What About Judging?

What about judging?
"Is it right to judge?"

This s so important that we, as Christians understand this question.
A careful study of the Bible makes it clear that concerning certain vital matters,
it is not only right, but that we have a duty to judge.

Many are not aware that the Bible commands us to judge.
The Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to "Judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).
In Luke 7:43 Jesus said to a man that "Thou hast rightly judged" (Luke 7:43).
Then to others in Luke 12:57, Jesus asked, "Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?"

In 1 Corinthians 10:15 Paul wrote, "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say."
Then in 1 Corinthians 2:15 Paul declared, "He that is spiritual judgeth all things." .
It is our positive duty to judge.

False Teachers and False Teaching

In Matthew 7:15 Jesus warned us and commanded us to "Beware of false prophets.".
How could we "beware," and how could we know they are "false prophets," if we did not judge?

And God has given a principle by which we are to judge?
"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word,
it is because there is no light in them
" (Isaiah 8:20).

Then in Matthew 7:16 Jesus said, "Ye shall know them by their fruits."
When we judge the "fruits," we must judge by God's Word -- not by human reasoning.
Many things which may seem good to human judgment which are completely false to the Word of God.

In Romans 16:17,18 Paul admonished believers: "Now I beseech you, brethren,
mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine
which ye have learned; and avoid them.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words
and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple
."
This apostolic command could not be obeyed if it would not be right to judge.

God wants us to know His Word, and then to test all teachers and teaching by it.
Notice also that it is the false teachers who make the "divisions,"
and not those who protest against their false teaching.
These deceivers are not serving Christ, as they profess, "but their own belly,"
or as their own "bread and butter," as we would put it.

We are to "mark them" and "avoid them."
We are told in 2 Corinthians 6:17 to "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord."
(also see verses 14–18).
2 Timothy 3:5 we are to "From such turn away."
In 2 Thessalonians 3:6 we are told that we must "Withdraw yourselves." .
And in Ephesians 5:11, we are told also: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
but rather reprove them
" (Ephesians 5:11).

We are also to "Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good." (Romans 12:9).
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
It would be impossible to obey these injunctions of God's Word if it was not right to judge!
Remember, nothing is "good" in God's sight that is not true to His Word.

The Apostle John wrote, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [test, judge] the spirits
whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world
" (1 John 4:1).
Again, "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come
in the flesh [one example of false doctrine].…If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine,
receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds
" (2 John 7,10, 11).
This Scripture commands us to judge between those who do and those who do not bring
the true doctrine of Christ.

Whenever a child of God contributes to a denominational budget that supports
modernist (liberal, compromising) missionaries or teachers, he is guilty before God,
according to this Scripture, of bidding them "God speed" in the most effective way possible.
He thereby becomes a "partaker" with them of their "evil deeds" of spreading soul-damning poison.
How terrible, but how true!

Arouse yourself, child of God.
If you are guilty, ask God to forgive you and help you never again to be guilty of the blood of souls
for whom Christ died.
When we are willing to suffer for Christ, we can readily see the truth of God's Word
on this tremendously important matter.
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him" (2 Timothy 2:12).

Misunderstood and Misused Scripture

One of the best-known and most misunderstood and misapplied Scriptures is "Judge not."
(Matthew 7:1)
Let us examine the entire passage in its context:

"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?
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?
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
." (Matthew 7:1–5)

Read this again carefully.
Notice that it is addressed to a hypocrite — not to those who sincerely want to discern
whether a teacher or teaching is true or false to God's Word.
Instead of being a prohibition against honest judgment, it is a solemn warning against hypocritical judgment.
In fact, the last statement of this Scripture commands sincere judgment:
"Then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

If we take a verse or a part of a verse out of its setting, we can make the Word of God
appear to teach the very opposite of what it really does teach.
Those who do this cannot escape the judgment of God for twisting His Word. (2 Peter 3:16)
Let this be a warning to us never again to take a text of Scripture out of its context.

Many who piously quote "Judge not" out of its context, in order to defend that which is false to God's Word,
do not see their own inconsistency in thus judging those who would obey God's Word
about judging that which is untrue to the Bible.

It is tragic that so much that is anti-scriptural has found undeserved shelter
behind a misuse of the Scripture just quoted.
The reason the professed church of Christ is today honey-combed and paralyzed
by satanic modernism is that Christians have not obeyed the commands of God's Word to judge,
and put away; and separate from false teachers and false teaching when they first appear in their midst.

Physical health is maintained by separation from disease germs.
Spiritual health is maintained by separation from germs of false doctrine.
The greatest peril of our day is not too much judging, but too little judging of spiritual falsehood.
God wants His children to be like the noble Bereans who "searched the scriptures daily,
whether those things were so
" (Acts 17:11).

Romans 2:1–3 is also addressed to the religious hypocrite who condemned himself because he was guilty
of the same things for which he condemned others.
James 4:11,12 refers to an evil spirit of backbiting and faultfinding, not to judging whether teachers
or teachings agree or disagree with God's Word.
The Bible never contradicts itself.

