Reynaldo Reynoso (admin)
Recently, I followed a link into The Christian Forums. That stray click has left me lost from The Bible Archive for several weeks. After being submerged in various arguments for this time, I’ve grown tired from my lack of sleep and find that I must post some of this in the Archive. I would normally put this in the Admin’s Notebook, but it stood apart from my usual ramblings.
It has been stated, in different settings and different ways, that a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as fulfilling Christ?s prescription to love one?s neighbor, that one is not to judge others. What has been used to support this are the very word?s of Christ Himself when speaking to His audience He told them that “Do not judge each other!”
The statement finds further support in the writings of Paul in regards to the eating of meats offered to idols or drinking of drinks in Romans and the letter to the Corinthians. Indeed, Paul even seems to address judgement in the book to the Colossians that we as believers are not to be judged on the keeping of days, or moons, or Sabbaths which are a shadow of better things. James, himself being an apostle, states rather boldly that a person is not to judge.
But why, someone would suggest, would there be so many letters written to believers with such a judgmental tone? Why would Paul write to the Corinthians correcting them on what he saw wrong? Why write to the Galatians accusing them of being bewitched in what they were doing?
Here a person may very well respond that such things were good enough for Paul, who was an apostle, selected personally by the very Lord Jesus Christ. He could say such things?we fall woefully short of being able to ascertain these things, you see, we are not to judge. A person would substantiate their claim by reflecting on the Lord Jesus Christ who could judge the hearts of men and this, as we all know, is not something that men can do.
That all being an introduction, it is with some trepidation that I have decided to look at this subject of judgement and judging to see what it is the scriptures are saying and therein, what our blessed Lord, Jesus Christ is saying. What He said, not only from the shores of Galilee but from his exalted position on the very right hand of God eternal, seated until His enemies are made His footstool. Amen.
As we look at what the Lord is saying, we must look at what the context of what He is saying, the audience who is receiving the message and therein find the application today. One may very well argue that the Bible was written in a period of time two thousand years before this present day and that what the Bible says has no relevance today. After all, there are countless customs that have died out in the last two hundred years?the Bible is much older than that.
I must, therefore, take this opportunity to merely point out the existence of the Bible in this light. If we are to assume that it is the uninspired Word of God, that He did not, in fact, have any hand in its writing?then such a commentary may be effective. But, if one were to approach the Word of God as inspired by Himself, one must take what it says none too lightly. For if the very Israelites were told, before the reception of the Law, that they were not to approach the Mount Sinai lest they surely die, how much more care shall we take when treading the very inspired written Word of God.
In fact, people may very well try to find a compromising position in this: God did indeed inspire the Scriptures but he used faulty men to do it. We must be very careful when making such sweeping statements about the perfect and infallible God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
If we were to take a moment and see even in the Word of God, if you let your imagination feed on your knowledge as I have heard our brother David Gooding illustrate, a wonderful and sunny morning in a tent. On a table, elderly Sarah has just served eggs and coffee to her dear elderly husband Abram who is perhaps reading the morning paper. Sarah decides to break the silence and says
“Yes, sweetie.” He answers.
“I?ve been thinking?”
“Yes. About God?s promise.”
“Oh really?” He answers putting down the paper.
“You see, He promised us a child and a progeny that numbers the stars in the sky, the sand of the sea?but He seems to have overlooked something?” says Sarah.
“And what?s that, my love?”
“Well, He seems to have overlooked the fact that He closed up my womb. I can not have children Abram, love, God has made a mistake.”
“Oh. I see. Well, that is a problem isn?t it. God does seem to have put Himself in quite a pickle.” Says Abram while scratching his white beard.
“Yes?good thing I?m here, because I have an idea.”
And here we see, in a joking manner of course, the fault in Sarah?s thinking. Somehow, she thought that she had to assist God in the bringing to fruition what He had promised to Abram. Although they were both old and her womb was closed and they weren?t getting any younger, God had made the promise to Abraham and He sought to fulfill it. When Abraham went into Sarah?s handmaiden and she gave birth to Ishmael, God saw the lad and said “No thank you.” God?s purpose was to be fulfilled?miraculously at that.
In regards to the writing of scripture, God did indeed choose fallible man?but He also chose the written word to be the vehicle of communication from Himself to man. Words were to be the form which He was to take what He wanted to convey and pass onto man. So when He chose fallible man, we must rest assured that God is indeed the God of miracles and is not called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for no small reasons at all.
For He made Himself evident to those men of old in a spectacular way and with miracles. The fact that Jacob wrestled with the Lord Himself one evening until He admitted His name and then was forever called Israel was no small event that forever affected the nation to come.
That being said, we must take these written words and see their definition, the context where they reside, what they were intended to say and therein find our application for today.
The first passage I want to look at is located in the book of Matthew, Chapter 7, verses one through five. For the sake of ease, I will post the verses here:
1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at 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,’ and behold, the log is 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.
Focus is often brought to verse one b where Jesus says “Do not judge.” Rarely do people quote the rest of the verse in support of the argument not to judge for, indeed, the rest of the verse sounds almost like the reason for not judging are because a person doesn?t want to be judged.
So then, for a brief moment let?s look at where these verses lie.
