devotional

19JUL
2014

Judgment

 

Satan has gained tremendous ground in the church in our day by the mantra: “Judge not.” I firmly believe this stems in most ways from the superficiality of most people in the church today. A person well trained in administrative law has no qualms, if placed in the position, about executing their duties in arbitration. It is a role, by virtue of one’s position, that they’re inclined to assume. Many Christians are simply not schooled in grace and truth enough to know their roles as judges, and so judgment becomes something wholly negative and ugly.

     Have you ever read 1 Corinthians 5:9-13? Paul says, "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves." Paul orders Christians to judge other Christians. If we say, “Judge not” we’re wrong. It may sound loving, but it’s simply not wise (sidebar: also impossible) not to judge those who say they love Christ by everything applicable in the book if we want to honor God and love each other. We all sin, we all grow in our maturity, and we all need correction if we’re to be sanctified. No one can nail themselves to a cross. This is why we judge. We have to contrast this with passages like Romans 2:1-3 that teach us layer upon layer about what a proper judgment looks like. Jesus commanded His own to judge righteously in John 7:24. Please note that this becomes evil if the word “self” is placed before “righteous” here! Paul's getting at the same thing in Romans 2.

     I’m not trying to establish any hard and fast denominational rules in my life here, but I’d say Christians are to judge each other by two immovable maxims: 1) through our sure knowledge of Scripture, and 2) as we would have others judge us. This is loving one’s neighbor as yourself restated.

     Don’t get me wrong. Christians can judge wrongly. They can be, “High and mighties” and this is wrong. We are not God or little gods. No judgment therefore is as God, but it must be before God. How many of us marvel in honor at passages like:

 

Let the godly ones exult in glory;
Let them sing for joy on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,
To execute vengeance on the nations
And punishment on the peoples,
To bind their kings with chains
And their nobles with fetters of iron,
To execute on them the judgment written;
This is an honor for all His godly ones. Praise the Lord! Psalm 149:5-9.

 

     I often ask Christians if they can take the title “saint” upon themselves freely. They most often recline at the thought. The title saint, however, is for every believer. Almost every one of Paul’s letters address, “The saints” in cities. How about titles like, “light of the world,” “salt of the earth,” “holy,” “oracle,” or “elect?” These are personal titles for everyone in Jesus. Can you take these titles with boldness? Righteous judgment is expected from such as these; from those who know their roles.

     In my teachings I often liken godly judgment to a policeman and a judge. The policeman can’t judge you on the streets, but in some ways he already has if you receive a ticket. His judgment, however, must be confirmed. It should be the same as the judge’s, because the laws are fixed, but that’s to be seen only when you appear in court. The Bible gives us law both regarding the believer and the non-believer. We are to judge by it. We issue "tickets" only. Our judgment will be confirmed by the judge if we know the law, but we must judge in order to issue any instructions or warnings.

     As believers we judge as under grace. We judge those who owe us a dollar in light of the one who forgave us a billion. We judge next to The Cross of Jesus Christ. We are not, “Holier than thous” with our fingers pointed at everyone else. We are rather those who, through mature exercise, have had the beam removed from our eyes and are now, in love, helping remove the specks in the eyes of others who would have it so. This is the role we've been assigned.

     Don't let Satan have the advantage. "Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed," Proverbs 27:5.

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