We hear it all the time. The words of Jesus in Matthew 7:1-2 ‘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’. That and other similar passages are commonly used to say we are not to judge. This is commonly said to include judgement of sin in anyway, including a persons actions. However this view of the word ‘judge’ does not line up with the rest of Scripture. Interestingly, the same people that say you can not judge, hypocritically accuse (judge) others for ‘judging’.
First we know that Jesus did not and can not lie. He said (according to the King James Bible), ‘Judge not’. But the word ‘Judge’ has multiple meanings and has changed in meaning from the time when King James Bible was written. So we must look at the entire Bible text, and root words for a clear meaning of the words of Jesus in this passage.
God has already declared many thoughts and acts as sin. If we say murder, rape, and homosexuality is sin, we are not declaring it to be sinful, but are echoing what God has already said. A better way of speaking could be, ‘God has said, declared, and proclaimed murder, rape and homosexuality are evil and sinful.’ It is under God’s authority, that acts are declared wrong, not ours.
God used His servants in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, to call out sin. In the Old Testament, God sent Jonah to Nineveh (book of Jonah), Nathan to King David (2 Samuel 12:7), and Jeremiah (book of Jeremiah) to the Children of Israel. God used those servants (and many others), to call out sin, call people to repent (turn from sin), and turn to Him. In the New Testament we find the same thing. In Matthew 23, Jesus called out the sin of the Scribes and Pharisees and warned them of judgement. In Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira died as Peter confronted them with their sin. In 1 Corinthians 5 and 6, Paul speaks of dealing with sin inside the Church. In proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel, people were told to repent of their sin (sorrowfully, turn from evil), and look to God for forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
One of the primary meanings of the word Judge, would be in a courtroom, pronouncing judgement of innocent or guilty with penalty for the evil doer. This lines up with the rest of Scripture much better than the general term of Judge commonly used today.
But there is still more to this subject. Matthew 7 3-5 says ‘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.’ Of course Jesus is not speaking of actual wood in the eye in this passage. Can you imagine a 2x4 in a person’s eye? Jesus is using a common way of speaking of that time. Verses 3-5 are a continuation of verses 1 and 2. In context we are not to judge others with an, ‘I am perfect, you are dirt’ attitude. But instead we must repent of our sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness. Then we can help others with their sin, and lead them to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and eternal life. Understand that we will never be perfect here on earth, and Jesus is calling us to judge ourselves first. (1 Corinthians 11:31)
For the Christian;
1 We can not and are not to judge an individual persons eternal destiny. All will stand before God, and He will judge.
2 If we say sin is bad, we are only repeating what God has already said about it. Here we must follow what Scripture says, not society or personal views.
3 Some will be called by God in a special way to call out sin.
4 To truly love a person, is to want them to go to Heaven, and the only way is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
5 Helping people to understand that we all have sinned, is an important part of the Gospel message, and can not be ignored. A person can not repent of sin, if they don’t realize they have sinned.
6 We must not have a self righteous attitude. We must recognize our own sin, turn from it, and seek forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Here we must remember that we will never be perfect in this world, but to do all we can to live a life that gives honor to Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:14-16)
7 With a pure heart we are to guide people from their sin to forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus Christ.
For the Non-Christian, there is good news;
1 It is a fact that none of us are perfect, (Romans 3:23)
2 The requirement to get into Heaven is perfection, never done anything wrong, (Romans 6:23)
3 When Jesus Christ died, He paid the price for our sin (imperfection), (Romans 5:8 and 1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
4 If you accept what Jesus has done for us, He will give you forgiveness. (Acts 4:12)
5 God looks at our hearts, (1 Samuel 16:7)
6 Scripture says, I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
7 1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
8 God has promised a great eternal life to His children, (Revelation 22:14)
Scripture referenced in text are below.
In His Service
1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
1 Peter 1:14-16 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 Corinthians 15:3&4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
1 Samuel 16:7 for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
Revelation 22:14 that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.