A Declaration To The Spiritual Soldier

A Spiritual Fitness Ministry

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

You're A Christian, Are You Suppose To Judge? By Minster Speed

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begins with us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17

Have you ever sought to confront wrong-doing, or reprove someone, only to be met with, "You can't judge me!" or "Christians aren't supposed to judge!" What does God's Word say about judging?

For as Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).  Here Jesus commanded men to judge rightly and He told them in Matthew :1-2 to “judge not.” Did the Lord contradict Himself? Or does the Bible say more about judging than Christians are generally taught?

Where did we get the notion that men should never judge? Should child-molesters escape condemnation? Should rapists be free from criticism? Should society refrain from judging those arrested for murder? Why would anyone judge others for judging?  And if a pastor teaches "don't judge" regarding abortion and homosexuality, what would he say about a parishioner who doesn't donate but rather takes money out of the collection plate? 

A lie has partially paralyzed the church.

God warns against “hypocrisy” commanding men to “abhor what is evil” (Rom. 12:9). Yet to abhor evil, someone must first judge evil. Thus, unable to judge, large numbers of Christians become hypocrites by obeying the Hypocrites Golden Rule. Since the hypocrite doesn’t want to be judged, he judges not, as Jesus said, “Judge not… you hypocrite” (Mat. 7:1, 5 KJV; Ezek. 16:52). For “judge not” (Mat. 7:1-5) is simply a hypocrites application of do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Mat. 7:12). “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged” (Mat. 7:2).

Judge others as you would have them do unto you becomes judge not if you do not want to be judged.

One of the biggest problems in the Church is that some Christians are way too trusting. Jesus warned, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Mat 7:15). Far too many of the sheep do not heed our Lord's words. Even when believers are cautioned about certain false teachers, they blow off the warning and blindly follow these wolves.

You've probably heard this many times: "The Bible says not to judge." What the Bible actually says is that we're not to judge a person's heart or motives. "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things," says Paul, "yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1Cor 2:15-16).

According to Paul true followers of Jesus are of the same mind. When you have the mind of Christ you have spiritual discernment. Christians (who are walking with Christ) have the authority to judge people's words and actions. How do you know if someone is a false teacher?

Go to the scriptures!

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul says: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

No doubt some Christians will continue to complain that "judging" is unbiblical and play the Mat. 7:1-3 card: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

What they fail to understand is that the Spirit of God abides in regenerate Christians. Hence we have the mind of Christ! As for the unbeliever, Scripture clearly teaches that the natural man [unregenerate] "receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor 2:14). So the unregenerate person does not — cannot — understand the things of God.

Amazingly, a growing number of self-professed Christians think the things of God and His Holy Scripture are foolishness.

Today many Christians are attending churches where their pastors teach outright heresy! They just assume they're being taught the truth. Unfortunately that's not always the case. Granted, there are a lot of ministers who preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Still, there are a growing number of false teachers who can charm an Eskimo into buying a beach umbrella.

The good news is that believers who read and study the Bible are not easily taken in by apostates. But even mature believers can have the wool pulled over their eyes if they stop being Bereans. It was for this very reason that John penned this warning: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). 

Jesus was asking us to become “Judges” of the spirits within men. The only way to know the truth was to judge according to the Word of God, through the Holy spirit.

Now it becomes clear. Jesus wasn't saying, "Don't judge." He was saying, "Don't judge your brother without first judging yourself." His exhortation was to remove the plank or beam from your own eye first, so that you can see clearly to remove the speck of sawdust from your brother's eye.

Part of the problem we have with judging is that when people say "judge" they usually mean or imply "condemn." But judging means much more than that.

"To judge" means "to make a distinction" or "to separate." You judge every day, in every aspect of life. You had to make a judgment in order to decide what clothes to wear today, or what to eat. You are also responsible for judging between truth and error.

When we look at scripture on judging, it is important that we pay attention to who is being addressed.

Romans 2:1 - Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whoever thou art that judgest: for in that thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

At first glance, this verse seems to forbid judging, and to warn that when you judge someone else, you are condemning yourself. But who is it talking to? Those who judge others for doing the same things they are doing. If you fall into that category, then you are indeed condemning yourself when you judge someone else! But this is not a blanket prohibition against judging.

What God wants is not for us to avoid judging, but instead to judge rightly. How does a man judge rightly you ask

Let's start by looking at how not to judge.

John 7:21-24 - Jesus answered and said to them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.
Moses therefore gave to you circumcision; (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath receiveth circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have restored a man to sound health on the sabbath?
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Here Jesus answered some of his critics who had judged his works, but not righteously. What did they do wrong? They judged by mere appearance.

