Judge Righteous Judgment?
By: Steve Shirley
The title of this lesson is "judge righteous judgment." This is a quote from a person in the Bible, do you know who said it? I am guessing many of you would be shocked to hear it was.... JESUS! The whole verse appears in (Jn 7:24) Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment. If you asked people today, "What verse is the most quoted in the Bible?" I suspect most would answer (John 3:16). I disagree. I believe the most often quoted verse is found in (Matt 7:1) Judge not, that ye be not judged. I cannot count the number of times I have heard this verse quoted... It has become the favorite verse of what is quickly becoming a society that practices what we call postmodernism. Postmodernism basically states that there is no absolute truth. We cannot know anything for certain. Truth is relative. What might be true for you, might not be true for me. What might be true for one situation, might not be true for another. Whatever I see as truth, is truth. In other words, there is no absolute, independent standard of right or wrong. This belief system, which has become pervasive in our society, has moved us in a direction that is becoming more and more tolerant of filth, gross immorality, sexual perversion, divorce, abortion, and a whole host of other sins. Why is this happening? Quite simply because we have gotten away from God's Biblical principles to judge wrong behavior for the sake of "tolerance." By denying the absolute truth of God's word, we are giving into the postmodern mantras of "live and let live," "you have no right to judge my behavior," "if it feels right to me, it IS right."
One of the results of this new way of thinking in much of society is the belief that "all roads lead to Heaven." Jesus certainly didn't teach this. He plainly said in (Jn 14:6) I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me. (Also see: Mt 11:27, Lk 10:22) How intolerant is that? This is one of the main reasons the "world" hates Jesus words in the Bible and the Christians that teach them. By Jesus stating He was the ONLY way, He excluded every other path to eternal life with God that other faith's teach.
Jesus also showed intolerance in a number of other areas. One of the main things Jesus spoke out against was hypocrisy (Mt 23:1-36)(Mt 15:1-5)(Lk 11:37-54)(Lk 13:10-17)(Lk 12:1). Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you aren't. A hypocrite is often trying to make themselves look better than what they are. They seek to gain praise, admiration, favor, and approval from others more than they are seeking to please God. This outward self-righteousness is often at the expense of others. A hypocrite will extol his own virtues, while calling into question the character of another person. Many times he is guilty of the same sin of which he accuses another. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees a number of times for being hypocrites. They were self-righteous, doing such things as:
Putting extra wide phylacteries (prayer boxes) on and wearing longer than needed tassels on their garments (Mt 23:6)
Seeking to sit at places of honor at banquets (Mt 23:7)
Wanting to be called by the title "Rabbi" (Mt 23:7)
Praying long prayers for appearances sake (Mt 23:14)
Loved the most important seats in the synagogues and attention in the marketplaces (Lk 11:43)
Jesus told them that even though they looked "righteous" on the outside, inside they were full of greed and corruption (Mt 23:28). They thought that they were beyond being judged. Their motives for judging others behavior was to make themselves look better. In addition, Jesus said they were hypocrites because they:
Broke the commandments of God for tradition, judging people by the letter of the law, and not by the spirit in which it was intended (Mt 15:1-9)(Mk 7:8-13)
Loaded down people with religious demands and did nothing to help them (Lk 11:46)
Did the same things they were accusing Jesus of doing (Lk 13:10-17)
Jesus said in (Mt 23:2-3) that they were indeed teaching the law and it should be obeyed, but their example should not be followed because they were not practicing what they were preaching. In other words, Jesus did not speak against using God's word to reprove and correct, but rather that we should not judge others hypocritically or self-righteously.
Let's look at 3 other examples of hypocrisy in the Bible. David gives us the first example in (2 Sam 12:1-15). For the sake of time, I am not going to write out the whole passage, but suggest you take time to read it. In short, David had coveted another man's wife, committed adultery with her, had her husband killed, then married her. When Nathan the prophet confronted David with a parable about what he had done, David burned with anger about a man who would do such a thing, saying he should make restitution and deserved to die. He failed to see that he was the man in the parable who was guilty. When Nathan revealed to David he was the one who had done it, David recognized his guilt and hypocrisy and repented saying, "I have sinned against the Lord."
