DO WE HAVE PERMISSION TO JUDGE?
The following is an understanding of what it means to judge one another. Although it is quite lengthy, it is still only a bird's eye view of this subject in God's Word. As you read through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, you will see God's justice and judgment revealed in nearly every page. That is why it is so important to daily fill our minds and hearts with God's Word. We will either be conditioned to think and act according to His Word, or according to the thinking of our humanistic society.
Recently I sent out two posts--one about how "dying with dignity" are nice sounding words for suicide, and the other about how Islam and the homosexual agenda are being promoted more and more in our public schools. I received hundreds of reactions, mostly saying the same thing: "Judge not, that ye be not judged." It is found in Matthew 7:1, although no one quoted the reference.
It seems that this is the favorite Scripture of the new "religion of tolerance." I am not sure whether any these people are familiar with other Scriptures in the Bible, but they all know this one. It is the favorite Scripture of the homosexuals. They love to quote it freely, but lash out in judgment against anyone who judges their way of life. The fact is that most people who speak against homosexuality are not speaking against them as people, but against their lifestyle, which the Bible calls an "abomination." We don't have to love sin to love people. Jesus was a friend of the publicans and sinners, but He did not tolerate sin.
Let's get back to this "judging" issue. I believe the truth of any subject in the Bible is what God says about the subject from Genesis to Revelation. It can't be based on one Scripture taken out of context in order to satisfy someone's opinion.
GOD IS A GOD OF JUDGMENT AND JUSTICE
The first premise about judgment is that our God is a God of judgment. He is also a God of love, mercy, longsuffering, patience, pity, and kindness to us who do not deserve His love. In fact, we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). However, because He is a holy God, He must judge sin or He would no longer be holy. He continues to judge sin, although much less than we deserve (Ezra 9:13; Psalm 103:10; and Lamentations 3:22).
God is weary with us when we do not understand that He is a God of judgment. Malachi 2:17 says: "Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?"
Malachi 3:5: "I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts."
James 5:9: "Behold, the judge standeth before the door."
THE BEAUTIFUL BALANCE
Throughout Scripture, we see the tension of truth--the understanding of truth on one hand and seemingly the opposite on the other hand. We behold this in God Himself. God is a God of love and yet a God of judgment and justice. God is "angry with the wicked every day" (Psalm 7:11) and yet He is a God of abundant mercy. Because God is perfect, He wields these divine attributes in perfect harmony.
As humans, we find it harder to do. However, God calls us to walk in both mercy and judgment.
In his book, "The Knowledge of the Holy," A. W. Tozer states: "Between His attributes no contradiction can exist. He need not suspend one to exercise another for in Him all attributes are one. All of God does all that God does."
Hosea 12:6: "Turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually."
Micah 6:8: "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."
Jeremiah 9:24 (NASB):"'Let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,' declares the Lord." Lovingkindness is the Hebrew word chesed and is one of the most beautiful words in the Old Testament. It pictures the words of the hymn writer, "O love that will not let me go."
It is often used of God's unfailing love and commitment to His people, Israel. He chose them to be His own people. He chose the land for them. But because they sinned and turned their backs on Him over and over again He sent them out of their land and they were spread to the four corners of the earth. But God's love would not let them go and His Word is filled with promises that He will bring them back and bless them in their land. We are seeing these promises fulfilled today and will see more and more. To check out these promises go to: http://aboverubies.org/EverlastingPossession
This first attribute mentioned in Jeremiah 9:24 is lovingkindness, but it also says that He is a God of justice and righteousness. We cannot make God to be a figment of our own imagination and what we would like Him to be. He is God, He is who He is. He is I AM THAT I AM! And nothing will change that. Nothing that we say or think will alter this fact one tiny bit. Because He is God, He must judge sin. His judgment is upon all sin, although He loves the sinner.
That's why God sent His only beloved Son into this world to take the punishment of sin that we deserved because the judgment upon sin is death. Jesus died a cruel death in our place. He took upon Himself our sin, and poured out His blood so that we could be cleansed from our sin. If it was God's plan to love people and let them keep on sinning, there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to go to the cross. The cross of Jesus Christ portrays the greatest love that has ever been shown to mankind, but it was all because sin had to be judged and justice had to be fulfilled.
No sin will enter into Heaven for then it would no longer be Heaven. Jesus died and shed His precious blood to cleanse us from our sin so we can be ready for Heaven.
GRACE AND JUDGMENT
Regarding judgment, I hear you say: "We no longer live under law; we live in a day of grace." Yes, it is true. It is "the grace of God" that brings salvation. But what is the purpose of God's grace? Let's read the whole Scripture: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:11-13). What does God's grace do? It teaches us how to live a holy and godly life. The word "teaching" is paideuo and means, "to train up a child, educate, discipline, chasten, instruct." In most Scriptures it is translated "chasten."
