Judge Not

Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged.  2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  3 Why do you see 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,’ when there is the log 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.

Matthew 7:1 is quoted often.  Those who use it paraphrase this way, “The Bible says that we are not to judge.”  And that sounds very close to “judge not.” The implication then is given then that we are not say anything negative about anyone or make any judgment about right and wrongs, especially when it comes to their understanding of God and his ways.  Practices such as determining who goes to the Lord’s Supper are decried as judgmental.  And yet even this section of scripture says that after self examination we are then ready “to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye,” a phrase that suggest the very kind of judgment verse one is often used to excoriate.  To not judge in this context is to not pridefully judge another in a way that ignores our own sin.  Luke’s version of this same statement is this:

Luke 6:35-37 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.  37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged.”

Here it is clear that that the judgment that is not allowed in that of passing final judgment on God enemies.  That is God’s work saved in his grace for the final judgment.  Instead, we are to offer the enemies of God mercy through Jesus.  We are to be kind to the evil.

Paul helps us further understand this issue with the words given to him by the Spirit:

1 Corinthians 5:11 – 6:1 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler- not even to eat with such a one.  12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Here the Spirit suggests that we are to not associate with those claiming to be Christians who continue in the ways of unrepentant sin.  Talk about judging someone.  Leaving them behind is indeed judgment.  Paul says that we ARE NOT to judge those on the OUTSIDE of the faith, but we ARE to judge those INSIDE the church.

Read these other verses:

Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.

Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Titus 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…

1 Timothy 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

John 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

All of these verses make clear that we are to judge in the sense of correcting brothers and sisters in Christ in regard to false teaching or living.

So in conclusion to judge not means two things in the scripture.  One, we are not to judge those outside of the faith, both because they cannot understand the spiritual teachings of the word apart from Christ and because God desires us not to help him condemn the world, but to participate is his saving of it by the offering of his son.  Secondly, when we rebuke those inside the faith, we must do so with humility and gentleness.  We are not to be harsh seeking to remove them from our midst, but are to be loving enough to restore them to the truth gently, urging them back into the forgiving arms of Christ.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 at 12:18 pm and is filed under Theology and Practice. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Judge Not”

  1. tom Says:

    Good reminder. Thanks Phil!

  2. tom Says:

    Ughh….i didn’t realize my profile picture was our dumb dog.

  3. Meditations of my Heart » Blog Archive » “Only God Can Judge Me” Says:

    […] in by others who try to coax the Son of God into their corner by saying, “Did not Jesus say, ‘Judge not?’”  It is one of the few things that those way on the left  of the political spectrum and […]

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