Thursday, July 23, 2009

Here Comes the Judge (with audio)


…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).

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

1 comment:

Even So... said...

This is taken from a previous post from 3-20-07, but now includes the audio, which has additional material in it...we will be doing this with many of our older posts, so that they can have the audio attached to them...hope these are edifying and enjoyable for you...God bless...

...and don't be afraid to leave a comment if you haven't listened to the audio...the posts can stand on their own, too...