We dare not trample on the grace of God. Jude 1:4 tells about "ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord into lasciviousness (no restraints), and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." If we think the grace of God allows us to do whatever we like or live in fornication, we actually deny our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, the grace of God saves us from our sin and enables us to live holy lives in this evil world. As we read through the Scriptures, the Old and the New, we continually see the wonderful truth of God's amazing grace and His judgment intertwined together.
John 1:14, 17: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth . . . for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Jesus came speaking the truth. He never compromised. But He came with grace. If we are seeking to be like Christ, we too will never compromise the truth, but will always speak with love and grace. On writer stated: "Truth without love is legalism; love without truth is liberalism."
Hebrews 10:29 (ESV): "How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?" Grace is not wishy-washy. It is possible to outrage the Spirit of grace. These are powerful words. Other translations say, "insult, disdain, profane, do despite."
Beloved saints, true grace is costly. It cost Jesus everything--leaving the glory of Heaven, becoming a man, humbling himself, and dying upon the cross (Philippians 2:5-8). Jesus did not pay the ultimate sacrifice to leave us in our sins. He died to deliver us from our sin.
God's grace does not give license to stay in our sin;
God's grace gives us the power to overcome our sin.
GOD IS FATHER AND JUDGE
We are often reminded that there is a coming Judgment Day (Romans 14:10b and 2 Corinthians 5:10). Yes, that is true, but God also judges in the present tense. 1 Peter 1:17 says: "And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth (present tense) according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." In this Scripture God is described as both Father and Judge. He is our loving, approachable, compassionate Father, but He is also Judge. The judgment of God also reveals His love for us. If there was no judgment upon our lives, there would be no safety and we would end in destruction.
There are many folks who only want to know God's love. There are others who only want to talk about God's judgment. Both are wrong, for we must embrace God as both loving Father and loving Judge. It is this understanding that causes us to walk in the fear of the Lord while we sojourn on this earth. We walk in fear before our Father because we do not want to hurt Him or displease Him. We walk in fear before Him as Judge because we know that sin is so hateful to Him that He had to send His beloved Son to take the punishment we deserved.
I had a beautiful relationship with my father as I grew up. My father believed in me. He believed I was great and wonderful, and because I loved him, I couldn't bear to do anything that would displease him. My love for him kept me walking in purity as a young person. And yet I didn't miss out on judgment from my father. I received severe discipline when needed, but never once did it hurt my relationship with him. I knew I deserved each discipline as it came from his great love and concern for me.
Do we have this relationship with God? Do we walk in fear of displeasing Him? Do we walk in fear of being deceived and falling into sin because we know we are only human? Alexander Maclaren writes that this fear is: "A lowly consciousness of the heinousness of sin, and consequently a dread of offending the Divine holiness. He who thus fears, fears to sin more than anything else, and fears God so much that he fears nothing besides." He also writes: "The strongest needs to fear; the weakest, fearing, is safe. For such fearfulness is indispensable to safety . . . The only safety for any of us is ever to be on the watch, and to dread our own weakness."
F. B. Meyer writes about this fear. He says that it is "Not the fear of consequences to itself, but to the fear of grieving the Father, of bringing a shadow over His face, of missing any manifestation of His love and nearness to Himself, which may be granted to the obedient child. Love casts out fear, but it also begets it. There is nothing craven, or fretful, or depressing; but a tenderness of conscience which dreads the tiniest cloud on the inner sky, such as might overshadow for a single moment the clear shining of the Father's face."
We must learn to understand the perfectness of His Godhead as Father and Judge.
CONDEMNATION OR CONVICTION
When exposing sin, I constantly receive comments that we "must not condemn." Where did we get this idea? We all love to quote John 3:16, but do we keep reading the following Scriptures? Verses 18 and 19 state: "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." Condemnation is already upon those who refuse Christ.
Romans 8:1:"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." We are either in Christ or we are in sin. When we walk in sin, we are under condemnation (until we repent and receive God's forgiveness); when we are "in Christ Jesus" and turn away from walking after the flesh we no longer live under condemnation.
God has sent His Holy Spirit to keep us from sin by bringing conviction to our hearts. There is a big difference between conviction and condemnation. In John 16: 8, Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit to "Reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment."
WE ARE CREATED IN GOD'S IMAGE TO JUDGE
Because we are created in the likeness and image of God we also have divinely within us a sense of justice and judgment. If we refuse to embrace this, we are not walking in the image of God. It is innately within us to judge. In fact we judge constantly throughout the day. We decide whether we will do one thing or the other and we use discernment to choose which is the best thing to do. We constantly decide to choose the right way or the wrong way. We live in dreamland if we say that we never judge. In fact, even those who quote the mantra, "Judge not," are judging those who judge sin.
