Sunday, December 10, 2006what is a Christian to do?
"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." (Matthew 7:1-2)
Without a doubt, the above passage of Scripture is the undisputed # 1 most misunderstood, misinterpreted portion of the Bible. If I received a nickel every time I have read or heard someone use this passage incorrectly, I would be driving a much better vehicle and I would be living in a much bigger house!
While I know that most who misinterpret this passage do it without caring at all about the Bible, I will demonstrate here the true meaning of Matthew 7:1-2. If it impacts but one soul, it'll be worth it.
1) Matthew 7:1-2 does NOT speak of the judgment of God.
How do I know this? Because considering the whole counsel of God, it would make no sense. This is the problem with 99.9% of the people who misinterpret this passage, they take these verses by themselves and then infuse the meaning they want. Now I don't care to know what Bob, Joe and Ned think Matthew 7:1-2 means, I want to know what God means! And to know what God means, just keep your nose in the Bible.
The Bible makes it clear that everyone of us will be judged by God... EVERYONE!
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10)
So, regardless of whether someone is "guilty" of judging or not, the judgment of God is inevitable. It doesn't make any sense then, to apply Matthew 7:1 to God's judgment. And when you think about it, Matthew 7:2 doesn't make any sense either...
"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)
Regardless of the type of judgment a person practices in this life, God's judgment will always be a righteous and perfect judgment. Could it possibly be any other way?
So the judgment spoken of in Matthew 7:1 is earthly, or human judgment.
2) Matthew 7:1-2 is NOT addressed to honest souls.
Context is so important when studying Scripture, and this passage is no exception. Check out Matthew 7:5...
"Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
The Lord Jesus Christ, in this portion of Scripture, is speaking to a hypocrite. There were plenty of hypocrites around the Lord Jesus in those days. Just think of the Scribes and Pharisees and their hypocritical judgments.
Considering this, Matthew 7:1 isn't so much a ban or restriction on judgment, but rather, a ban on hypocritical, unrighteous judgment. Which brings us to our third and last point...
3- Matthew 7:1-2 is NOT a prohibition on judgment.
All those who claim the contrary are ignorant and know nothing of the teachings of the Bible. Consider these few Bible passages:
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." (John 7:24)
Could it be any clearer?
"I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say." (1 Corinthians 10:15)
Is the apostle Paul here asking the Corinthians to sin by judging? Nonsense!!!
"But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one." (1 Corinthians 2:15)
Again, quite clear.
These are but a few examples that make the case pretty clearly. Not only is it NOT sin for a Christian to judge, it is NECESSARY for the Christian to judge. Through sound, righteous judgment, a Christian can identify and separate himself from false teachers and their wickedness.
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." (Romans 16:17)
In conclusion, let's go back to Matthew 7. Pay close attention to how v.5 ends...
"...then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
The teaching? Once a person makes sure he isn't a hypocrite, he is in a position to both judge, and help his brother.
And then, look at just a few verses down to v.16...
"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:16-20)
How in the world can one determine whether a tree is good or bad, lest he/she JUDGE THE FRUIT???
Christians must judge. They must judge a man's words, as well as his actions. If a man who professes to be a Christian curses and acts lewdly, the fruit are bad; there is no reason to believe his claim that he is a Christian. If a woman professes to be a Christian but rejects the Bible as the Truth of God, or observes doctrines contrary to the Bible, the fruits are bad; there is still no reason to believe her claim that she is a Christian.
Judge righteously, dear saints... judge by the standard of the Word of God.