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The Christian And Judging

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Mr. Darby, May 4, 2013.

  1. The topic of judging has been brought up in this forum, so I thought I would repost here an article I wrote several years ago.

    It always bothers me that people always run to Matthew 7:1 to justify any sin that they happen to be committing. Many people flout the Bible's teachings on morality, and then defend their actions from correction by repeating 'Judge not, lest ye be judged'. Did Jesus intend this verse to be a cover for people to hide sin behind? What does the Bible teach about the Christian and judging?

    Any discussion of this topic should begin with a definition of what judging is. The definition of judging can vary slightly depending on the context that the word is used in.

    Definitions of the word 'judge'.

    1. To compare facts or ideas, and perceive their agreement or disagreement, and thus to distinguish truth from falsehood.

    2. To form an opinion.

    3. to pass sentence.

    4. To discern; to distinguish, to consider accurately for the purpose of forming an opinion or conclusion.

    The most popular (and abused) passage in the NT on judging is Matt. 7:1-5.

    1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
    2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
    3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
    4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
    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.

    According to Noah Webster(a Christian and a Bible translator), judging in the context of Matthew 7:1 means, 'To censure rashly; to pass severe sentence'. Obviously this is different than the above definitions. This puts things in a different perspective. Jesus is not telling anyone not to subject a doctrine or a lifestyle to examination and discern it's rightness; he is telling us not to rashly pass sentence on another person. Especially not in a context of hypocrisy.

    An example of this would be Shakespeare's play, Measure for Measure, where a ruler sentences a man to death for committing fornication, while that same ruler is trying to lure the guilty man's sister into bed. Romans 2:1 speaks of this kind of judgment.

    1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

    Again Jesus is not telling us not to correct a fault in others, but rather to make sure we are not guilty in that area before we do.

    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.

    Thus we see that we are allowed to help a brother to clear his eyesight, if we make sure our eyesight is clear in that matter first.

    As the passage is usually interpreted, no one should ever correct any false doctrine, or condemn any behaviour as being wrong. This passage is one of fallen man's favorite Bible passages to provide a justification for his sins. If you tell someone to stop committing fornication or to stop getting drunk (just a couple of examples), you are greeted with 'Judge not lest ye be judged'. This is clearly not the sense that Jesus intended this passage to be took. For we read further down in verses 15-20:

    15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    It is clear from this passage that we ARE to judge in the sense of having discernment. This is common sense. This kind of judging is necessary in every day life.

    How else are we not to judge?

    Romans 14:1, 3, 13

    1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

    3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

    13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

    We are not to judge believers over legitimate areas of disagreement where there is not an express command from scripture. In this instance it is about observing days or eating certain foods. In non essential matters such as these we are not to pass judgement on a brother who has a different practice than we.

    But as Christians, we have an obligation to judge when it comes to discerning.

    I Cor. 2:14,15

    14 But the natural man 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.
    15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

    We see here that Christians are to judge in spiritual matters. This is necessary if we are to avoid false doctrines and practices.

    We have an obligation to judge and discipline sinful behavior in the Church, while we leave those outside the church to God's judgment.

    I Cor. 5:11-13

    11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
    12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
    13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

    Also, the Church has an obligation to judge and settle disputes between believers. This does not hardly ever occur today; and it should.

    I Cor. 6:1-5

    1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
    2 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?
    3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
    4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
    5 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

    And as Christians we should practice self judgment.

    I Cor. 11:31,32

    31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
    32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

    If we judge ourselves when we sin, then God does not have to judge us. When we refuse to acknowledge our sins, then God must chasten us for our own good.
    SueJLove and Silk say Amen and like this.
  2. I have no problem with judging for oneself. I have a problem with believers castigating other believers. That is not to mean that I agree with others, just that I believe anyone who takes the first step towards Christ/God should not be dismissed.
  3. It can be precarious. No one can know what is in the heart of another with infallible certainty. In relation to the discussion you were having to Bill, I would have to say that I am sure that there are saved people among such groups as JW's and Mormons. I am sure that some of these people may well have believed the gospel at some point in their life, and are saved, even if mixed up by false teachings. On the other hand, I do not think that these groups can be labled as 'Christian' as organizations since they teach heretical doctrines relating to God and salvation. Just claiming the name of Jesus does not make a group 'Christian'. Paul refers to 'another Jesus' in II Corinthians 11:4,