Although we have been given the capacity to judge, we only understand true justice and judgment as we understand and know God (Proverbs 1:1-3 and Proverbs 29:26). It is God who gives us true understanding of judgment. We read an example of this when God gave Solomon wisdom regarding the two women fighting over who the live baby belonged to (1 Kings 3:16-28). Verse 28 says, "And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God in him, to do judgment."
Psalm 94:16: "Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?" This does not sound like tolerance. This sounds like judging and dealing with sin.
The psalmist in Psalm 119:121 confessed: "I have done justice and righteousness."
Proverbs 4:5, 6 (NLT): "Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don't forget my words or turn away from them. . . . Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can d o! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment."
WE CAN'T PARENT WITHOUT JUDGING
What about parenting? It is impossible to adequately parent without judging. One of the primary purposes of parents is to teach their children the difference between right and wrong and to teach them how to judge correctly.
Do you let your children do whatever they want to do? No. When your children run near a high cliff, you urgently call them to come away from that dangerous place. You warn your little ones to not touch the hot stove, to not play with sharp knives, to not walk near the high cliff, and so on. We constantly teach and warn to protect our children and show them the right way to live.
Genesis 18:17-19 tells us how God felt about Abraham: "And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do: . . . For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." God's purpose is for us to teach our children to understand and also execute justice and judgment. Without these two God-like attributes they cannot live purposeful and successful lives.
The Bible gives us an opposite example from Abraham in the parenting of Eli. God said: "For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not" (1 Samuel 3:13).
WE HAVE BIBLICAL AUTHORITY TO JUDGE
Let's look at the following Scriptures, which plainly teach that believers are given the authority to judge.
1. We are to judge all things
1 Corinthians 2:15: "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things."
2. We will judge the world
1 Corinthians 6:1, 2: "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 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?" This Scripture exhorts us to judge. The saints (the holy, separated unto God ones) are to judge one another, rather than going before the world. God wants us to judge one another by His world-view. The world has a completely different world-view and will not judge according to God's judgment.
3. We are to judge the smallest matters
1 Corinthians 6:2: "And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?"
4. We will judge angels
1 Corinthians 6:3: "Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?"
5. We are to judge matters of this life
1 Corinthians 6:3 (NET): "You know that in the future we will judge angels, so surely we can judge the ordinary things of this life." If we are one day going to judge angels, and the world, we had better get practice at judging the things we face in this life now!
6. We are to unite in judgment
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:10: "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that . . . ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." Believers should all adhere to what God says in His Word, thus being united in their judgment against sin. How can we have the same judgment if we are not judging?
7. We are to judge the house of God
Zechariah 3:7: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house."
1 Corinthians 5:12 (NLT): "It certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside."
1 Peter 4:17, 18: "For the time is come 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 of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
8. We are to judge at all seasons
Exodus 18:25, 26: "And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves."
JUDGMENT FIRST STARTS WITH OURSELVES
Because we are created in God's image, we have an authority to judge. Of course, we'll first start with ourselves. This is where we come to the Scripture that is used frequently in the "religion of tolerance." Matthew 7:1-6 9 (NLT): "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye."
The context of this Scripture is about judging hypocritically. It warns us against judging someone else about something when we are committing a bigger sin in our own lives. It doesn't tell us not to judge, but HOW to judge.
1. We will be judged according to the way we judge other people. If we are constantly critical and judging of others, we can expect they will treat us the same way.
2. We must judge our own life first. We don't judge someone of something they are doing if we are already guilty ourselves! As we read on, we see in verse 5 that Jesus says we can only deal with the problem in our friend when we have first dealt with our own problem.
3. We do not judge people because of their traditions or the way they do things, but because of sin. However, we must judge what is sin. In verse 6 Jesus tells us to not waste what is holy on people who are unholy. To fulfill this Scripture, we must first judge them as to whether they are holy or not. You can't get away from judging, as long as you start with yourself first.
And just a few verses down in the very same chapter, Jesus tells us to judge false prophets so that we can beware of them: "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Matthew 7:15-20).
To summarize, the whole passage is not against judgment. In fact, Jesus expects His disciples to judge, but He warns them against judging hypocritically instead of rightly (John 7:24).
Further Scriptures about judging ourselves first: Luke 12:57-59; 1 Corinthians 11:27-32; 1 Timothy 4:16 and 1 Peter 4:17, 18).