Our goal must not be just to judge, but rather to "judge righteous judgment."

Proverbs 14:12 shows us another way we're not supposed to judge.
There is a way which seemeth right to a man, but the end of it [are] the ways of death.

It's very easy for me to establish my own standard for right and wrong and to judge others according to that standard -- but that, too, is judging wrongly. If we are going to "judge righteous judgment," we must not judge by man's standard, which is flawed to begin with, but by God's standard.

Within the Church, disputes will arise from time to time. Settling these disputes requires judgment.

I Corinthians 6:1-4 - Dare any of you; having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?
If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

Ask those who are least esteemed in the Church to judge things pertaining to this life? Whoa! That's a different way of looking at things!

If a dispute between God's people goes to the secular courts, to the legal system, who does the judging? Usually, men and women who don't have the spirit of God. By what standard do they judge? By God's standard, or by the imperfect standards of this world? By the world's standards, of course. And what kind of judgment can be expected? A godly decision, or a worldly one? A worldly decision, contrary to the Word of God, is almost guaranteed.
In the Church, it should not be a big matter for any believer to settle a dispute or render judgment in a matter pertaining to the things of this life -- if the church is functioning properly, and not according to the world's standards.

I Corinthians 6:5-6 - I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother and that before unbelievers.

Instead of insisting on believers judging between believers, the saints in Corinth were running to the world to settle their disputes. What kind of witness is that to the world: two Christians having it out in front of unbelievers? What does it say about our maturity as Christians when we can't be humble enough to be judged by our fellow believers, but we will submit ourselves to the judgments of those who do not obey God?

I Corinthians 6:7-8 -Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather [allow yourselves to] be defrauded?
But, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that [your] brethren.

My flesh may cry out, "Wait a minute! Don't I have rights?" But the Word of God testifies that it is better to lose what is rightfully ours than to allow unbelievers to decide a dispute between believers.

I Corinthians 11:28- But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.

Each of us is responsible before God to judge himself. Ask yourself: Do I have a plank in my eye? Even if someone asks me for my judgment, if I have a plank in my eye in that area, that is, if my walk with God is not right in that area, I should either deal with my own plank first, or decline to give judgment. 

Ex. You can’t judge a homosexual if you are a closet homosexual.  This is the epitome of Matthew 7:1-3.  It’s amazing how biblically illiterate most people are.  The real key to judging righteous judgment is self judgment. Start with yourself; judge yourself first. 

Let no one deceive you with empty words like, "Don't be judgmental," or, "You can't judge me."

Ephesians 5:7 - Be ye not therefore partakers with them.

If you don't exercise righteous judgment, how will you know who or what to be a partner with?

Ephesians 5:8-10 - For ye were once darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable to the Lord.

Everything doesn't please God! You've got to judge between what is of God, and what is not!

Ephesians 5:11 - And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].

How do you expose darkness? By shedding the light of God's Word on it!

Ephesians 5:12-17 -For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.  But all things that are reproved are revealed by the light: for whatever doth reveal is light. {reproved: or, discovered.  Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].

If we are going to be able to understand what the will of the Lord is, if we are going to walk in wisdom, we must "judge righteous judgment."
In closing Today, many believers are effectively saying, “Lord, thanks but no thanks. I’ll pass on that judgment duty.” But Paul responds, Start judging now, because you will need the practice (1Cor. 6:2-5). Remember, “He who is spiritual judges all things. For... we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:15-16). For as the King James Version quotes Jesus, "ye... have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done" (Mat. 23:23). And God will reward those who judge, and do the hard work: “Those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.” (Prov. 24:25).

Would slain Columbine high school student Danny Rohrbough be forgiving or judgmental toward his unrepentant murderers? A People Magazine photo in Nov. 1999 shows his family and friends answering that question. They quote Rev. 6:10 in which martyred Christians in heaven ask God to “avenge our blood.” Judge-not Christians condemn the martyr’s call for vengeance, but never the murderer.

To say that Jesus teaches us not to judge other people’s actions is obviously and plainly wrong.  But how should Christians judge?  Here are some biblical guidelines.  One should judge:

1.       Consistently, not hypocritically
 2.       With Humility, not superiority
 3.       With Facts, not assumptions
 4.       Words and Deeds, not motive and intent
 5.       Biblical Issues, not personal preferences
 6.       Sins, not sinners
 7.       Temporal Matters, not eternal matters (salvation)
 8.       With a Goal to Show People Christ, not how good you are

Easier said than done, but that’s what our Lord commands.  Rather than making the extreme claim that we should never judge, Christians need to do this in a godly manner.  With God’s help, it can be done!

For as Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

No comments:

Post a Comment