Jesus has returned from being tempted of Satan in the wilderness and He has chosen several disciples, and was now touring (if you will) Galilee, Jerusalem and Judea speaking about the Kingdom of God and healing pains and diseases, the demon possessed and so forth. This Kingdom of God, being spoken of in the Old Testament by the fathers, prophecies, covenants, and psalms, was something the people have been looking for since it was promised to Abraham. David looked forward to this amazing Kingdom where there would be no corruption nor pain and Daniel saw as much in the vision of King Nebuchadnezzer.
This was no small thing, to be proclaiming the establishment of the Kingdom of God, and coupled with the miracles the people gathered in large teeming crowds. Jesus, as the very King of this promised Kingdom now was proclaiming His Kingdom in such a way to show the difference of what the people were looking to. The people had their scriptures and their scribes who would speak of a coming Messiah, who would come in force and power, establishing His rule over the Gentile nation, but Jesus proclaimed this kingdom with an understanding not of the scribes. He was the very author of these things, you see, so He made it a point, in the heralding of the kingdom, to proclaim vast differences in the way religiousity spoke of a kingdom and the way God eternal referred to a kingdom.
This would not be a Kingdom of outer-shell religion, but one of spirit and one of truth (as He told the woman by the well in John chapter 4). It is in this same section where Jesus proclaims such radical statements as “leave your offering?then reconcile yourself to your brother” “Pray for those who persecute you” (5:24), (5:44), “Be perfect, like your heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48), “when you pray go into an inner room” (6:6), “When you fast?wash your face” (6:17). In the end of all these sayings, the people were amazed that Jesus taught with authority?unlike the scribes (7:29).
It is here, in the beginning of chapter 7 when Jesus gives His statement of judging and it is radically different from the judging done by the Sanhedrin of that day. These men, who knew the Law, and the prophets, and the fathers, and the covenants, and the feasts and the types. To whom belonged the kingdom and the coming of the Messiah, when He did indeed come and reveal Himself to them, they reviled Him and accepted Him not as Lord and King, but as one to be despised and plotted against and given over for punishment to a Gentile authority. That even when the Gentiles found no guilt in the man, these Judges of that day turned the crowd to ask for a terrorist instead of the Prince of Peace. That when He hung on a cross they reviled and mocked Him and when He rose from the dead they tried to cover it up by paying bribes. They subsequently beat the disciples, jailed them and tried to kill them achieving in the stoning of Stephen when He proclaimed the passing away of their system.
These men, were the Judges of that day, men who saw wickedness in all else, but in themselves they saw only holy stature. Paul refers to the Jews as a whole as having a zeal for God but not according to knowledge in Romans 10. These men indeed judged Christ and brought false accusations but of themselves, they found no fault?they had made sure this was all out of their hands before the Passover so that their hands would be clean.
“For in the way you judge, you will be judged.” says Jesus. The standard of measure would be a scale. A person would measure with a scale to find out how much something is to be worth when sold. Now, what if this person was taking the scale, and unjustly adjusting it so that they would benefit from the off balanced scale? They would be making money on something that doesn?t weight as much as their scale is saying. Jesus is here saying, that same standard of measurement you used to gain benefit, is the same exact standard of measurement that will be used against you. This speaks disaster for a man?s profit if he believed he had gotten away with something?indeed, now he will be judged and although it seems unfair, it is what he rightfully deserves.
The passage then goes onto explain that how can a person point out a speck in the eye of a brother, when they have a log in their own eye?it can?t be done! It?s completely hypocritical for a person to do such a thing, saying nothing of quite impossible to see with a log in one?s own eye.
And here is where we find a turn in the statement, that Jesus first asks for a person to remove the log from a person?s own eye so that they could clearly see the speck in the brother?s eye. All else is a useless throwing away of a good, precious and holy thing into the mud to be trampled over and unseen.
In context, and in light of this passage, Jesus is saying to A) Judge with an honest scale because you yourself will have that same scale placed against yourself, B) Work on your own problems first then C) help your brother with his problems.
This is NOT a prohibition against judging but an exhortation to honest judging. Jesus Christ judged the Pharisees, scribes and Sadducees perfectly and honestly and the only accusation they could bring against Him were lies and false witnesses. He didn?t even bother answering. He wasn?t being judged what they were saying, but what the Lord God in Heaven was saying. In His death, Christ Jesus went to the grave but He rose again victorious?how? The Lord God in heaven used the same righteous scale that Christ judged others and judged Him and He was found perfect. Death had no hold on Him and He rose Him up victorious over death and the grave to sit at His right hand as the only perfect man, praise the Lord!
So, if we are to judge, let us keep in mind the honesty of the scales we use and that that scale has two edges?each able to cut. If I am to judge I must use the Word of God and realize that I will be judged according to the Word of God as well. If I am to judge I must first see where my life does not vibe with what the Word of God is saying, and must therefore make the necessary adjustments?a grueling process as any amputation ( a log in the eye must surely hurt). An, I am to judge my brother to help him remove the speck from his eye so that he can see without blinking so much. We as believers are to be the salt of the earth and a light on a hilltop. What is the good of salt if it has no flavor? What is the good of light if it is hidden under a shade?
Let your light, therefore shine!