The second example is found in (Gal 2:11-21). In these verses, Paul confronted Peter about his hypocritical actions. What Peter did was, in essence, racism. Peter was a Jew, who upon his arrival in Antioch, was eating with Gentiles. However, when some fellow Jewish friends of James came along, he withdrew from the Gentiles because he was afraid of what his friends would say. Peter had been preaching that Christ alone was sufficient for salvation and had even been shown in a vision from God to call no man common or unclean (Acts 10)(Acts 11:1-18). However, by withdrawing from the Gentiles, he was hypocritically making a statement with his actions that he still put importance on being made right with God by keeping Jewish laws and customs. In other words, he was making a distinction between the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers, placing the Jewish believers above the Gentiles. He was also not practicing with his actions what he was preaching. For this, Paul rebuked Peter for hypocrisy.
The third example is found in (Jn 8:1-11). This is another example of the hypocritical attitude of the scribes and Pharisees. A woman was brought before Jesus who had been caught in the act of adultery. They were asking Jesus what should be done with her. What they hoped to do was trap Jesus so that they would be able to accuse Him. According to Mosaic law, a woman caught in adultery was to be stoned to death. However, if Jesus told them to stone her, then He might be trying to usurp the authority of the Roman government. It appeared that He was in a "no-win" situation. Our Lord gave a wonderful reply however, saying, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." At this, one by one they went away. What made the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites in these verses? First, they did not bring the woman caught in adultery before Jesus to do what was right in God's eyes. They simply used her as a means to try and trap Jesus. Secondly, where was the man who was a partner in the adultery? Under Mosaic law, both the man AND the woman were to be stoned to death (Lev 20:10)(Deut 22:22). Jesus was quite aware of both of these things when He gave His reply to them. I think we can be fairly certain the "teachers of the law" were aware of this as well. At Jesus' words, they were, "convicted by their own conscience."
I want to quickly address another issue with these verses. Many people use these verses to say that we are all sinners, so we should not "cast stones" at someone else who sins. This is just an improper view of these verses. First, we need to understand that the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus. He gave the only reply that could be given to satisfy both the Mosaic law and not usurp the authority that the Roman government had been given. Secondly, we need to understand that Jesus did not "pardon" her sin. He told the adulteress, "go and sin no more." Jesus did not condemn her for her sin. To condemn her was for the Roman government, to reprove her, saying "go and sin no more" was His warning.
*** Note: Let me add here, while on the subject of governmental authority, that we are told in the Bible that no one is in power that God has not placed there (Rom 13:1-2)(Jn 19:11)(Dan 2:21). While God may not always agree with the way a leader or government rules, He allows them to be there and has given them authority. We are told to respect and submit to this authority and those who enforce it, even if we don't agree with it. God also has given government the right to execute justice and determine punishment (Rom 13:4)(1 Pet 2:13-14). Jesus, Paul, David, and many others recognized the government had this authority and submitted to it, and we should as well.
Jesus was also intolerant of a number of other things. He rebuked such things as:
Selfishness (Mt 19:16-26)
Desecration of His Father's house (Mk 11:15-18)(Mt 21:12-13)(Lk 19:45-46)(Jn 2:15-16)
One who caused another to sin (Mt 18:7)(Lk 17:1)
One who misleads a little one (Mt 18:6)(Mk 9:42)(Lk 17:1-2)
Failure to welcome God's messengers (Lk 10:10-12)(Mt 10:14-15)
Seeking signs He was the Messiah (Mt 16:1-4)
Trying to trap Him in what He said (Mt 22:15-22)
Saying it was wrong to heal on the Sabbath (Mk 3:1-6)
In rebuking these people, He often used harsh words. He called people:
Evil (Mt 7:11)(Lk 11:13)(Mt 12:34)(Lk 11:29)(Jn 7:7)
Fools (Mt 23:17)(Mt 23:19)(Lk 11:40)(Lk 24:25)
Snakes (Mt 12:34)(Mt 23:23)
Hypocrites as mentioned above.
