realm claim Luke 6:38 at the material level and do get results. Why? Because God will allow the spiritual laws to operate at the level you choose. If all you see in Luke 6:38 is a ticket to financial blessings, God will allow it to operate at the financial level, but the benefits obtained will only be temporary and of no eternal consequence; you will be materially prosperous, but spiritually sterile, because you will have forsaken spiritual children for material blessings; those around you whom you long to reach for the Lord will not be reached, because you will have forsaken your spiritual authority to reach them.
"24But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets." (Luke 6:24-26)
If the rewards are spiritual, where do the "money" and other natural things come in? Some believers out there might say, "All this talk about spiritual blessings sounds nice, but I have bills to pay and kids to feed; man does not live by the spirit alone". Such believers need to remember what the Scriptures say about material and emotional needs:
"6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." (1 Timothy 6:6-9)
As we have shared in a previous article, Scripture speaks of contentment when it comes to temporary needs. The opposite of "contentment" is "ambition" or "drive", and verse 9 above speaks of the dangers of being ambitious for natural things. We are to be "ambitious" or "driven" in the Spirit, strongly desirous of seeing God's purposes fulfilled in our own lives and in the lives of others. As long as you maintain your "ambition" over seeing God's purposes and righteousness fulfilled on Earth, your material needs will be faithfully provided for by our God who knows what we need even before we ask Him:
"31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:31-33)
As we have shared in previous articles, God will many times call you to suffer material or emotional lack as a redeeming agent in the lives of others. However, we must be able to discern between scarcity produced by sin and scarcity for the sake of others. Those who suffer financial difficulties because they decided to buy a car they did not need, for example, are suffering because of covetousness. On the other hand, those who suffer financial scarcity as a result of obedience are breaking new spiritual ground through their suffering. In such cases, however, I can assure you that God will provide the believer with every meal and every piece of clothing he or she needs during the ordeal, and, even the missed meals will be because God willed the believer to fast at that time. It must be noted, though, that this type of sacrifice is completely voluntary. The moment a believer deliberately says to God, "I quit, Lord; this suffering is too intense for me; I want the 'good life'", you can rest assured that God will remove the believer from His volunteer army and restore him or her to a condition of financial and emotional comfort, but you can also rest assured that such a believer will not enter into eternal life, even if he or she will not go to hell.
We must also mention that those who suffer for the sake of the Lord may be called to end their suffering at a given point in time when that suffering will have fulfilled its purpose; God is not a sadistic promoter of meaningless suffering. We must also understand that even suffering caused by sin in our lives may (and often is) taken away when the spiritual root that led to that sin is removed from our hearts. As we have said before, Jesus' healings were generally preceded by preaching that dealt with spiritual roots of sin and iniquity in people's lives. Once the roots of unrighteousness were dealt with, the Lord would proceed to perform the healing, turning the healing into a physical and prophetic manifestation of a restoration that took place in the spirit realm.
As we place greater importance on the spirit realm and diminish the importance of material and emotional blessings, we must be careful not to go into "spiritual aloofness". The Lord is not calling us all to go live in some deserted island, pray all day, and live "off the land" (however, if God does tell you to do this literally, you must go ahead and do it!) I would dare to say that those who fervently seek God's will are, in a sense, living in a "deserted island" (separated from the world's trends), praying "all day" (in constant communion with God), and living "off the land" (content with what their work provides in the natural, without great material ambitions). However, that spiritual (and sometimes physical) isolation does not prevent those who seek God's kingdom from being connected to the Body of Christ at the spiritual level and from being concerned that God's will and purposes be fulfilled in the lives of others.