WE MUST JUDGE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG
We have a responsibility to judge that which is evil. This is the only way to build a wholesome and happy home. This is the only way to establish a righteous nation. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).
The Old Testament priests were to teach the people the difference between the holy and the profane and turn people away from iniquity. As New Testament saints, we have now been given this task. In 1 Peter 2:5 and 8 we are called "holy priests" and "royal priests." Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 tell us that we are now made "kings and priests unto God." Therefore we must fulfill our responsibility.
Ezekiel 22:26: "They (the priests) have put no difference between the holy and the profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean."
Ezekiel 44:23, 24: "And they (the priests) shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to my judgments." It is impossible to teach our children, or other people, the difference between what is holy and profane if we don't judge. Everything in life must be judged according to whether it is clean or unclean in the sight of God. We are also reminded again that we don't judge according our own standards, and what we think is okay, but according to God's righteous judgments and standards.
Amos 5:15: "Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate." We can only establish judgment in the gates of our home, city, and the nation when we truly understand the difference between good and evil, the clean and the unclean. We must HATE evil and LOVE the good (Psalm 34:14; 97:10; Romans 12:9; and Hebrews 1:9).
Malachi 3:18:"Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." Do you notice that we have the anointing to discern when we return to God's ways and listen to His Word? When we judge according (and yes, I said "judge" for whatever opinion you may have you are judging) to our own way, we are not in sync with God's way. Someone may say that they are serving God, but if their lifestyle or belief system does not line up with God's Word, they are actually serving Satan's kingdom rather than God's kingdom.
Speaking of the Levites Malachi 2:6 says: "The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity."
Jesus scolded the scribes and Pharisees, calling them hypocrites because they paid tithes, but omitted the more important matters of "law, judgment, mercy, and faith" (Matthew 23:23).
WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO JUDGE OTHERS
Are we our brother's keeper? Yes. We are responsible for one another. To warn or save someone from a wrong decision or going into a lifestyle of sin is a far greater love than saying, "Please yourself. You have your own free will."
Ezekiel 3:17-19: "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him no warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." Read also Ezekiel 33:7-9.
We are to "save others by snatching them out of the fire" (Jude 1:23).
HOW DO WE JUDGE?
Throughout the New Testament we read continual admonitions to keep one another accountable, which we cannot do without judging. In order to encourage one another to keep walking in righteousness and pleasing God we are commanded to do the following in twelve different ways:
1. We are to abhor evil
Romans 12:9 says, "Abhor that which is evil." The Greek word, apostugeo means "to detest, to shudder with horror." How can we do this if we have no judgment of sin? Are we so desensitized to sin that we no longer shudder? Have we ever shuddered? Rather than tolerating, this should be our reaction to evil. Leon Kass writes in the context of discussing human cloning, but it applies to all evil: "Shallow are the souls that have forgotten how to shudder!"
The psalmist proclaims in Psalm 119:128: "I hate every false way." Read also Psalm 34:14; 36:4; 97:10; Amos 5:15; and Hebrews 1:9.
We are to hate what God hates (Revelation 2:6). Read also Psalm 119:113; 128; 163; Proverbs 6:16-19; 8:13; 13:5; and 15:10.
2. We are to beseech (to exhort, implore, console)
The apostle Paul did not preach the "religion of tolerance" (do whatever you think is right; don't judge anyone for what they do; just love everyone no matter what sinful lifestyle they are living). He preached the opposite. He exhorted, beseeched, comforted, and charged the believers to "walk worthy of God, who hath called you into his kingdom and glory" (1 Thessalonians 2:11, 12).
When we are born into the kingdom of God, we must live according to the principles of His kingdom. We have a responsibility to encourage and beseech one another to live according to the lifestyle of the kingdom. When people turn back to the old kingdom of darkness, we must beseech, implore, and encourage them back again. We are to exhort one another in the faith (1 Thessalonians 3:2 ESV). Read also Acts 1:40.
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:1: "We beseech you, brethren, and exhort (beseech and implore you) by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more." This Scripture does not tell us to accept people and love them no matter what sin they are doing. Instead, it invokes us to continually encourage and beseech one another to walk a lifestyle that pleases God. And we don't do it because of our own judgment. We do it because we are an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you notice that we do it "by the Lord Jesus Christ."? We do it on His behalf.
Hebrews 3:12, 13: "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the liking God. But exhort (beseech) one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." It is through exhorting, encouraging, and beseeching one another daily that we save one another from becoming hardened in our hearts or departing from walking in the ways of God. It is necessary for our spiritual walk.
3. We are to command
Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 12 (ESV): "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly . . . Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread." Once again, we do not do it of our own volition, but "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Read the whole passage from verses 4-15. Read also 1 Timothy 6:13, 14; and 1 Thessalonians 4:11.