If you were called one of these names, how would you react? I suspect it would offend you. I suspect it would make you feel as if someone had made a judgment on you. That is exactly what Jesus was doing... So many people see Jesus ministry on Earth as simply one of love and acceptance of everyone and everything. He certainly did love everyone, and He loved sinners, but He never accepted their sin.
As Christians, we need to be the same way today. We must NEVER accept sin, but we must LOVE the sinner. We judge because we love the person and we care about what their sin will cost them. In the least it will separate them from fellowship with God (Isa 59:2)(Jn 9:31)(Mic 3:4)(Ps 66:18)(Jer 5:25)(1 Pet 3:12) and at the most it will cause them eternal separation from God (in Hell) forever.
This is exactly whey Jesus came to Earth. God is intolerant of sin. God and sin cannot exist together. The world today sees God as a God of love, and He certainly is that. However, they fail to see that God is equally a God of justice and holiness. The Old Testament was filled with laws that God gave us to keep, and if we could keep them all, we would be perfect in His eyes and be allowed into His presence. The Old Testament also shows us that man failed miserably... The only man in history who kept the law perfectly, and lived without sin was Jesus. This is why we must come through Jesus to get to the Father and Heaven. Jesus lived the perfect life we could never live, and we are forgiven for our sin through His shed blood (Col 1:9)(Eph 1:7)(Mt 26:28)(1 Jn 1:7). His blood covers our sin and makes us perfect before the Father, who is intolerant of sin, and said there would be no sin in Heaven (Rev 22:3,15). This is why as Christians we must teach the Biblical truths that Jesus IS the ONLY way. Jesus told us we would be persecuted as He was for this (Jn 15:18-20)(Jn 16:33), but we are told to rejoice in persecution and tribulation (Mt 5:10-12)(Jas 1:2-4)(1 Pet 1:6-7).
When I first began my walk with the Lord, I found two places in the book of Ezekiel that really hit me hard and I have never forgotten them. People may debate whether they apply to us today or not, but I believe they do, and I remember them often.
(Ezek 33:8-9) When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at thy hand. (9) Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
(Ezek 3:18-21) When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. (19) Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. (20) Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. (21) Nevertheless, if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
I also ask you to consider Paul's words in (Acts 20:26-27) if you believe these words are not for us today.
(Acts 20:26-27) Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. (27) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
We have already mentioned a number of things Jesus judged. Lets take a look at a list of other things the Bible has to say about judging.
We are to judge:
False teachers: (Rev 2:2)(Rom 16:17)(Gal 1:6-9)(1 Tim 1:3)(2 Jn 1:10-11)(Titus 1:3)(1 Tim 6:3-5)
False prophets: (Mt 7:15)(1 Jn 4:1) Evil people: (3 Jn 1:9-10)(Phil 3:2)
Paul judged Peter (Gal 2:11-14)
Paul judged Demas saying he loved the world (2 Tim 4:10)
Paul judged Hymeneus and Philetus saying they had erred from the truth and destroyed some people's faith (2 Tim 2:17-18)
Paul judged the Galatians calling them foolish (Gal 3:1)
John the Baptist judged Herod (Mt 14:4)(Lk 3:19-20)
John the Baptist judged the Saducees and Pharisees (Mt 3:7-10)(Lk 3:7-9)
Peter judged Ananias and Sapphira as liars (Acts 5:1-11)
Stephen judged the Jewish council (Acts 7:51-53)
The Bible also tells us such things as:
Do not associate with a brother who is a fornicator, covetous, extortioner, or idolater, slanderer, or a drunkard (1 Cor 5:11) or one that walketh disorderly (2 Th 3:6), and we are to remove that wicked person from among us (1 Cor 5:2,13)
We are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them (Eph 5:11)
We are not to be unequally yoked with a non-believer (2 Cor 6:14-18)(Eph 5:6-8,11)(Deut 7:2-4)
God has given a gift of discernment that is to be used to distinguish between: true and false spirits (1 Cor 12:10), good and evil (1 Kin 3:9)(Heb 5:14)(2 Sam 14:17), clean and unclean (Ezek 44:22)
We are to admonish: (Rom 15:14)(1 Th 5:12)(2 Th 3:15)(Titus 3:10)
We are to rebuke: (Titus 2:15)(Titus 1:13)(Lev 19:17)(Prov 28:23)(Prov 24:25)
(Prov 27:5)(Prov 9:8)(Eccl 7:5)(1 Tim 5:20)
(Other verses saying we are to rebuke used elsewhere in this lesson)
All of these examples above REQUIRE that we make a judgment of a person's words, actions, and lifestyles.