    For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

    So, when confronted with some of these groups, we must discern (judge) the following: Is the Jesus this group presents the Jesus of the scripture or not?
    calvin likes this.
  4. I hear what you say - but the first plank in believing has to do with the acceptance of Christ - in our heart. To dismiss this, in my view, is heretical. If their "false doctrines" lead them to the lamb, the lamb will lead them, somehow, someway - to the truth. There are many lives that have been lead between the cruicifixtion and today. I know where my path has lead me. It has left me understanding that not every way is my own. Read me, very well - do I seem an egotist? a self righteous misleader- we are settling on our disagreements, not our agreements. We seem to take glee in those who are lost. I take no joy from this.
  5. There certainly should be no glee in anyone being lost. It is a tragedy of incredible proportions for one soul to enter eternity in a lost condition. Certainly some groups that teach false doctrines may see some of their members end up leaving because through all the wrong things, they saw the truth. Men can come to Christ even if they are in a cult. But does the false teachings lead them to Christ? I don't think it is possible that false teaching can lead a person to Christ. The Devil plants false doctrines to lead men away from Christ, But even through the false doctrines, there are often some elements of Biblical truth in these groups. It is these little elements of truth that lead a man out and into the light. Take my wife for example. She grew up on a small Philippine Island in a Roman Catholic, highly superstitious environment. She believed that her prayers to Mary and rituals of devotion would prepare her to meet God. She thought she was saved by the religious observances she kept. Later, she heard the gospel and trusted Christ. The errors of what she was raised in did not lead her to the Lord, but some of the inherent truths she heard that remained beneath the grime had helped to prepare her heart. She at least knew that sin had to be dealt with and that God had sent his Son. These things certainly did make her more open to the gospel, even if what she had been taught about salvation was wrong. Lies are always more effective when they are mingled with enough truth to seem credible. In the case of such systems, I would argue that the little bit of truth that is mingled in is the agent of men coming to God and Christ.
  6. I would never - not in a thousand years - think I would find myself sticking up for the Mormons and particularly the JW's. Let's take the Mormons off the table. There are many things I admire that they do in the Latter Day Saints. I do not agree with their basic theology but they claim Christ. I respect that. The JW's - I have known a few since I was a child. I investigated several way back when I was a child abuse and neglect investigator - whether the complaint was true or false - I saw NO joy in their children. My message to them was treat your children better or you will lose them. But they claim Christ, and I accept that! I, for myself, find their religion foul but for all of that - I cannot say they are not saved because they have ONE plank - belief in Christ as their savior - and when they die - they will be judged. But not by me.
  7. The JW's would be an example of what I meant by mentioning 'another Jesus' in an above post. Though they claim Jesus, their Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. He is less than Jehovah, a created 'god' that did not bodily rise from the dead. As I see it, that is just not the Jesus of the Bible. And that is the point I am making. I don't think there is any salvation in 'another Jesus', though I would not say all JW's are lost. Many of them may well have put their faith in the 'right' Jesus at a certain time in their life. But, honestly, I must say that I doubt that very many are saved. They really seem to have a works centered gospel, aside from a Jesus not found in the Bible. (Though many 'orthodox' Christians really have a works centered gospel as well.)
  8. Unfortunately Mr. Darby; the more I learn I about my own heart, the more I have to agree with about the 'few' being saved. God be merciful...
  9. Mr. Darby,
    God bless you brother! I tried to have Silk address my concerns for the Witnesses and the Mormons and the Jesus that neither of the False Faiths do not worship. As I admitted to Silk, the truth is always an offence to the Lost Man and the LORD warned us of that being true but He taught us to always deal with the truth and to point out the lies where they exist. Silk has pointed out to me and is alluding here to the false idea that there are many paths to the Father that she believes in or must ascribe to in the effort to rebuke me for pointing out for anyone to see that these cults are false.

    Having these past 23+ years behind me, most of them teaching and being a witness with a degree of success to all manor of lost men I'll not likely be changed by any short of the Master we all serve in one manor or another. My prayer is with you here and agian, may God bless His Word.
  10. A passage that comes to my mind is Matthew 7:13,14:

    Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
    Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    The way is broad that leads to destruction because it is a multi-lane highway composed of many 'ways'. It is the way that seems right to a man. It is like a multi-lane interstate where the traffic is moving very fast. Get into the wrong lane, and it can be very difficult to ever get back into the correct lane, since you are being carried away by the flow of the traffic.