4. We are to persuade
2 Corinthians 5:11: "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men."
5. We are to test
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (HCSB): "Test all things." The NASB says: "Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."
2 Thessalonians 2:3: "Let no man deceive you by any means."
How can we test who or what is true, honest, and right if we do not judge?
6. We are to try the spirits
1 John 4:1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." How can we do this without discerning and judging? Read also Revelation 2:2.
Revelation 2:2: "I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars."
7. We are to mark those who divide
Romans 16:17:"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them." How can we "mark" them without judging?
8. We are to rebuke
Proverbs 23:24, 25 (ESV): "Partiality in judging is not good. Whoever says to the wicked, 'You are in the right,' will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations, but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them."
1 Timothy 5:20: "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."
Titus 1:13: "Rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith."
Titus 2:15: "Exhort and rebuke with all authority." Read also Matthew 8:33 and 1 Timothy 5:19, 20).
9. We are to reprove
Ephesians 5:11: "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
2 Timothy 4:2:"Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort."
John the Baptist "reproved" Herod for taking his brother, Philips wife and "for all the evils which Herod had done" (Luke 3:19).
10. We are to snatch them from the fire
Jude 1:23 (ESV): "Save others by snatching them out of the fire." This is a very different attitude than, "I mustn't condemn. They are free to choose whatever lifestyle they like, even if it is taking them to hell." Those who do not want to pass judgment are not showing the love of God. They are not caring for the soul of the one who is living contrary to God's ways.
11. We are to speak up
Proverbs 31:8, 9 (HCSB): "Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy." We dare not be silent. There are times we may not agree with what someone is doing, but we would never say anything to them. We are afraid we will offend them and they will cut us off. The fear of man keeps us from speaking up and saving them from destruction.
12. We are to warn
Paul was like a father to the young believers, constantly warning them against evil and steering them in the ways of God.
Acts 20:31: "I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."
1 Corinthians 4:14: "As my beloved sons I warn you." If we truly love our children, we will steer them away from the evil path. We will constantly warn them against evil as we encourage them in the ways of God. As we do this we show our judgment of sin and teach them how to walk in justice and judgment. And it's all because they are our "beloved" children."
Colossians 1:28: "Warning every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."
Colossians 3:16: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing (warning) one another." This should be our lifestyle.
1 Thessalonians 5: 14: "Warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men."
2 Thessalonians 3:14, 15: "If any man obey not our word . . . note that man and . . . admonish him as a brother."
Hebrews 13:4 tells us that God will judge immoral people and adulterers. Therefore, don't you think it is more loving to warn people who are in this lifestyle rather than letting them carry on in their sin and ultimately be judged by God?
None of these things sound like tolerance. And each one of the above twelve points requires judging. God's Word, from beginning to end, is filled with showing us the way we are to live and warning us against the way that brings destruction. Although He gives us a free will, He longs for us to listen and obey Him for His ways lead to blessing and life.
GODLY ATTITUDES FOR JUDGING
As we read the following Scriptures we are reminded again that God does not say that we must not judge. Rather, He tells us how He wants us to judge and gives us twelve different attitudes. He wants us to have His heart and His attitude as we judge. That's why Genesis 18:25 says "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" God's judgment is always perfect. He gets it right every time. We can often be wrong in our judgment. The more we live in God's Word and keep in an attitude of prayer, the more we will judge as God wants us to judge. We often judge from our own perspective and therefore do not judge righteously. God wants us to judge with the following attitudes:
1. Avoid being a stumblingblock
Romans 14:13: "Let us not therefore judge one another any more (regarding what people eat, drink, or what day they worship): but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." This passage tells us that if we know a young Christian would be offended by something we do, we should refrain from doing it. You may not have a conscience about having a glass of wine at a special meal, but if you know there is someone present who would be offended by your doing this, or was once an alcoholic, you would refrain in order to avoid being a stumblingblock.
In God's message to the church at Pergamos, we read in Revelation 2:14: "But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication."
When the children of Israel pitched in the land of Moab, King Balak of Moab was afraid of them. He therefore hired the prophet, Balaam to come and curse them. Balaam offered him good money and because he loved money rather than righteousness, he accepted the job. However, every time he tried to curse the Israelites, it didn't work. Instead, God poured forth from his mouth His powerful, prophetic word over His people. You can read the story in Numbers, chapters 22 - 25.
Because God used Balaam to prophesy good over the Israelites instead of cursing them, he failed Balak. Balaam then thought of a more sinister idea. He encouraged Balak to get the beautiful Moabite women to seduce the Israelite men to commit fornication with them, which would ultimately entice them to sacrifice to their pagan gods. It worked.