The question we now need to address is, how are we to judge?
First, we need to use God's word as our standard for judging the wrong behavior. The best reply we can give to those who say, "Who are you to judge me?" is, "I am not judging you, God's word in the Bible says what you are doing is wrong." It should not be our "opinion," but rather, we should be able to clearly show in the Bible where it is wrong. Paul tells us to use God's word for this in three places.
(2 Tim 3:16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
(2 Tim 4:2) preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
(Heb 4:12) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Secondly, as we already covered in depth above, we need to make sure that we don't judge hypocritically. Let's look at one more example Jesus used to speak against hypocritical judging.
(Mt 7:3-5)(NASB) Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (4) Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? (5) You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
Much like what was said earlier about "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her, "being taken improperly to mean we are not to "cast stones" because we are sinners too, these verses are also misused and misunderstood to mean we can't judge sin. Jesus is telling us here, again, to not judge hypocritically, however, He is clearly NOT telling us to avoid judgment completely. His next words in (Mt 7:6) should clearly dispel any idea that He is saying don't judge at all.
(Mt 7:6) Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rent you.
We certainly can't heed Jesus' words in this verse unless we judge who the "dogs and swine" are.
We have examples of people judging hypocritically everywhere today. Many of the people who are judging others for sins are equally guilty of the same sins of which they accuse others. We have people condemning sexual immorality while living unmarried with another person. We see people condemning capitol punishment while condoning abortion. We see people more concerned about saving the life of a plant or animal than a human being. We have people lamenting the increased number of problem children in our society while breaking up families by divorce in record numbers. The list can go on and on... We are told by Paul in (1 Cor 11:31) "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." We need to deal with our own sin, and repent, before we can help others deal with theirs.
Also, keep in mind, as we said in our opening verse, that we are not to judge anyone by their appearance (Jn 7:24)(1 Sam 16:7). The Bible says God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34)(Gal 3:28)(Rom 10:12)(Col 3:11)(Eph 6:9), and neither should we.
Thirdly, we need to judge for the right reasons. Let's look at two verses to always keep in mind.
(Jas 5:19-20) Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; (20) let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
(Gal 6:1-2) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (2) Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
As stated earlier, our main reason for judging another should be out of love and concern for the person. We do not want the sin, nor the consequences of sin, to separate them from God, possibly for eternity. While we CAN judge actions, words, and lifestyles, we should NOT judge motives or intentions. We cannot truly know another person's heart, only God can know that for sure (1 Kin 8:39)(1 Sam 16:7). While I personally do believe we can tell to some degree what is in a person's heart by the words they speak (Mt 15:18)(Mt 12:34)(Lk 6:45), we need to be very careful about judging things only God can know for certain. Many false teachers are out there today teaching things in God's name or saying God told them this or that, who I believe truly love the Lord in their heart, but just do not understand what the Bible is saying on certain subjects. Many times they are saying what they "feel" God revealed to them or are talking about some experience they "had with God" that is in direct confrontation with the revelation God has already given us in His word. We need to always test every "experience" or thing that we "feel" God has shown us, with the Bible. We also need to rebuke and correct these false teachings, not only for the sake of the person saying them, but also for the protection of the people they are teaching these things to. I must add here, however, that while you may show a person individually that some revelation or encounter with God does not line up with scripture, I have found that a person who has had such an experience VERY rarely decides it wasn't God. Your job is simply to rebuke the individual by using scripture, and then pray for them. It is counterproductive to continue to reprove a person over and over, and it really goes nowhere. However, I do believe that we need to take a much stronger stand when these false teachings are being taught to others. It is heartbreaking to see SO many people being lead astray. We need to stand up for these people and protect them, but again, we should not judge the heart of those who are teaching these things.
