We all know the verse, “Judge not lest ye be judged”—it’s brought up, many times by fellow Christians, to silence us from commenting on sin and evil in society today. But is that really what Jesus intended for us to take from that verse? As with everything in the bible, the key is context, context, context!
We’ll also look at the difference between examining and judging a person’s fruit, and what we are NEVER to do: pronouncing judgment on someone’s soul!
Table Talk Notes
Matthew 7:1-6 says, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 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. Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
A lot of professing Christians are confused on the subject of judging
Some have fallen for the lies that God will not judge unrepentant sinners. They believe that “a loving God would never send anyone to hell”. In reality, the Bible is clear that a single sin is enough to condemn us before a Just, Righteous and Holy God—and that every man deserves eternal separation from God. But God provided a way out: Confession and repentance as a result of humility.
The Word of God is clear that man in his sinful nature is hopelessly sinful and lost—and incapable of changing on his own. That all deserve eternal separation from God for eternity. But God provided a way for eternal life with Him through complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone. Christians also get confused on if—and how—we are to “judge” one another as Christians. Some say we should never judge the actions of another—others walk around judging and condemning other believers if they do something we believe is sin. The key is to understand how the Bible defines the word “judge”
The New Testament uses two primary words for judge
Krino: “to try, condemn and punish”. (Taking justice into our hands regarding determining the salvation of others)
Anakrino: “to scrutinize, investigate, interrogate and determine”. (Discern)
Matthew 7:1 warns us against krino. Several times the Apostle Paul tells us to anakrino one another.
Wesley’s commentary on verse 6: Here is another instance of that transposition, where of the two things proposed, the latter is first treated of. Give not – to dogs – lest turning they rend you: Cast not – to swine – lest they trample them under foot. Yet even then, when the beam is cast out of thine own eye, Give not – That is, talk not of the deep things of God to those whom you know to be wallowing in sin. neither declare the great things God hath done for your soul to the profane, furious, persecuting wretches. Talk not of perfection, for instance, to the former; not of your experience to the latter. But our Lord does in nowise forbid us to reprove, as occasion is, both the one and the other.
Removing the log from our own eye first
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
Romans 2:1-3 | Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?
Christians should not condemn one another regarding eternal salvation. That is within God’s jurisdiction alone. He alone is Righteous and Just to make that determination. However, Christians are taught to anakrino the fruit of one another to teach, correct and when necessary rebuke. It is done with the intention of helping another see the errors of their beliefs and actions.
1 Cor 4:1-5 | This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged (anakrino) by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge (anakrino) myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges (anakrino) me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment (krino) before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
Progressive/Emergents judge no one or anything.
Unbiblical legalists judge everyone and everything.
Christians committed to the teachings of Jesus Christ know who to judge, when to judge, why to judge and how to judge. And we always make judgments to help, not hurt people.
Luke 18:9-14 | He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Matt 23:33 | You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?
Luke 7:36-50 | One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Matt 18:15-20 | “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”