We must also consider the fact that those who are spiritual see the spiritual significance of everything that happens, even if it happens in the natural realm. For example, if God gave you the gift to play "soccer" (or "football", as it is called in Europe), and He places you in a powerful European team such as Juventus, Bayern MŁnchen, or Manchester United, you should see each game you play in as a "point of contact", i.e.- as an opportunity to minister God's presence to every person who attends the game or watches it on TV -- and that ministering will take place through your "mere" physical presence in the game. If you play on offense, you should see every goal you score as an opportunity to minister God's presence and give Him glory as the TV camera focuses on you and people subconsciously perceive Jesus' silent but real presence in your life, and you should see the goal scored as the prophetic manifestation of something being broken, of a victory achieved in the spiritual realm that will glorify God on Earth and bless the lives of others. Girgashite believers have a hard time seeing the spiritual value of "little" things that are done in the natural realm, thinking that we all exit the spiritual realm every time we walk out of the church building. We are the temple of God (not the building), and God remains inside of us, no matter where we are or what we are doing, and we have the capability to preach Jesus to others, even without saying a literal word. Those who believe that the only way to preach is by speaking literal words are blatantly admitting that they have placed their faith on what can be seen with the natural mind, and have forgotten that 1,000,000 religious words spoken in the strength of the flesh are no match for 1 word spoken in the Spirit, for our battle is to be fought with the Sword of the Spirit, not the arm of flesh:
"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD" (Jeremiah 17:5)
"Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." (Zechariah 4:6)
As we said at the beginning of this article, Luke 6:38 says that, if we give, God will give us spiritual sons and daughters. What, then, should we give? To answer this, we must read the verses prior to Luke 6:38:
"35But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" (Luke 6:35-37)
When God tells us to love our enemies (v35), He is telling us to see the potential in those whose fleshly earthliness causes them to enter into conflict with us when we are walking in the Spirit:
The word "flesh" in Scripture is generally associated with "earthliness", since the flesh is "dust from the earth" (Genesis 3:19), and earthliness is associated with the Girgashite spirit. God is therefore calling us to love those who are "contrary" to us, who become our enemies because the Spirit of God in us defies their earthliness. When one studies the famous "love chapter" --- 1 Corinthians chapter 13 --- it becomes evident that love implies sacrifice, and sacrifice points to the prophetic ministry, since prophets are designed to give their lives in sacrifice for the sake of God's vision and purposes. As we have shared in previous articles, Girgashites hate prophets, so it is fitting that God calls us to shed our lives prophetically in sacrifice for Girgashites. Even though Girgashites forsake their prophetic calling, we, as believers in the Spirit, must be able to see that calling for them and to shed our blood (spiritually and sometimes literally) so that they may see it as well.
All of the above means that, when God tells us to "love our enemies", He is telling us to behave like prophets towards the Girgashites. Based on Galatians 5:17 quoted above, this will create more and more enmity between us and the Girgashites. Therefore, "loving our enemies" has the paradoxical effect of creating more war and conflict with them. This is why the teachers of the Law (who were all Girgashites) disliked Jesus the prophet the more He spoke (Luke 11:45-52). Instead of promoting peace and reconciliation with the Girgashites, Jesus kept saying things so as to anger them even more. God's love produces war on earth, not peace, at least on the short-term:
"51Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law." (Luke 12:51-53)
[In verse 53, the "father" represents the authority figures who try to uphold time-honored Girgashite traditions, while the "son" represents those who do not have humanly-visible authority who hear God prophetically and reject the time-honored Girgashite structures]
One way to give is by loving our enemies. Another way is by doing good to those who don't do good to us (Luke 6:27, 33, and 35). This means to stay in "goodness" or "righteousness" even when the actions of others against us may try to get us away from that "righteousness". The word translated as "do good" here is the Greek word agathopoieo, which has the connotation of doing "good" in the "moral and just" sense of the word, rather than "good" in the "kind and nice" sense. "Doing good", therefore, may at times imply judging and confronting someone's willful sin; being "nice" in such cases would only help to promote and ferment the unrighteousness that is already being bred inside the other person, and would not constitute "doing good" to them. As we have said many times before, the judging and confrontation that is necessary in such cases can take the form of a "silent indignation" (Acts 17:16), or it can be "loud" and direct (Matthew 3:7). In each case, God will tell us which of the two must be applied.
As we have said before, doing "good" or "righteousness" is most related to the apostolic ministry, since apostles are designed to make judgments, and judgments bring forth righteousness (Isaiah 32:16). As we have also said before, Canaanites hate judgments, and they hate those who judge, meaning that they hate those who manifest a true apostolic anointing. This is why the Lord speaks of doing good to those who "hate you" (Luke 6:27). Even though Canaanites forsake apostolic righteousness and judgments, we, as believers in the Spirit, must be willing to stick to righteousness and judgments long enough so as to have the Canaanites understand that, without judgments, there is no righteousness, and that, without righteousness, there can be no true peace with God.
From the above, we can say that "doing good to those who hate us" (Luke 6:27) means behaving like an apostle towards the Canaanites. Since Canaanites hate apostles because they "judge too much", this implies that doing "good" or "righteousness" will only increase their bitterness and resentment towards us. Therefore, putting into practice God's goodness has the curious effect of increasing the hate. This is why the Pharisees (who had a strong Canaanite streak in them) hated Jesus more and more every time He spoke harsh words of judgment against them. Instead of promoting love and understanding with the Pharisees, Jesus kept saying things so as to anger them even more, to the point that they ended up killing Him. God's goodness produces hate on earth, not love, at least on the short-term.