*** Note: Keep this thought in mind when you are telling others God told you something. How do you like it when someone you know tells another person, "He said this..." when you really didn't say that at all? If you don't like it, how do you think God likes it when you tell another person, "God told me this..." when He didn't? One of the meanings of blasphemy is to claim God did something He didn't do or claim He didn't do something that He did do. In other words, to claim God said something He didn't say... Don't put words in God's mouth.
We also need to take some time here to look at what are the essential doctrines of Christianity. If people are teaching contrary to these doctrines, they need to be soundly rebuked.
The Bible is the infallible, inerrant word of God.
There is one God manifest in 3 eternal, distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ is God and Savior, who became man and came to the Earth, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life and paid a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins through His shed blood on the cross. On the 3rd day, Jesus arose from the dead, spent 40 days on the Earth, and then ascended into Heaven, where He is now seated at the right hand of the Father as our High Priest and advocate.
All men are lost and face judgment. Only by the grace of God alone, being born to a new life through Jesus Christ, can anyone be justified before God, become a child of God, and see the Kingdom of Heaven.
Agreement on these issues is central to the Christian faith. As Christians, we must stand firm on these doctrines. There is a great push on today for there to be unity among different faiths, however, there should be NO unity with those who teach contrary to these things.
We also need to make sure we correct in an attitude of humility and not superiority. It is very easy to fall into a trap of pride. We can begin to look down on others and think of ourselves as somehow better. Let me tell you one of the most dangerous statements a person can make: "I would NEVER do that" (see what Jesus has to say about this in Mt 23:30-32) Such a statement is an open door to Satan. One of the seven things God hates most is pride (Prov 6:16-17). Putting oneself above another is simply pride. Be assured friend, that if you fall into the sin of thinking you are better than someone else, God is going to knock you down eventually. We need to remember Paul's words in (1 Cor 15:10) "But by the grace of God I am what I am..." In other words, if not for God's grace, we could commit ANY sin, or fall into ANY type of lifestyle. Jesus gave us an example of the sin of putting oneself above another in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in (Lk 18:9-14). The Pharisee thanked God that he wasn't as evil as other men and went on to extol his virtues, while the tax collector humbly asked for God's mercy because he was a sinner. Jesus then said that the humble man, not the self- righteous man "went to his house justified."
Fourthly, when someone has sinned against us personally, there are steps we need to take to rebuke and correct the behavior. Jesus lays out the proper order in (Mt 18:15-17).
First: (Mt 18:15) 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 a brother.
Second: (Mt 18:16) But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Third: And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.
Jesus also has this to say in (Lk 17:3-4):
(Lk 17:3-4) Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. (4) And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Our goal in rebuking the brother who has sinned against us should be restoration of both the relationship between you and the brother, and the brother's relationship with the Lord. First, go and confront the person who has sinned against you face to face. If he confesses and repents, forgive him. However, if he refuses to acknowledge his sin, then one or two more witnesses should go with you to confront him. This is a step that is often neglected today. When two parties are involved in a dispute, there are always two sides to it. We must hear both sides, and not just base our judgment on a one-sided point of view. There are so many people that make this mistake of condemning a person, or believing evil about them, based only on one person's account. The Bible has given safeguards against a person being wrongly condemned by only one person by saying that there should be several witnesses testifying against the one at fault (Heb 10:28)(Deut 17:6)(1 Tim 5:19)(2 Cor 13:1). If the brother is confronted by these witnesses and still refuses to accept fault, it is to be brought before the church. At this time, if he does not repent, he is to be considered as a "heathen and publican." What this simply means is that he is living as an unrepentant sinner and should be treated as such. He should lose the privileges of fellowship that the church affords and should not have them restored until he repents. Paul said in (1 Cor 5:5) "to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." We do this out of love and concern for both the brother, and for the health of the church. Jesus said in (Mt 12:25) "... Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided itself shall not stand." We cannot stand as a body if unrepentant sin is left unjudged in our midst.