    The narrow way is narrow because it's width is no wider than the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 14:6

    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    Though we cannot always know what is in a person's heart, or what their past experiences have been; it leads me to doubt a person's salvation when I find that they seem to hope in something other than the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for their salvation.
    Major and th1bill say Amen and like this.
  11. I am not here to defend Mormon or JW theology. I mentioned them once as part of the splintering of the church on another thread. And was duly castigated for even saying they were part of Christianity. There are over 41,000 Protestant denominations (and I think JW's are included - altho Mormons are not considered part they were early on). It would seem there is less consensus between Christians than there is between Israel and Palestine. Look where our "discernment" has lead us. I agree that Christ IS the light, the way and the truth - if God wants us all back - I'm sure there is a way and room for all of us. I have no problem describing the path I'm on to others and when I disagree I say why and wherefore. I want us all to get there. In my head, I think it's impossible for all of us to get there - in my heart I just trust in God.
  12. Perhaps, I should just say - to be the better Christian - just judge harsher - after all, it is only your brethren that you consign to hellfire. So - if I rebuke your for your harshness - does that make me a better Christian. Remind me tommorrow, and I will consider crucifixtion :)
  13. Dear Silk,
    Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept Christ as their Savior. In their understanding, only the 144.000 anointed who will reign together with Christ in heaven are saved by Him. All "the other sheep" do not know if they are saved or not. Their rescue from Armageddon is not thought to be provided by Christ, but solely by their obedience to the instructions of the "Faithful and discreet slave" (Mat. 24:45). And this, dear Silk, is according to the latest instruction the Governing Body of that organization, a few men in Brooklyn, New York.

    JWs pull people away from Christ!
    Major likes this.
  14. I will say again, Little Flower, to my knowledge - they accept Christ as their savior - if you are correct and they do not - they are not Christian. Funny tho - they are considered one of the Protestant offshoots. Don't mistake me - their theology is warped as far as I'm concerned - but I will respect any who says Christ is the Savior. I don't hear that their numbers are growing. I am not here to defend what they believe. For the nth time, I am saying that Christendom is fractured whether you include Mormons or JW's! And judging others gets us NOWHERE.
  15. Dear Mr. Darby,
    according to Romans 10:9 one has to "confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord" and "call on the name of The Lord" (verse 13) in order to be saved. JWs don't do that. Some come to know the real truth of the bible through secret research. But in order not to be disfellowshipped, they keep silent. Once they are found guilty of having another opinion than the Governing Body, they are cut off from their families and friends. They are called mentally ill and apostates.
    Thus I know that there are saved Christians, but they cannot proclaim the gospel as they would like to.
    Several of them work "underground", even through the press,to expose the cruel shunning practice along with child abuse that occurs permanently in the organization. There is a worldwide net of JWs who try to maintain the contact to their families, yet trying to tell the truth to 7 1/2 million misled brothers and sisters. They cannot freely declare their belief, lest no JW would listen to them anymore.
    Most Witnesses try to please God and sacrifice their life in every aspect to the work they are made to believe it is saving them. They are pulled away from Christ.
    I simply have to clarify that here.
    little flower
    Major and Mr. Darby say Amen and like this.
  16. Dear Silk,
    please excuse my harsh statement. I cannot reveal much more now, but let me assure you that they are not accepting Christ as their Savior and they will promptly explain to you that they don't have roots in any church, neither the Protestant. All (!) churches, dear Silk, are declared as "Babylon The Great" by them. All other religion, including the Christian churches, are condemned by them as the false religion. Everyone who is still member of one of the churches is viewed as to be destroyed in Armageddon.
    Recent news from CNN showed that JWs have been the most grown religious group in percentage.
    Their new web site is very successful.
    I don't want to judge, dear Silk, I want to free them from the control of that Governing Body!
    Please believe me that I am interested in their salvation.
    Major likes this.
  17. I don't want to be contrary but the CNN results I looked at said that JW membership was big time dwindling. Again - I have no intention of sticking up for JW's - I say save them all you can. My original statement - that I stand by- is that I respect any who claim Christ as their Savior. That the believers in Christ are fiercely divided and this is no good. I say start from the basic plank and help all rebuild. Alas there is glee that some will go to hell.
  18. One proof: Jehovah's Witnesses - Fastest Growing Religion in the World (ABC news report on YouTube).
    The Organization's 'biblical reference' for this growth: "I myself, Jehovah, shall speed it up in its own time." (Isaiah 60:22)

  19. "For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth.
    For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete."
    (2. Cor. 13:8,9)

    It it nothing about judging, but everything about freeing humble people from false prophets!

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