Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Here Comes the Judge

…you have no excuse… For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself…
(Romans 2:1 – ESV)

Paul is not telling people that they are not supposed to judge actions and behavior. He is not saying that we should all just “go with the flow” and let everything and anything go. He is talking about hypocrisy. He is saying that one cannot escape judgment by judging others, by appealing to how much worse their behavior is to your own. Such judgment leads one away from the necessary self-examination and repentance for one’s own sin, and leads to your own inevitable judgment (Hebrews 9:27). He is not condemning judging others, or using discernment, but judging others without first judging yourself.

The most quoted verse or passages from the Bible today do not come from Psalm 23 or even John 3:16, but Matthew 7:1 (NIV), “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”. This is why context is so important because you could just take this part of our verse from Romans 2, “anyone who judges”, marry it with Matthew 7:1, “judge not”, and come out with some liberal doctrine just like we see today. The cry of the unrepentant is “who are you to say”, but this is what the authority of the Word of God answers when we use it properly (Titus 1:9-11).

Paul speaks of discerning, or judging those who are following Christ in truth and says to follow them (Philippians 3:17). He speaks of putting away some and staying away from others (Romans 16:17-19 / 1 Timothy 6:5 / 2 Timothy 3:5 / Titus 3:8-11). We are supposed to judge (1 Corinthians 11:31 / 1 Peter 4:17 / John 7:24 / Matthew 16,18), we are supposed to discern (Philippians 1:9), but we are supposed to look at ourselves first (1 Corinthians 11:31), looking at discipline as a means of restoration not condemnation (Galatians 6:1).

We are to judge, and we are to realize that we have given ourselves to the Savior instead of giving ourselves over to sin: the good works that follow do not save us but they are a sign that we are saved; they are not the root but the fruit of our relationship with God (1 Corinthians 6:8-11). We may still commit acts of unrighteousness, but our lives are not characterized by an unbroken pattern of unrighteousness. Believers get convicted and then they commit themselves to change. We know we are bad to the bone, and that we need a Savior, it is those who think they are righteous and do not need a Savior and those who judge based on their own worth rather than Christ’s worth who will be in trouble. Jesus takes you as you are, but He doesn’t leave you there.

Think of the situation regarding the Corinthian church, which had a man that had slept with his father’s wife. He had continued in this sin defiantly, and the church thought it no big deal, but Paul instructed them to put him out of the fellowship (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

Church discipline is a forgotten practice today. However, we must not be ignorant of Satan’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11). In our desire to do things rightly, we must be careful not to let the pendulum swing too far, from overly casual to overly critical. Paul had put the Corinthian church to the test, and they applied the punishment. Now, apparently the man repented, and Paul told them to comfort him in reconciliation and restoration (2 Corinthians 2:5-10).

It boils down to whether someone has a repentant attitude or not. We cannot judge a person’s soul, but we can keep them from peddling rotten fruit in our assemblies (Matthew 7:15-20).


Sista Cala said...

Isn't it a shame that folks pull scriptures out of context for their own selfish purposes?

I take delight is giving them the rest of the story when they attempt to justify themselves w/a piece of scripture.

donsands said...

"We know we are bad to the bone, and that we need a Savior"

That's a nice quote I may steal!

Nice teaching. Very solid.

I once told someone Russia can not be trusted, (and this was back in the 1980's). You know what he said? " You shall not judge!"

Even So... said...

When I see or hear a person who does not profess to believe or someone who is obviously backslidden try and use the Bible to back up their point against you, I say this...

Regarding the Bible, you can only exercise authority to the extent that you are under authority

I am sick of new agers and agnostics trying to use the Bible as a weapon against Christians...they don't have a clue what they are talking about most of the time...

jazzycat said...

Good discernment as always.

Kim said...

It boils down to whether someone has a repentant attitude or not.

This is one of the most important things that parents have to look for when they observe their children. The attitude may be subtle, and it may come from a quiet individual, but it screams very loudly.

If our kids are not demonstrating repentance when they mess up, then they are on a slippery slope. And it has to be more than just sorrow for being "caught." There has to be an accompanying change of behaviour and attitude.

This really got me thinking today, Even So. Thanks.

Even So... said...

Glad it did, Kim...blessings to you, sister...

Nettie said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome!
Thanks for this, it really was a blessing:)

Craver Vii said...

Don't you wish that the most quoted verse from the Bible had something to do with salvation, or God's magnificence or Jesus' resurrection? It would be more God-honoring if the most quoted verse was at least used correctly.

"Regarding the Bible, you can only exercise authority to the extent that you are under authority." JD, you are rich with wisdom, and we are rich to hear you share these thoughts. It reminds me of the speech made by the queen of Sheba when she remarked how blessed Solomon's servants were, that they should be exposed to such wisdom.