Finally, we need to make sure that we are not judging people on matters of liberty or conscience. What this simply means is that we should not judge people on things the Bible is not clearly stating as wrong. The Bible addresses the issue of Christian liberty in three places: (Rom 14)(1 Cor 8:1-13)(1 Cor 10:23-33). I am not going to go into great detail on this topic in this lesson. If you wish to read more on this, please see my study "Are You A Stumbling Block?" Paul tells us in (Rom 14:1)(NASB) "Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions." There are a HUGE number of issues that can fall into this category of "opinions" of what is right and wrong. Many times we can even justify our "opinion" with scripture. Personally, I hold some strong "opinions" myself on some of these fringe matters. I believe we can certainly share these things with others for them to consider, but we should not make them a strong point of contention, or an issue to divide on.
Paul uses an example of people who eat anything versus those who are vegetarians (Rom 14:2-3) saying, "For one believeth he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs (vegetables), (3) Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth." These verses can apply to any number of issues today:
Is it ok to watch t.v. or not?
Is it ok to drink alcohol or not?
Should we worship on Saturday or Sunday?
Should we avoid the internet or can it be used for good?
Should churches play contemporary music or only traditional?
Is it evil to play card games or not?
Should we dress up for church or is it ok to dress in casual clothes?
Should we be allowed to dance or not?
Should we read only the KJV Bible or can we read other translations?
This list could probably go on for several pages... I am quite sure you can think of plenty of other divisive issues as well in areas the Bible is not clear on. Paul tells us in (Titus 3:9-11) to avoid foolish quarrels and arguments about trivial matters because they are unprofitable and useless. He then goes on to say if one does that, give him a first and second warning, and then reject him. We are to judge such a person who argues trivial matters.
OK... I know there are a number of you out there who are saying, "What about verses in the Bible that say we are not to judge?" Let's take some time to address a few of those here.
(Mt 7:1-2) Judge not, that ye be not judged. (2) For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Also see Lk 6:37)
We have already addressed this verse earlier. If we look further in the passages, we will see in verse 5 that Jesus is addressing the issue of hypocritical judging. It is clear Jesus is not saying to avoid judging at all, because in verse 6 He says not to give what is holy to dogs and not to cast your pearls before swine. To avoid doing this, we are required to judge who the dogs and swine are. In other translations, it says in verse 2 that the standard you use to measure others is the standard that will be used to measure you. As we said earlier, the standard we should be using is God's word in the Bible. We cannot go wrong if we use God's word. However, realize that it is also used to judge YOU. This is why we need to judge ourselves. Another possible way to look at this could be that if we judge others, we are judged more harshly by them. When you are judging others lives, they are looking more closely at your life to find fault with yours. Your life will be more closely scrutinized than those who are not rebuking or correcting.
(Rom 2:1-3) Therefore thou are inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. (2) But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. (3) And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
I believe the key to understanding these verse is to read (Rom 1:18-32). In them, Paul is giving a vivid description of God's anger at sin, the evil of mankind, and the consequences of sin. We need to understand that the Bible was not originally divided into chapters, but done later. If we allow chapter 1 to flow into chapter 2, it seems clear again the Bible is referring to hypocritical and self-righteous judging. Several of the paraphrase Bibles, such as the NLT and the Message, make this point a bit clearer. These people in Romans 1 sound like terrible people, but are we any better than them? NO! We are just as evil as they are. When we judge others thinking we are somehow better, we condemn ourselves because we aren't. We can see again though that this is hypocrisy because (Rom 2:3) says when you are judging others and doing the same, do you expect to escape judgment? We cannot judge others when we are guilty of the same offenses. In other words, we are all sinners, we are all evil, and we should never place ourselves above another. We also should not be pointing out another's sins when we are guilty of the same sins. Do not think God won't judge you, for He will judge us all. The standard that you use to judge others will be used to judge you. That standard should be God's word.