To understand one portion of Scripture we must view it in the light of all Scripture.
"No prophecy of the scripture is of any private [isolated] interpretation." (2 Peter 1:20)
"Comparing spiritual things [words] with spiritual." (1 Corinthians 2:13)

The wheat and tares parable of Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43, is very misunderstood.
Our Lord is talking about the world, not His church — "the field is the world."
He goes on to say that "the good seed are the children of the kingdom;
but the tares are the children of the wicked one
." (Matthew 13:38)

There are only two groups in the world: children of God — those who have received Christ (John 1:12);
and the children of the Devil — those who reject Christ. (John 8:44)
When any of "the children of the wicked one" get into the professed church of Christ,
as they have always done, a definite procedure for God's children is set forth in His Word.

It is their duty to tell them that they have "neither part nor lot" in Christ (Acts 8:21–23 and context).
If the children of the Devil do not leave voluntarily, as is generally the case,
God's children are commanded to "purge out" (1 Corinthians 5:7) these unbelievers.

But God's people have disobeyed His Word about this; thus, unbelievers
(and disobedient brethren (2 Thessalonians 3:6,14,15) have gotten into control, as is now the case
in many instances.
Therefore, those who purpose to be true to Christ and His Word are commanded
to "come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord" (2 Corinthians 6:17),
regardless of property or any other considerations.
When we obey God's Word, we can trust Him to take care of all the consequences of our obedience.

Other Matters to Be Judged

The immoral conduct of professed believers in Christ is to be judged.
In 1 Corinthians 5:13 there is a sad story that closes with the apostolic injunction,
"Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person."

Disputes between Christians concerning "things that pertain to this life" (1 Corinthians 6:3)
should be judged by a committee of fellow Christians instead of going before unbelievers in the civil courts.
The whole sixth chapter of I Corinthians makes clear God's plan for His people in this regard.

Some startling truths are here revealed: first, "the saints shall judge the world";
second, "we shall judge angels." (1 Corinthians 6:2,3).
Beloved, are we letting God prepare us for this high place?

We ought to judge ourselves.
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves." (2 Corinthians. 13:5)
"For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
But when we are judged, we are chastened [child trained] of the Lord, that we should not
be condemned with the world." (1 Corinthians 11:31, 32)

What a change and what a blessing it would be if we would judge our own faults as uncharitably
as we do the faults of others — and if we would judge the failings of others as charitably
as we do our own!
Christians could save themselves much chastening of the Lord if they would judge and confess
and cease from their disobedience to God.
Oh, how much dishonor and lack of fruit would our blessed Lord be spared!

Limitations of Human Judgment

Not as to scruples or conscience concerning matters of which the Bible does not directly speak:
God forbids our judging our brethren concerning the eating of certain kinds of food,
keeping of days, etc.
(Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 10:23–33 and Colossians 2:16,17 addresses this subject.

Not as to the motives of others. (See 1 Corinthians 4:1–5)
Only God can see into the heart and know the reasons why unbiblical actions are taken
or false beliefs proclaimed.
These "counsels of the hearts" will be judged by the Lord.

Not as to whether people are actually saved:
"The Lord knoweth them that are his." (2 Timothy. 2:19; Acts 15:7–9).
We cannot look into anyone's heart and say whether he has truly accepted the Lord Jesus Christ
as his personal Saviour.

But we had better test ourselves according to 2 Corinthians 5:17:
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new
."
If this change has not taken place, our profession is vain.

Two Elements in Judgment

The New Testament Greek word that is most often translated "judge" or "judgment" is krino.
On the one hand, it means "to distinguish, to decide, to determine, to conclude,
to try, to think and to call in question
."
That is what God wants His children to do as to whether preachers, teachers and their teachings
are true or false to His Word.

The Apostle Paul writes: "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge
and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent
." (Philippians 1:9,10)
A wrong idea of love and lack of knowledge and judgment causes God's people often to approve things
that are not excellent in God's sight.
The Book of Hebrews tells us that mature believers — that is, those who are of "full age"
— are "…those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern
both good and evil
" (Hebrews 5:11–14)

On the other hand, the Greek word, krino — "judge" or "judgment"— means to condemn,
to sentence and to punish.
This is God's prerogative, for He has said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."
(Romans 12:19).

Guard Against a Wrong Attitude

Christians should watch against the tendency of the flesh to assume a critical and censorious attitude
toward those who do not share our opinions about matters other than those which have to do
with Bible doctrine and moral conduct.
Rather than "pick to pieces" our brethren in Christ, it is our privilege and duty to do everything we can
to encourage their spiritual edification.
We ought to love and pray for one another and consider ourselves lest we be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

A Final Word

Let those of us who are saved not forget that "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ."
(2 Corinthians 5:10)
It will be well with those who are studying God's Word, walking in the light of it, living for Christ
and the salvation of souls.
It will go bad with those who have accepted Christ, but who are living for the things of this world.

If you are a mere professor of Christ, or profess nothing, I lovingly remind you
"that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us,
what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel
?" (1 Peter 4:17).

Do not delay another moment to ask God for Christ's sake to forgive your sins.
Surrender your heart and will to the loving Saviour who died for you and rose again.
Make Him the Lord of your life.
Then happy and blessed will you be, now and forever.

Sermon was adapted from a sermon by Franklin Huling.