However, it was a stumblingblock to the Israelites and they fell for the evil plan. God's anger was kindled against His people and He killed 24,000 in a plague. It was only stopped because of Phinehas who rose up with the zeal of the Lord and took action against the evil. Read about his zeal in Numbers 25.
2. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
We don't judge according to our understanding or in our own authority, but in the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Most times when Paul writes about judging someone who is in sin, he emphasizes that it must be done "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:10,11; 5:4 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 12).
3. In the spirit of humility and meekness
Galatians 6:1, 2: "If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
2 Timothy 2:25: "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledge of the truth."
4. Lovingly and Yearningly
Paul shares his heart in 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12: "Ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father does his children."
James 5:19, 20: "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him: Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." You will save a soul from an eternal death! This is amazing. This shows far greater love than turning a blind eye to their sin which will cause them to end in destruction.
5. Never accept bribes
Deuteronomy 16:19 (HCSB): "They are to judge the people with righteous judgment. Do not deny justice or show partiality to anyone. Do not accept a bribe, for it blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous." Read also 1 Samuel 8:3; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Proverbs 17:23; and 29:4.
John 7:24: "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." Read also Deuteronomy 1:16, 17-19 and Jeremiah 11:20. We judge according to God's Word, not our own opinion. We must be always lining up our convictions with God's Word. His Word is the criterion for our judgment.
Romans 2:2: "We are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth."
8. Use God's Word to teach the truth
2 Timothy 3:16, 17: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
2 Timothy 4:2: "Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." The word "doctrine" is didache and means "to teach, instruct, tutor." Many times people get involved in a sinful lifestyle because they are not taught God's Word. They don't know what God says about what they are doing. We have a responsibility to show them the truth. We are not to condone what they are doing, or be tolerant of what they are doing, but to instruct them about what God says in His Word about what they are doing. It is God's Word that does the convicting.
9. With all longsuffering
2 Timothy 4.2: "Reprove , rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." Do you notice that it is not a little bit of longsuffering, but all longsuffering."
10. With unity
Deuteronomy 35:12, 24: ". . . until he stand before the congregation in judgment. . . . Then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the revenger of blood according to these judgments." Read also Joshua 20:6.
11. Without partiality
Romans 14:13-23; 1 Corinthians 8:8-13; and Colossians 2:16 tell us that we are not to judge what people eat (whether they are meat-eaters or vegetarian); what day they worship (whether Saturday or Sunday); or what translation of the Bible they use (whether the King James Version or a more modern version). These are very strong convictions to many people, but they are not moral or eternal issues. We must keep our judgment to matters of morality and sins mentioned in the Bible that will keep a person out of Heaven (1 Corinthian 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21; and Revelation 21:8; 22:14, 15).
12. Without respecting persons
Proverbs 24:23-25: "It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment." Read also Deuteronomy 1:17; 10:17; 16:19 and 2 Chronicles 19:7.
TREMBLE OR TOLERATE?
When Ezra came back from Babylon with many of the Jews to restore the temple, it came to his attention that many of the people in Israel, even priests and Levites, were marrying their daughters to the heathen people around them. Ezra exclaims: "When I heard this thing, I tore my garment and my robe, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down confounded. Then were assembled to me everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the trespass of them of the captivity; and I sat confounded until the evening offering" (Ezra 9:3, 4 WEB). Three times in this passage it mentions those who "trembled at the commandment of our God" (Ezra 9:4; 10:3, 9). Ezra not only trembled, but took strong action against all those who were sinning.
Do we tremble at the commandments of God? Do we tremble at evil? It seems that the church is more prone to tolerate evil than tremble because of it. Trembling is a lost art. We have to ask the question: am I a trembling or a tolerating believer?
In Isaiah 66:2 the Lord of hosts says: "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." The reason that people do not tremble at God's Word is because they don't know God's Word.
"If we don't know the Word, we will be a tolerating Christian;
if we truly know the Word, we will be a trembling Christian."
Philippians 2:12: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
We read a sobering passage of Scripture in Ezekiel 9:1-11. In verse 4 God said, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof . . . and begin at my sanctuary." He then commanded everyone to be slain, except those who sighed and cried for the detestable sins in the midst. Would we be one who was spared judgment? Do we tremble, sigh, cry, shudder, and intercede for the evil we see around us, even in the church; or do we belong to the tolerating group?
It grieved my heart to hear recently that the pastor of a thriving church in Nashville, Tennessee (our area of the world) has recently embraced gay people into leadership of his church. He believes he is showing the love of God, but his actions are not according to God's Word. He does not tremble at the Word of God.