Combining what we have said above, we can declare that prophetic love produces war while apostolic goodness produces hate. Contrary to what the hippies said in the 1960s, God's methods produce "war and hate" instead of "peace and love"!!! However, it is necessary to go through this short-term "war and hate" in order to achieve true and eternal "peace and love".
Most people prefer not to practice prophetic love and apostolic goodness because of the war and hate they produce. Who wants to be fighting with people all the time? Who wants everyone to hate them? All of us would prefer a world where we are not in conflict with anyone and where everyone loves us. However, the only way to produce God's eternal harvest is by enduring short-term war and hate from Girgashites and Canaanites. If you are willing to endure the war and hate, you will be a giver, and the word "give" in Luke 6:38 will apply to you.
It is worth commenting that "doing good to those who hate us" also implies being fair and equitable with the Canaanites. The fact that they hate us should not be seen as an excuse to judge them unfairly. If we did that, we would be judging based on personal grudges, and we would be behaving just like them. Canaanites resent being judged; they hold emotional grudges against those who judge them, and they are like predators waiting for the first opportunity to "judge back". It's as if they said to themselves,
"This guy thinks he is more righteous than me. Wait until I see him doing something remotely questionable! When I do, I'll get back at him, and show the world that he is not as righteous as he makes himself out to be".
This is exactly what Ham did with his father Noah. When he saw Noah lying naked on the ground, he went and told his brothers, not out of a zeal for righteousness, but to get back at Noah for all the times that Noah had judged him. Canaanites are very vengeful against those who judge them, as can be seen in Genesis 19:4-6. They are like rabid dogs that pounce on the workers of righteousness at the slightest opportunity. A great majority of the time, the Canaanites' resentful haste to judge leads to very harsh and unfair condemnations against people who have done nothing wrong (at least in God's eyes).
When the Lord tells us not to judge (Luke 6:37), we must consider that it does not refer to a ban on the pronouncement of judgments. As we studied in a previous article, such a conclusion would not only contradict other Scriptures, but would also be philosophically self-contradictory; those who condemn the people who judge automatically condemn themselves, since, by condemning those who judge, they are themselves acting as the judges of others. When reading Jesus' words throughout the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), it becomes evident that Jesus often said things in such a way so as to ensure that they would be ludicrous and self-contradictory when interpreted with a literal, Girgashite mind. What, then, was the Lord referring to when He said, "Judge not"? To answer this, we have to go to the book of James:
"11Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?" (James 4:11-12)
Notice that the passage above says that "judging your brother" is equivalent to "judging the law". Why would the condemning of another person imply that I am condemning the Law of God? When applied to the secular legal system, this would seem to imply that a judge condemns the system of laws of his or her country every time he or she condemns a criminal to do jail time!!! That is obviously ludicrous!!! However, if you ponder on what it means to "condemn the law", it becomes evident that the passage above is speaking of those who judge others based on their own set of human laws and paradigms, instead of judging others based on God's laws and principles. When I judge another person based on what I have decided to call "good" and "bad", it's as if I am saying to God, "God, Your system of laws doesn't sound good to me; I don't agree with many of your laws and judgments; therefore, I am rejecting Your laws and making up my own set of laws, and I will tailor those laws to my personal likings and judgment". When I do this, I become the judge and lawgiver, instead of recognizing God as the one and only lawgiver (v12) and allowing God to judge others through me. In the secular legal system, the judge cannot make up his or her own set of laws; he or she must apply the laws decreed by the state that he or she represents. In a similar way, you and I, as spiritual judges, are called to apply all the laws that God has decreed, and we have no right to either discard any law (because we don't like it) or to add any new law (because we feel that God "forgot" to include it).
When man decides to become judge and lawgiver, he always judges based on external appearance:
"But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)
When we judge based on outward appearance (i.e.- what our natural mind can see), we become incapable of perceiving the hidden God-potential in others. When men saw Levi the publican collecting taxes for the occupying Roman empire, they saw a traitor and a greedy lowlife. On the other hand, when Jesus saw Levi, He saw past the sin in Levi's life and discerned a potential apostle, because He judged Levi based on what God said to His ear about Levi, instead of basing His judgment on what His natural understanding could discern:
"27And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. 28And he left all, rose up, and followed him. 29And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 30But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? 31And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:27-32)
[Levi, the tax collector for the Romans, went on to become the apostle Matthew (Matthew 9:9-13), the writer of the Gospel according to Matthew]
Notice that Jesus did not go to Levi, but rather called Levi to go to Him. In other words, Jesus did not adapt Himself to Levi's unrighteousness, but rather called Levi to adapt himself to God's righteousness. When Levi "left all, rose up, and followed Him" (v28), he was recognizing his unrighteousness and submitting himself to God's righteousness. Jesus saw the apostolic potential in Levi that the scribes and Pharisees were unable to see (v30), but He still required that Levi repent before he could be used by God; this is why verse 32 ends by speaking of "repentance".
