In Matthew 7, the Lord Jesus issues a sharp warning against sinful judging: “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” (1-2). This is intended to incite in us the healthy fear of Almighty God and the fear of committing the sin of evil judging. Christ’s word here motivates us to avoid this iniquity. Those who judge sinfully will be judged by God and not merely man. They will be judged by God more strictly. They will be judged by God in accordance with the judgment they measured out to others (1-2). If you think your sinful judging of others is justice, you will get a taste of your own medicine!
Christ goes on to highlight the sin of hypocrisy: condemning someone for an evil in which we ourselves engage or condemning someone for a sin when we are doing worse than they! “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” (3-5). Our calling is to repent and turn from our own sins (especially when they are huge) and then help (and not censoriously attack) our brother with his sin (which is often not as bad as our own sins).
How does God judge in this life those who sinfully judge others? He gives them over to this sin, so they engage in it more and more, and in more and more areas. The passage deals with the behaviour of those claiming to be citizens of the kingdom of heaven and specifically, here, the sinful judging of one’s brother (3-5). Eventually the question arises in the mind of those who judge their brethren sinfully: “Why should I fellowship with bad people like these?” Eventually, unless they repent, those who sinfully judge their brethren often leave the church. Sometimes those who, in their hearts and words, wickedly judge their brothers and sisters find themselves under church discipline. Also, if someone sinfully judges one’s brethren in the congregation, their children (picking up on their parent’s sins) often leave the church when they grow up.
Indeed, on the judgment day, sinful judgers may be shown that they were never really believers at all! Their inability to love their brethren or be merciful to them indicated that all along they were strangers to God’s mercy in the cross of Christ.
Scripture declares that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). Included in the “we” are not only the ungodly, but also Paul and Timothy (1:1), the members of the church at Corinth and all believers. Among the “bad” things that we have done will be all our sinful judging!
So let us rather love one another as Christ loved us (John 13:34) and not judge sinfully. Let us also trust that our punishment is in the past, at the cross where Christ died “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (I Pet. 3:18)!
- Volume: 14
- Issue: 9
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851