(Rom 14:4) Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Reading the passages around this verse clears this up quickly. This is addressing the issue of Christian liberty. We discussed this earlier. We are not to judge others on things the Bible is not clearly stating as wrong. When we cannot use God's word to clearly show something is wrong, then it is not our place to judge, but the master himself (God) will take care of this servant.
(Rom 14:13) Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
This is still dealing with the issue of Christian liberty. We should not be judging on things that are not clearly stated as wrong in the Bible, but instead, we should resolve not to do something that will cause a brother to stumble in his walk.
(James 4:11-12) Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of 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. (12) There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
The word to best describe what these verses are condemning is slander. The NIV Bible uses the word slander in place of "speak not evil" in the first sentence. When we slander a brother, we are breaking God's law. To slander, means to FALSELY charge or misrepresent someone in a way that defames their character. When we do this, we are breaking God's law to love our brother. It is also breaking the 9th commandment to not bear false witness against your neighbor. The Bible says God hates a lying tongue and a false witness (Prov 6:16-17,19), and a false witness will be punished (Prov 19:5). Our goal in judging should ALWAYS be towards restoration, and not defamation.
(1 Cor 5:12-13)(NASB) For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? (13) But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.
I would like to spend some time discussing this. We have made a case to this point that we are to judge others words, actions, and lifestyles. It is quite obvious from these verses above, and others (in particular 1 Cor 6:1-4) that we are to judge within the church (believers), but what about those outside of the church (unbelievers)? Does this mean that we are not supposed to speak out against sins that an unbelieving world is propagating such as abortion, gay marriage, taking God out of schools, filth on t.v. and in the movies, etc...? I do not believe so.
God has called us in the Bible to protect the weak and helpless (Prov 6:16-17)(Prov 31:8-9)(Ps 82:2-4)(Rom 15:1)(1 Th 5:14). Obviously, the weak and helpless can be a number of people, but clearly there is nothing more innocent, weak, and helpless than an unborn infant. This is why we need to stand against abortion. In (Ex 21:22-24), the penalty for taking an unborn child's life was death for the person who killed it. God certainly doesn't take abortion lightly.
Children of all ages also need to be protected and defended. We are responsible for the next generation on this planet. As Christians, we are to teach our children about God and His laws and commandments (Joel 1:3)(Deut 6:7)(Deut 31:12-13)(Ps 78:5-6). As this country moves farther and farther away from these Biblical principles, we need to make a stand to keep God in first place. There is a reason why this country has prospered; it has been a nation that has honored God. As we move farther away from God, His blessings will also be removed. What will we leave behind for the next generation? Jesus said in (Mt 19:14) to let the little children come to Him, and in (Mt 18:6) "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the sea." God will certainly punish those who would harm His "little ones," but we must not allow the world to keep them from coming to Him. We must not allow God to be taken out of schools. We must not allow His 10 commandments to be removed from public display. We do this in obedience to the first commandment to "have no other gods before me." As we showed earlier, Jesus had a righteous anger and intolerance over a number of injustices. We should as well, for the protection of those who can't protect themselves, and for the sake of keeping God first, so that our children and our nation will be blessed.