We should constantly pray: "Dear Father, please teach me to tremble at your Word. Teach me to tremble at the atrocities of sin. Amen."
Read the following Scriptures: Job 26:11; 37:1; Psalm 4:4; 99:1; 114:7; 119:20; Isaiah 32:11; 64:1-3; 66:5; Jeremiah 5:22; 33:9; Daniel 6:26; Joel 2:1; Acts 2:43; 5:5, 11; 7:32 19:17; and Ephesians 6:5.
JUDGMENT AND RIGHTEOUSNESS ARE TWINS
Judgment and righteousness always go together. They are twins. You can't have righteousness without judgment first. We have to execute judgment to enjoy a righteous home. We must have judgment in the city to enjoy a righteous city. And ultimately, if we don't have God's true judgment in the nation, we will not be a righteous nation.
Proverbs 8:20: "I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment."
Psalm 97:2: "Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne."
Isaiah 26:9: "When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."
Isaiah 33:5: "The Lord is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness." Read further Scriptures about judgment and righteousness being twins: Isaiah 1:21, 26, 27; 32:16-18; 56:1; John 7:24; and Revelation 19:11.
JUDGMENT COMES BEFORE BLESSING
We delude ourselves if we think we can experience the blessing of God without first experiencing the judgment of God upon sin in our lives.
Psalm 66:18: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."
Isaiah 1:21, 26, 27: "How is the faithful city become a harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. . . . "And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness."
Isaiah 4:4, 5:"When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughter of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense." All these wonderful blessings come after Jerusalem has been purged by the spirit of judgment.
The following are ten ways to put judgment and justice into action:
1. Establish justice (Proverbs 29:4 and Amos 5:15).
2. Execute justice (Deuteronomy 33:21b; 2 Samuel 8:15; Psalm 106:30; Proverbs 21:3, 15; Isaiah 56:1; Jeremiah 7:5-7; 21:12; 22:3; 33:15-16; Ezekiel 5:8, 15; 18:8-9; Zechariah 7:9-10; and 8:16).
3. Follow justice (Deuteronomy 16:20).
4. Joy in justice (Psalm 48:11 and Proverbs 21:15).
5. Know justice (Jeremiah 5:4; 8:7; and Micah 3:1).
6. Preserve justice (Isaiah 56:1).
7. Seek justice (Isaiah 1:17).
8. Sing of justice (Psalm 101:1).
9. Talk justice (Psalm 37:30 and Proverbs 16:10).
10. Think justice (Proverbs 12:5).
WE CANNOT JUDGE DIFFERENTLY FROM GOD'S WORD
We cannot make up our own judgment on issues. It must always be according to God's Word, even if it is different to what we think. What we think does not count. It is what God speaks. He is God. He is the I AM THAT I AM. We are subject to His authority. We must not be guilty of bringing God down to our humanistic level. God says in Psalm 50:20: "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee."
Isaiah 55:8, 9: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
A. W. Tozer states in "The Knowledge of the Holy": "The scholar . . . must never sit in judgment upon what is written. He dare not bring the meaning of the Word before the bar of his reason. He dare not commend or condemn the Word as reasonable or unreasonable, scientific or unscientific. After the meaning is discovered, that meaning judges him, never does he judge it."
DO NOT FELLOWSHIP WITH BELIEVERS WHO KEEP ON SINNING
The following Scriptures are counter-culture to church life of today, sadly revealing how far we are removed to the standard of the early church. The Bible says we are to have no fellowship with the following believers--not even to eat with them! Sin reigns in the church today because we tolerate it, instead of exposing it. The reason for this is not to be separatist and "holier than thou," but to give these people space in order for them to come to repentance. If believers continue to eat and fellowship with those who are sinning, how will they have opportunity to be convicted of their sin? God's way brings them to repentance and thus healing and restoration.
The Bible says we are to disassociate with those who are:
1 Corinthians 5:11 (MLB): "If a pretended brother is. . . abusive. . . you must not associate with him, nor even eat with one of that type."
1 Corinthians 5:11: "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is covetous."
3. Contentious, controversial, and who stir up arguments
1 Timothy 6:3-5: "From such withdraw thyself."
Proverbs 22:10: "Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yes, strife and reproach shall cease."
4. Deceivers who falsely lead God's people
2 John 5:11: "Receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed."
2 Thessalonians 3:6: "Withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly."
Romans 16:17: "Mark them which cause divisions. . . and avoid them."
Titus 3:10-11 (ESV): "As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned."
1 Corinthians 5:11 (GNB): "You should not associate with a person who calls himself a brother but is a. . . drunkard. . . Do not even sit down to eat with such a person."