When Jesus speaks of "forgiving others" at the end of Luke 6:37 (quoted at the top of this section), we must also remember that God's prerequisite for forgiveness is repentance:
"Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him." (Luke 17:3)
[Notice that there is an "if" to forgiveness, at least according to God; according to the pastors who adapt God's laws to their own liking, we must forgive unconditionally regardless of whether or not the other person repents.]
"Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him." (Leviticus 19:17)
[A better translation from the Hebrew text would be "You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your neighbor, and not bear up his sin". In other words, God is saying that, if I don't hate my brother, I must reprove him (spiritually and many times literally); otherwise, I become co-participant of his sin.]
"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother." (Matthew 18:15)
We must not automatically discard others when we see sin in their lives. We must be willing to look past the sin and see the God-potential in them, just as God saw that potential in us when we were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). We must "do good" by sending spiritual judgments that will break through the sin layer in their lives, and, if they sincerely repent, we must be willing to forgive them because, when people sincerely repent, God forgives them, and when God forgives them, we have no right to hold their previous sins against them. As we saw from James 4:11-12, that would make us "lawgivers", and we would be condemning God's spiritual laws, replacing His decrees with our own.
When reading Luke 6:35-37 (quoted above) and the verses that come before, it becomes evident that the giving that the Lord is referring to involves two things:
As we "love our enemies" and "do good" through prophetic sacrifices and spiritual judgments, we become agents of restoration. God will drop people with leprosy (i.e.- sin) into our "bosoms", and, in Him, we will turn their leprosy into righteousness and newness of life, and their sinful flesh shall become as the righteous flesh in us:
"6And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. 7And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh." (Exodus 4:6-7)
We give of ourselves by recognizing the God-potential in others and investing of ourselves so that that potential may be manifested. We invest on Girgashites through prophetic sacrifices, and we invest on Canaanites through apostolic application of God's justice and judgments (not our own). As we seek to invest of ourselves in others, we must be sensitive to the Spirit's voice so that we will not invest on those who have irrevocably forsaken their potential. Giving of ourselves for people like Saul or Esau (1 Samuel 16:1, 1 John 5:14-17, Hebrews 12:16-17) would be a waste of time that is better spent restoring others whose potential is still alive. The commandment to "love our enemies", therefore, refers to enemies whom God (not us) declares as "restorable". The commandment, therefore, serves as a call to look past the other person's enmity in order to determine if there is potential inside of him or her that is worth fighting for.
As we shared in a previous article, giving of ourselves in righteousness is to practice God's mercy. This means that, according to Luke 6:38, God gives spiritual children to those who practice true mercy. In other words, mercy leads to spiritual reproduction.
According to Luke 6:38, there are 4 qualities to the children that will be poured into our bosom:
The quality of "running over" is the last one mentioned because, as you prove yourself to be faithful in applying the prophetic, apostolic, and female-ministry anointings on the children He gives you, He will give you more and more children:
"9And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. 10He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much." (Luke 16:9-10)
Notice how verse 9 above speaks of the use of natural resources to gain friends unto the Lord; notice also how the rewards that the Lord speaks of in verse 9 are eternal, not temporal.
The 4 qualities listed above mean that God will endow you with the 5 ministry anointings so that you may impart those anointings to the children He gives you. Your spiritual children will be "fully-anointed" sons and daughters who will shake the foundations of the Earth. I prefer to yield 5 such sons and daughters unto the Lord than to be given all the cars and houses in the world. When you give, what are you hoping to receive?
"Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table." (Psalm 128:3)
[In Scripture, the "olive" speaks of "anointing"]
As I was finishing this article, I contemplated the title: "Luke 6:38", and the Lord said to me, "Isaiah 63:8". When I looked it up, this is what I found:
"7I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. 8For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour." (Isaiah 63:7-8)
[The word "lovingkindness" in verse 7 was translated from the Hebrew word checed, which literally means "mercy", and therefore refers to the mercy that Jesus speaks of in Luke 6:36. The "bestowing" that verse 7 speaks of refers to the spiritual children that God bestows on us and the anointings He endows us with in order to bless those children. The "children" that verse 8 speaks of are the children that will be poured into our bosom, and the fact that they "will not lie" means that they will be children begotten in truth and righteousness, not illegitimate children begotten through soul-oriented promises of temporary blessings and Hivite comfort.]