So... why does the Bible say not to judge outsiders? I believe the reason is simply because we are to judge people's words, actions, and lifestyles, in the hope and prayer that it will bring them to repentance, and restore them to a right relationship with God. A person can't come to repentance unless they are convicted of sin, and one cannot be convicted of sin unless the Holy Spirit convicts them. Unbelievers do not have the Holy Spirit in them, so they don't care about doing what is right in God's eyes. (Rom 8:8-9) says, "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." We are controlled by the Spirit, unbelievers and not. Those in the flesh cannot please God. We are told to witness to these unbelievers, but judging their sins using God's word will not change them, only Jesus can change them. God has appointed a time when He will judge the sin of unbelievers. Our job is to pray for these unbelievers, and ask God to use us to witness to them, so that they do not face eternal separation from God in Hell for not surrendering to Jesus, and having His blood cover their sins.
Friends, judging and forms of judging are said to appear over 750 times in the Bible. To date, this has been by far the longest study I have ever done. The reason why is because this subject is a crucial one, especially in today's world. We are God's representatives on this planet, and His word is our guide. We must rightly use it to first keep OUR lives in order, then we must use it to help others who may be straying from the path. I think that if we examine our lives, we will frankly find that we "judge" dozens of times each week. For instance, what if we would see someone beating a child or trying to abduct a child, what would we do? Do we tell them, "Oh, go ahead, who am I to judge if what you are doing is wrong?" NO! We would do everything we could to stop them! We rightly judge that the behavior is wrong. When a person is hurting another, it is our duty to protect those being harmed. Our court system, and jurors judge people's actions all over this country daily. Parents judge the actions of their children as wrong when they punish them. People judge between candidates, and their lives and policies when they vote. Our schools judge students giving them good or bad grades for performance. There cannot even be forgiveness unless it is judged that a wrong was done and forgiveness needs to be sought.
As Christians, as we mentioned earlier, we are to judge the things people teach us. Paul commended the Bereans for testing his words against the Bible (Acts 17:11) (Also see: 1 Cor 10:15). (1 Th 5:21) tells us to test all things, and hold on to that which is good. Not testing what others teach is grounds for BIG trouble. Cults are formed by placing a person's words as equal to or superior to God's words. False teachers teach things that don't line up with the word, and we are to rightly judge those teachings as false. Instead, many Christians today will say, "The Bible says don't touch God's anointed," therefore, they are unwilling to say anything against them. How sad... Who ARE God's anointed? Are you? Am I? YES, we certainly are! ALL of God's children are anointed. But, when one who is anointed is out of line with God's word, he needs to be rebuked.
Jesus says in (Mt 7:21-23) that one day people will say to Him that they prophesied, cast out demons, and did miracles in His name, and Jesus will say to them, I never knew you, depart from me." In other words, just because people can do amazing things, it does not mean they are of God. In (Ex 7:19-22) and (Ex 8:5-7) the Egyptian magicians were able to duplicate the first two plagues that God poured out on the Egyptians. God says something in (Deut 13:1-3) that should be a clear warning to us all:
(Deut 13:1-3) If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or wonder, (2) and the sign or wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; (3) thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul.
In other words, people can do miracles and prophesy correctly, but still be false prophets. So... how do we know they are? Quite simply because what they say will not line up with the word of God. In this instance, they said, "Let us go after other gods," clearly in conflict with the first commandment. Today, it sometimes is not as obvious that people are not teaching in line with the word of God. This is why it is crucial that we test ALL things in light of scripture, to judge if people are from God or not. And, what does God say in (Deut 13:3) if someone teaches contrary to His word? We are not hearken unto those words because God is TESTING US!
We are living in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to God's word. It is becoming a world where sin is not being judged, but instead, those who reprove and rebuke sin are being judged. If a doctor has a friend who is sick, and the doctor has the cure for the sickness, but doesn't tell him what it is, but instead just tells him to go on his way and everything will be fine, is that love? Love is to share the cure. We have the cure for sickness of sin. That cure is Jesus Christ and the word of God. In love, let us all "judge righteous judgment."
(Lk 12:57) Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
(1 Cor 2:15) But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
(Lev 19:15) Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
(Prov 21:3) To do justice and judgment Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
(1 Kin 3:9-10) Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? (10) And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
(Lk 7:43) Simon answered and said, I suppose the he, to whom he forgave the most. And he (Jesus) said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.