1 Corinthians 5:11-13 (JBP): "I tell you not to associate with any professing Christian who is. . . an idolater. . . My instruction is: 'Do not even eat with such a man.' Those outside the church it is not my business to judge. But surely it is your business to judge those who are inside the church – God alone can judge those who are outside."
9. Have a form of godliness but deny God's power
2 Timothy 3:1-5: "From such people turn away!" Look up this Scripture and read the whole portion."
10. Make money out of religion
1 Timothy 6:5 (TLB): "Keep away from them."
11. Sexually immoral
1 Corinthians 5:9-13: "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is a fornicator. . . not even to eat with such a person."
1 Corinthians 5:1, 13 (JBP): "It is your plain duty to expel from your church this wicked man!"
Proverbs 20:19 (NAS): "He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip."
1 Corinthians 5:11 (NIV): "You must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is a. . . swindler. . . With such a man do not even eat."
14. Undisciplined, lazy, and those who will not work for their living
2 Thessalonians 3:6-14 (TLB): "Stay away from any Christian who spends his days in laziness and does not follow the ideal of hard work we set up for you. For you well know that you ought to follow our example: you never saw us loafing; we never accepted food from anyone without buying it; we worked hard day and night for the money we needed to live on, in order that we would not be a burden to any of you. . . notice who he is and stay away from him, that he may be ashamed of himself."
15. Works of darkness
Ephesians 5:11: "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
WHEN THERE IS NO JUDGMENT, WE ARE DOOMED
Read the whole chapter of Isaiah 59: Verses 14 and 15 state: "None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth . . . there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace . . . And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment." Read also Ecclesiastes 3:16.
EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE BEING JUDGED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Jesus said that believers who will not repent after much encouragement must be disciplined (Matthew 18:15-17).
Paul urged the Corinthian church to deliver to Satan the man involved in sexual sin:
1 Corinthians 5:1-5 (ESV): "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord."
1 Timothy 1:19, 20: "Holding faith, and a good conscience, which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander: whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme."
Paul judged Hymenaeus and Philetus who were in doctrinal error (1 Timothy 1:19, 20; and 2 Timothy 2:16-18).
Paul judged Alexander the coppersmith because of the evil he did to him (2 Timothy 4:14, 15).
Paul publicly corrected Peter (Galatians 2:11-14).
John named a man who was in error (3 John 1:9, 10).
FURTHER SCRIPTURES TO STUDY REGARDING JUDGMENT
The following Scriptures are not an exhaustive list. You will continue to find and more as you read through God's Word. Make a note of them as you read them and add them to the list.
God is a God of Judgment:
Genesis 18:25; Exodus 12:12; Deuteronomy 32:36; 1 Chronicles 16:14; Psalm 7:8, 11; 9:7, 8; 50:6; 75:6, 7; 94:1, 2; 98:9; Proverbs 8:20; 29:26; Ecclesiastes 11:9; 12:14; Isaiah 2:4; 3:13, 14; 30:18; 33:22; 51:4,5; Jeremiah 11:20; Ezekiel 7:3-9; 16:38; 18:30; 33:20; Joel 3:2, 11, 12; Micah 4:1-3; Acts 17:30, 31; 2 Timothy 4:8; and Hebrews 12:23.
God established judges on earth:
Deuteronomy 16:18-20; 17:8-13; 25:1-3; 33:21; Judges 4:5; and 2 Samuel 8:15.
Judgment is given to Christ Jesus the Lord:
Isaiah 9:6,7; 11:3-5; 16:5;28:16,17; 42:1-4; 59:16-20; John 5:22, 26, 27, 38; 9:39; 12:18-20, 48; Acts 10:39, 42; 17:30, 31; and Romans 2:16.
New Testament Scriptures regarding God's Judgment on sin:
We not only read about God's judgment in the Old Testament, but also the New Testament: Matthew 3:7, 12; 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 12:36-37, 41; 13:40-41; 18:8-9; 23:33; 25:28-30; 31-46; 42; 2; Mark 9:42-49; Luke 3:9, 17; 12:5, 46-48; 13:3-8; 16:19-31; John 12:47-48; 15:6; 16:8; Acts 5:1-11; 24:25; Romans 2:5-9, 16; 3:19; 11:33; 12:19; 14:10; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 10:8-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5-7; Philippians 3:18, 19; Colossians 3:5, 6; 2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Hebrews 6:2; 9:27; 10:26-31; James 5:9; 1 Peter 4:5, 17; 2 Peter 2:4-21; 3:7; 1 John 4:17; Jude 1:4-7, 14, 15; Revelation 14:7; 15:4; 16:7; 19:2; 20:1-15; and 21:8.
Compiled by Nancy Campbell